Pokedoku, the Pokémon guessing game, has tested my love and knowledge of the series

Clefairy uses Metronome
(Image credit: The Pokemon Compnay)

I used to think that I was a die-hard Pokémon fan. I’ve collected the TCG (trading card game) ever since I was six years old, and I played every game since Pokémon Diamond and Pearl while religiously watching every episode of the anime growing up. However, a new web browser game, Pokedoku by Doku Games, has made me realize that I’m not quite the superfan I thought I was. 

Every day, Pokedoku will offer a different puzzle structured in a similar format to the puzzle game Sudoku. It provides you with a nine-by-nine grid with three details on the X and Y axis; this could be a Pokémon type, region, evolution line, or special form, and you then have to find which Pokémon fits into each of the nine grid squares. For example, it could ask you for Poison/Bug-type Pokémon, which could be either Venonat or Beedrill. However, to make things more challenging, you only get nine guesses - so you can’t just keep guessing Pokémon until you get one right. 

I have played Pokudoku every day for the last two weeks and still haven’t been able to complete it flawlessly. The closest I’ve been is guessing eight out of the nine Pokémon, only to be foiled by Rotom (Oven formation) when it asked for an Electric/ Fire-type Pokémon. I’d be lying if I said this ordeal wasn’t a knock to my confidence, as it’s laid out exactly where the gaps in my knowledge really are. Nevertheless, that only makes me want to learn more and polish up my pocket monster knowledge so I can conquer this puzzle once and for all.  

Complex creatures

PokeDoku grid

(Image credit: Doku Games)

Pokémon evolutions aren’t as simple as you’d think when you’re challenged to put one to paper. You have some Pokémon that stray from the normal three-stage evolutions by either being a solo or duo or even having multiple branches of a third evolution. However, you also have to account for the Mega and Gigantamax evolutions of Pokémon, which could include Lucario or Pikachu. All of these can be the key to solving Pokedoku, which is when you start to realize just how many species there are to sift through to find an answer.

Pokedoku is still a lot of fun and an excellent way for Pokémon fans to test their knowledge in bite-sized chunks

For those who don’t know, Gigantamax Pokémon is a special kind of Dynamax (a transformation that Galarian Pokémon can undergo, making them into giants) that was introduced in Pokémon Sword and Shield. This ability is provided by one of the legendary Pokémon Eternatus, which gives the region Power Spots that can trigger a Dynamax transformation. Charizard, Meowth, Gengar, and Venusaur are among the 33 Pokémon that have this ability, all of which could be applicable to the puzzle.

On the other hand, Mega Pokémon are simply a temporary transformation that only lasts for up to eight hours and increases a Pokémon’s CP (combat power), not its HP (health points). These are two examples of the intricacies of Pokedoku and how it requires players to have a thorough understanding of evolutionary abilities and cross-type Pokémon (Pokémon that belong to two types). For example, Galarian Weezing is a Fairy/Poison-type, while Hisuian Zorua is the only Ghost/Normal-type Pokémon that exists, which could be valuable information for the next puzzle you face. 

So, as a whole, it can be a lot to remember when you only have a few minutes over lunch to try to scramble your brain for various odd Pokémon types or evolutions. However, even with all its frustrations, Pokedoku is still a lot of fun and an excellent way for Pokémon fans to test their knowledge in bite-sized chunks, all while being the motivation I need to study the Pokédex in more detail.

If you’re searching for more ways to scratch the Pokémon itch, then check out the best Pokémon in Pokémon Go and the best Pokémon games

Elie Gould
Features Writer

Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications. 

Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.