A Nuzlocke is a Pokémon challenge run, intended to create a unique and more challenging gameplay experience through a set of self-imposed rules. While there are many optional rules and restrictions you could include, a Nuzlocke challenge consists of three basic rules:
- Any Pokémon that faints must be released or boxed permanently. It is considered “dead” for the rest of the challenge.
- Only the first wild Pokémon encountered in a route or area can be caught. If the player fails to catch it (ie. it flees or faints), their opportunity to catch a Pokémon in that area is lost.
- The player must nickname all Pokémon they catch or obtain. (This is not technically necessary for the challenge run, but is universally accepted as part of a Nuzlocke.)
These are the basic guidelines of any Nuzlocke challenge. Some common optional rules include:
- Duplicate clause: If the first Pokémon in an area is one the player already owns, they may continue battling until they encounter one they do not own, and then attempt to catch it. This rule prevents a player from having multiples of the same Pokémon, especially early in the game when the selection of different Pokémon on the first few routes is limited.
- Shiny Clause: If the player encounters a shiny wild Pokémon, they may catch it, even if a wild Pokémon has already been encountered in that area. This does not count as the encounter for that area.
A more comprehensive list of optional rules can be found here.
Interested in trying out the Nuzlocke challenge for yourself? Head over to Nuzlocke 101 – General Tips for the advice you need to get started, and let us recommend the best Pokémon games for your first Nuzlocke challenge!