The Soul Link is a cooperative two-player variant of the Nuzlocke challenge. The basic Nuzlocke rules apply, with a few modifications to allow for cooperative play. The additional rules are as follows:
- The two players play through the same game (or different games in the same generation, such as X and Y) simultaneously.
- Encounters for players on each route are linked. If one player fails to catch their encounter for a route, the other player must box or release their encounter for that route as well. If both players successfully catch their first encounter for the route, those two Pokémon are “linked” as partners.
- When one player’s Pokémon faints, its partner on the other player’s team must be boxed or released as well.
- If a Pokémon is placed in the PC, its partner on the other player’s team must be placed in the PC as well.
Some additional notes about the Soul Link variant:
- Often, players will restrict the use of shared types between the teams, meaning that no Pokémon on either team may share the same primary type.
- It’s common to randomize the encounters on each route for this challenge, to promote greater Pokémon and type variety between the teams, especially on early routes where Pokémon selection is limited.
The Soul Link has existed for some time, with mentions on Reddit and the Nuzlocke forums going back at least as far as 2014. It’s a common variant played by streamers and content creators, or friends looking for a way to Nuzlocke cooperatively. It gained increased widespread awareness in December of 2021 when YouTuber Jaiden Animations posted her Soul Link of HeartGold/SoulSilver with fellow YouTuber Alpharad.
For a more comprehensive list of additional rules you can use to customize any Nuzlocke run, see our Optional Rules section. For even more unique ways to enjoy the Nuzlocke challenge, check out our Nuzlocke Variants page!