Fans of the Pokémon games have long wanted to revisit the Sinnoh region with remakes of the Gen 4 games, and the upcoming release of Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl will give them that opportunity. However, what may be even more exciting than revisiting the region is revisiting the many gameplay features that the games introduced and expanded upon.
Since the evolution of Pokémon‘s gameplay is constant, some of these mechanics have been left behind in newer generations, either developing into new mechanics or disappearing altogether. Hopefully, these remakes will allow fans to dive back into Sinnoh with these features still intact and altered to its new graphics and expanded Pokédex.
10 Catching Spiritomb
The tedious method to catch the ghost/dark type Spiritomb may not be a feature that many fans want to see return in the remakes, but it’s undeniable that few if any requirements to catch Pokémon have been as daunting or strange since. The only place to find Spiritomb in Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, or Platinum was at the Hallowed Tower, but just going there isn’t enough.
First, players will need to acquire an Odd Keystone and place it in the Hallowed Tower. From there, they must go to Sinnoh’s Underground and talk to players (not NPCs) 32 times before returning to the Tower to start a battle with a wild Spiritomb. This method of capture is highly unusual and difficult to pull off, and the whole thing will need to be repeated if players need to summon Spiritomb again.
9 The Massage Girl
In Sinnoh’s Veilstone City, the Massage Girl offers her relaxing services to Pokémon that just need to wind down, earning rewards for their trainers in the process. For instance, massages can boost the friendship level of Pokémon, strengthening the bond with their trainer.
Also, trainers looking to participate in the games’ Super Contests will want to give the Massage Girl a visit, as she can also find accessories for those events during massages. Hopefully, in Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl, trainers will be able to take advantage of Massage Girl’s generous offer of one free massage per day, bringing this relaxing mechanic into the present.
8 Mantyke’s Unique Evolution
Gen 4 introduced a few new methods for players to evolve their Pokémon, with some of them having an impact on how evolution worked in the future. The method used to evolve baby Pokémon Mantyke into Mantine, however, has not been repeated for any other Pokémon since.
In order to evolve into Mantine, Mantyke needs to level up while the player also has a Remoraid in the party, implying a symbiotic relationship between the two Pokémon also represented in Mantine’s official art. Since leaving the Sinnoh region, however, no other evolution method has required players to have a specific species of Pokémon in their party, making Mantyke and Mantine a special case.
7 The Ribbon Syndicate
As trainers and their Pokémon accomplish different goals and milestones across the Pokémon games, they will earn ribbons to mark these achievements. In the Sinnoh region, players that accumulate enough ribbons can head to the Battle Zone’s Resort Area to join the Ribbon Syndicate, an exclusive society for experienced trainers.
At the Ribbon Syndicate, trainers will be able to buy expensive ribbons showing off their membership to the club, as well as organize spa treatments for their Pokémon in order to improve friendship levels. While it isn’t the most impactful gameplay mechanic, the Ribbon Syndicate does add some nice amenities for seasoned trainers.
6 Pokéball Seals
One of the most fascinating forms of customization in Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum was the ability for players to beautify their Pokéballs using Pokéball seals. These fun cosmetics would allow players to show off different effects and designs when sending their Pokémon out into battle, adding a personal touch to combat.
In order to customize their Pokéballs, players would have to use ball capsules, which allowed trainers to save their favorite seal designs for use in battle. Perhaps the new Sinnoh remakes may not only bring back Pokéball seals, but also offer new options for customization in addition to the originals’ robust selection of effects.
The food Pokémon eat has long been a part of the Pokémon experience, and Sinnoh’s take on it in the form of the delicious-looking baked goods called Poffins is one of the series’ most interesting culinary exploits. After getting the Poffin Case, trainers could utilize the Poffin House or Pokémon Wi-Fi Club to make Poffins alone or with friends.
Making Poffins requires using berries to create successful flavor combinations and using the Nintendo DS’ touch-screen controls to stir the batter without spilling it or letting it sit long enough to burn. Poffins are primarily used to improve the Super Contest outcomes for Pokémon, and although they do appear in Pokémon GO, Poffin making has been gone from the series since Sinnoh.
4 Amity Square
Located in Hearthome City, this quaint park is a great place for trainers to bond with their Pokémon, walking around with them in a system similar to the companion system seen in other games. Despite being limited to the park itself and being limited to walking with Pokémon from a specific list, trainers will have tons of fun playing with their cute companions in Amity Square.
More importantly, perhaps, is the fact that walking through Amity Square allows Pokémon to search for items that they then give to their trainers, with different companion Pokémon finding different items. In addition, Pokémon Platinum features a man in the park who will offer players daily gifts of berries and Super Contest accessories when they speak with him.
3 Foggy Weather
While foggy weather appears as an overworld effect in a number of Pokémon titles, the Sinnoh games are the only time in the series that fog appears as a weather mechanic in both overworld and battle scenarios. Fog makes it difficult for the player to see when walking around the Sinnoh region, and in battles it impacts the accuracy of attacks, as well as the efficacy of moves that involve the sun or moon.
Gen 4 also introduced a new HM (Hidden Machine) called Defog, which allowed players to clear away foggy effects in battle and in the region’s overworld. While weather continues to be an important part of the series, fog’s effects have been left behind since Platinum‘s release.
2 Pokémon Super Contests
As an expansion of the Pokémon Contests in the Hoenn games before them, Pokémon Super Contests were minigames that allowed trainers to show off their Pokémon in new ways that don’t involve direct battle. Competing in visual, dance, and acting segments, trainers will need to pull out all the stops to rise in the ranks and show the best Pokémon in the region.
Winning Super Contests will reward Pokémon with ribbons and trainers with new accessories to use in future Super Contests. Given that Pokémon Contests returned in Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire, there’s a good chance that Sinnoh lovers will get to relive these Super Contests soon.
1 Sinnoh Underground
One of the most extensive additions to the Sinnoh games was the vast, complex Underground located beneath the region that players could explore alone or with friends, mining and building up their secret bases. Through the mining minigame, trainers can acquire items like fossils, evolution stones, and the Underground’s primary currency, spheres, which can be buried to increase their value.
In the Underground, players can also establish secret bases, which can be decorated to their heart’s content and are also the center of the Underground’s capture the flag multiplayer game. Players can improve their bases by stealing other players’ base flags and setting traps to keep their own flags from being stolen, creating a fun and unique multiplayer experience.