Genuine question here: who thought it was a good idea to space out the first three gyms in Pokémon X so much? It’s stupid. There, I said it. It’s absolutely stupid. None of the other games do this. They all space their gyms out relatively evenly, with only a shortening or lengthening of time here and there depending on the story. In Pokémon X, it almost feels like the developers completely forgot about the gyms and started running with all sorts of little pointless side missions and filler material and blimmin’ Team Flare before remembering that Pokémon games are, surprise surprise, supposed to have Pokémon Gyms in them. I’ve only got one gym badge so far and my timer tells me I’ve been playing for copious amounts of hours. This is a situation that has to be rectified.

So, with Amaura in hand (yes, Amaura is a critical part of my team and I won’t apologize for it), I set off down the steps of the museum and towards the next town. A town that actually has a gym in it. Hooray! Incidentally, who designed Ambrette Town? How come you have to go through the museum in order to leave and head towards Cyllage City? I’m all for learning and education but this seems a little odd to me. Luckily, the museum is free otherwise Ambrette would be making an absolute fortune in tolls.

But, I digress. Again. There’s not much to say about the route between Ambrette and Cyllage, really. There’s a girl who gives you the Dowsing Machine, which I will use precisely once in the game, and then a few fisherman that you can battle if you like. They’re quite optional, but I fight them anyway just for the experience. If you’re wondering what you can catch here by the sea, well, it’s a little disappointing. In this playthrough I’m not going to fish here yet as I only have an old rod that will net me a Luvdisc, one of the worst Pokémon in the game. Indeed, I’d argue that Luvdisc is worse than Magikarp. Magikarp might only be able to flounder around but at least he evolves into Gyarados. Luvdisc always remains as a weird looking flat fish in the shape of a heart and has absolutely terrible stats. I might come back when I can catch something a little more tempting.

That means I’m pretty much in Cyllage City straight away after leaving Ambrette and, after a quick stop off at the Poke Centre, it’s straight off to the gym to face Grant. Cyllage City Gym is a bit of an odd little place in that it’s basically a giant climbing frame in the middle of a mountain. It must have taken ages to carve this place out. Enough of the procrastinating though. More on what I’m up against. Cyllage is a rock-type gym, which means grass and water Pokémon will have a field day. Fun fact: Cylllage City Gym is the only rock-type gym in the entire series that isn’t the first Pokémon Gym in the game. Who knew! Unfortunately, as we do all know, Gyarados had an, ahem, unfortunate encounter with an Emolga a few episodes back and unfortunately, um, died.


That means my original plan has gone by the wayside and I’m almost forced to rely solely on Ivysaur. By this time, though, Ivysaur is pretty powerful. I mean, not as powerful as he could be. I’m sure if I put more effort into it then Ivy would be able to one-shot everything in sight. But the fact is that I’m so desperate to get my hands on a second badge – simply to feel like I’m actually making some progress with the game – so I’ve not really trained as much as I maybe should have. Besides, after the last episode you all know my grievances with rock Pokémon and I can’t be bothered to dilly dally too much with the details. It suffices to say that despite perhaps being a little weaker than I’d like, Ivy takes care of the various hikers and pro trainers scattered around the climbing walls. If you’re wondering what they’ve got on them, here’s a comprehensive list: Solrock, Lunatone, Onix, Roggenrola, Dwebble and Relicanth. Only Relicanth gives me a tiny bit of trouble, but with a bit of persistence he goes down easily enough.

pokemon challenge

After reaching the top of the mountain I come across Grant. Grant to me feels like a cheap version of Brock from the original game and TV series. I don’t know, he’s just quite unmemorable. Brock had no eyes, at least. Grant is just a bit… dull. Just like his Pokémon. Is it just written into the contract that allegedly “difficult” rock-type trainers have to have an Onix? Because let me just say: Onix kind of sucks. Yeah, he looks kind of intimidating but he’s ridiculously weak. I mean ridiculously weak. A decent shot of water or grass and he’s down for the count. So basically, Ivy makes short work of the towering beast (semi-beast, really, there’s nothing particularly beastly about it really). His Tyrunt presents a little bit more of a problem because, despite its rather diminutive appearance, it’s actually pretty strong. But again, Ivy makes relatively light work of him. I don’t know why the alleged challenges in this game are often easier than some of the regular trainers, but I probably can’t complain too much…

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