As the years go by, fans of the Pokémon games have found new ways to play the games they know and love. Classic examples include the Nuzlocke challenge or some other restrictive run that only allows the player to use a specific type, such as water, or even one only singular Pokémon, such as their starter. Though it requires slightly more work on the player’s end, another popular way to play is to make a randomized version of the game.
A randomizer allows players to randomize almost every aspect of the game from wild and trainer Pokémon, items, moves, abilities and much more. To do this for more recent games, such as Pokémon Sword and Shield, players must mod their Switch, which comes with a host of potential problems. However, for older games from the DS and Game Boy, all players need is access to a ROM of the game and the Universal Pokémon Randomizer application.
The first step to using a randomizer is, of course, randomizing all the Pokémon within the game. This is usually the reason players seek out a randomizer in the first place. Even within this one point, there is a host of different ways to randomize the Pokémon. The starter Pokémon can be custom, completely random or chosen from two-stage evolutionary lines. If completely random, starters can be anything from a Sunkern to Mewtwo, though the latter allows for starters that follow in a more traditional sense. Players can randomize static Pokémon, such as Legendary and gift Pokémon, to either swap for a Pokémon of similar power, such as Legendary for a Legendary, or a completely random Pokémon.
Then there are all the wild Pokémon that players encounter. Players can choose to have a completely randomized wild encounter list, which allows for the widest variety of potential Pokémon. Another option is Area one-to-one Mapping, where every Pokémon on a given route or area is replaced with another Pokémon. Finally, there’s Global one-to-one Mapping, where every instance of a specific Pokémon in the wild is replaced by another Pokémon, such as every Patrat being replaced by a Growlithe.
Players can then choose to customize the encounter more. One way is by choosing Similar Strength, which keeps the relative power level of encounters the same throughout the game. Another option is Catch Em All Mode, which checks the Pokémon off a list to ensure every Pokémon is available to catch within the game. Players can also choose Type Themed Areas, which make every area type-themed for what Pokémon players encounter. The final option is to disable Legendaries, which is more important for those playing a Nuzlocke of a randomizer to prevent a nearly uncatchable encounter.
Players can also randomize the Pokémon of enemy trainers in a similar way as wild Pokémon. There is an option to have each enemy trainer’s team completely randomized or have the team be type-themed, with certain groups of trainers, such as an entire gym, carrying the same type of Pokémon. This can allow for a touch of stability at difficult moments in the game.
Players can also make it so their rival carries their starter throughout the game, and they can ensure that enemy trainers use Pokémon of similar strength to what they originally had. This prevents a random trainer on the side of the road from having three Haxorus or a Gym Leader having three Magikarp. Players can also choose for enemy trainers to not have any Legendaries and to have randomized names and class names.
Another way Pokémon can change is by randomizing their moves, abilities, types, evolution and stats. These changes allow players to find strong and unusual combinations they otherwise couldn’t find in the games, but at the cost of any predictability when fighting enemy Pokémon, assuming the changes apply to both sides. In many ways, these changes completely break the game, so players must be aware of what they’re getting themselves into.
The final major aspect that players can randomize is items and TMs. Players can randomize items they find in the overworld to be anything, while also banning useless items such as Mail. Similarly, players can randomize TMs to be any move in the game. Players are allowed to set aside a percentage of them that are guaranteed to be good damaging moves. There is also an option to make it so that any move a Pokémon learns through level-up, they learn through TM, for the sake of player sanity.
Those looking to spice up a playthrough of the classic Pokémon games need to look no further than a Pokémon randomizer. Thanks to the plethora of different options they offer, and the fact that players can mix and match them, there is something within randomizers for everyone, and they’re worth experiencing at least one time. Not to mention, all these perks are wrapped up in one easy-to-use application that does all the heavy lifting for players.