Welcome to a mini-chapter of our Pokémon Diary series, part of our in-depth coverage of Pokémon Black/White. This short entry touches briefly upon the gym in Hiun City and the Routes leading from Hiun to Raimon City.
The gym in Hiun City is organized like a honeycomb where you have to step on switches to activate doors. In nearly every doorway is a thick, viscous honey wall that you have to walk through; it actually stretches before popping you out over to the other side.
The honey basically functions to make sure you walk through the middle of the doorway, since even a bit of divergence off-center will make the honey bounce you backwards. Some of the switches are fake and trigger the appearance of clowns (I think that’s the theme for this gym), while others require switches to open doors to more switches.
As you might have guessed, the gym is Bug type. Now, there are quite a few new Bug Pokémon in Black/White that are really quite good (Ulgamoth the Fire moth, Aiant the Steel ant, or even Denchura the Electric tarantula), all of which have type combinations present in previous games, but ultimately, they were just too low-levelled to present much of a threat. In the end, the gym went the way of every other Bug gym in the series — down; quick and easy. It also helps that the Gym Leader’s Pokémon consisted primarily of second-stage evolved Pokémon, who are essentially cocoon Pokémon, that are relatively low-levelled for a Gym.
And so, with another Badge in the Badge Case, it was time to depart Hiun for the next city! Before that, however, your two rivals challenge you, and they have a couple less Pokémon than the Gym. Not hard, but a great opportunity to earn some money with the Lucky Amulet (cue evil snickers).
The next area, Route 4, is a gigantic desert. The encounter rate on Route 4 is pretty high, and some of the Pokémon are unexpectedly strong (namely, the Darumakka — the pre-evolved Fire ape, who has a high Attack accompanied by a Fire Fang. Ouch). To be entirely honest, Route 4 got annoying after a while, since there aren’t a lot of items in the area, so a few Sprays were necessary.
The area is home to several trainers as well, including a few backpackers. Now’s a good time to mention that I really like the focus of the trainer designs in this game, as they’re reflective of Black/White’s New York aesthetic. There are the businessmen who seem to be so busy with their schedule that they have to balance a cell phone, briefcase, and a Pokéball all at once, the African-American break dancers, and now the stereotypical backpacker with camping bag and bulging bag. Somehow, I get the feeling that they’re spending a night at the Appalachians whenever I see them.
Battle-wise, Route 4 presented nothing new, although I did note one point of interest. Since you’re in the desert, the weather is constantly “Sandy”, which means…weather effect! Usually, this would annoy me to no end due to the repeated weather animations, but as with everything else, this has been addressed in Black/White. The weather effect only appears the first time during a battle, then every time after, it’s represented using a text box…that can be speeded up with a press of the A button! If you accidentally forget what the weather is, you can check on the screen before you choose an attack; it helpfully shows you the current climate.
Branching off from the Route 4 desert is the Resort Desert, which is a large area filled with trainers, sandy encounter areas, and Ruins I can’t access yet. I did find a Fossil here, though, so at some point in time I’ll probably have to backtrack to the Museum to resurrect the thing.
There’s a Doctor in the area too, which makes exploration easier. In fact, there was a resting area on Route 4 where you could heal your Pokémon as well. The abundance of healing facilities almost seems like overkill…until you remember that running back to the Pokémon Center means walking through Hiun, which is a 5-minute trip. Very thoughtful of Game Freak.
Past the Routes, my next steps led me into Raimon City…smack-dab into the middle of a Team Plasma battle. Would these guys ever stop plaguing me?!
…Of course not.
Look forward to our next Pokémon Diary this Friday! In case you missed the previous entries in our Pokémon Black/White Diary series, you can catch up on them below: