Gulpin is dropped from the party to make room for the Mysterious Egg, and Zoey makes way to Iggy Azalea Town via Union Cave. Along the way, we pick up HM 6: Rock Smash, which relaxes my worries that I wouldn’t be able to progress through the game. Without Flash, some caves will be difficult, but otherwise – it looks like we’ll find the HM’s we need.
Zoey investigates the Ruins of Alph, an ancient ethereal space filled with only the most mystical Pokemon of them all… Doduos. All of the Doduos carry Skull Fossils, which is mildly disconcerting. The Ruins of Alph are a big letdown, and the Doduos who guard the ruins are faster than Slugma and always deal some damage, so they’re disappointing and dangerous. There are no good items, no good Pokemon, and the encounter rate feels ridiculous. It’s a big empty room. Outside of the Ruins, Zoey catches a Taillow and Gible.
Heading down Route 32: The team is Swalot, Slugma, Meditite, Diglett, Taillow, and Egg. During a battle with a Trainer, I get confused and think that we’re fighting a really awesome wild Zubat – and waste a Pokeball. “Don’t be a thief!” Route 32: proves to be rough, and everybody but Swalot passes out on the way to the nearest Pokecenter. Speaking of… is there any other instance in Pokemon games where there’s just a Pokecenter in the middle of a Route? They must have play-tested this part of the game and realized that Route 32 is way too long, and that it needed a Pokecenter to break it up.
For a while, I just grind out some levels for the weaker members of Team Zoey – but a trainer battle against one Gentleman Veronica is worth mentioning, if only because they shout “Sploosh!” after losing. Luvdiscs prove to be valuable training partners, because they dish out crazy amounts of Experience for some reason. It’s at the point where I don’t want to battle wild Gibles because they give out so little Experience. One Meditite is at Level 8 she can handle Trainer battles fairly well, so I head back down Route 32 to fight all the trainers I intentionally avoided the first time. Everybody but Diglett is over Level 10, which means it’s time to move on. On next week’s episode: Zoey goes spelunking in Union Cave!