Gym Reviews: Hoenn

Greetings again! The name’s Bill, and I’m the current owner of Brick ‘n’ Break. If you didn’t hear of us before then you should have, for we’re the blokes behind all those Gym puzzles! The Gym Leaders come up with the plans, and we make it happen, no matter how impossible or stupid the idea. It’s their money, after all!

I’ve written previously about the Gyms we worked on in Kanto, and again in Johto. Well, I was first in charge when we were giving the Hoenn region a tour. Read on to see what I made of each construction challenge!

Rustboro Gym

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Pretty similar looking if you ask me.

You know, I noticed this with a few Rock Type Gym Leaders. Brock insisted on the few-paths with some Gym Trainers here and there, and Jasmine did as well both before and after she became a user of Steel types. Roxanne is no exception to that pattern. The first two designs we worked on were really simple. Bunch of colour walls made up the boundaries of the maze, and there’s a path in either one where a smart trainer can avoid any battles in getting to the Gym Leader. These were easy enough to make, but really not appealing to the eye. Practical, but not at all beautiful.

But hey, I don’t mind that. There’s something to appreciate about a Gym that gets to the point. Either you beat everyone up on your way, or think a bit and avoid those trainers, if that’s what you want. Let the Pokemon fight it out in narrow corridors for a change instead of the open Routes outside of the city, which also suits the Rock type Pokemon if they want to attack with Rollout.

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Same general idea, but prettier, for sure.

The last time around I feel she may have talked to a certain Gym Leader over in Unova, because suddenly she wanted the same but with all the bells and whistles. She wanted to be educational at the same time, and had us create all those fancy cabinets with fossils. And I’m sure your eye has drawn to that giant fossil sculpture at the rear of the room. Talk about intimidating! We had to hire a few experts and a world-renowned sculptor for that job. Steven Stone was only too happy to donate some of the artifacts on behalf of Devon as well.

But the tricky part was making all that battle-ready. You don’t want those precious stones breaking because a Graveler went and missed its target and pellet a rock into glass. And of course, ensuring that everything is resistant to fire and ice and water and rocks and the sort is easier said than done. I’m happy to report there have been minimal incidents however. I wouldn’t try touching those artifacts with your hands, just so you know. Meanwhile, the general idea of a small maze remained, but now soil was used. The layers there give it a neat look, I reckon.

Dewford Gym

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It’s amazing!

Brawly is an interesting fellow. He loves fighting types, but yet kept insisting on using the dark as the theme of his Gym. He said that a fighter needs to learn how to use all of their senses. I’m not sure how taste helps a Fighting type but I decided against asking. The point is that he also liked mazes like Roxanne, but took it to a whole level and implemented a lighting gimmick. The Gym would be pitch dark, and the challenging trainer given a dim light, which would be only good for a couple feet even if you waited ages for your eyes to adjust. The light only increased in intensity when you beat one of the other trainers, so Brawly was basically rewarding seeking out at least a couple battles.

These were not hard to construct, you just had to be careful when testing them out. Brawly decided to expand the maze the second time around, probably because his popularity was growing and so too were his trainer numbers. Again, that was simple. Plain tiling, and repeated patterns so to avoid allowing any landmarks for the challenger. Fittingly he gave out a badge that allowed Pokemon to use the move Flash. I bet some challengers wished they had that before they arrived.

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I’m sensing a theme here.

He kept it up the third time around, but he changed the whole idea of the maze. Credit to him, I appreciate a thinker. This time he had the lights come on from the start, but demanded that challengers take on side routes filled with obstacles, all of it exercise related. That was a costly amount of equipment, let me tell you! He even had a whole bunch in his separate room and reportedly would work out on them during Gym battles.

A number of my workers stubbed their toe more than once when testing out the puzzle. You see, the lights would go off as soon as a challenger stepped into one of these side routes, so they had to stumble around blindly relying only on their memory on what they had just seen. It’s easier said than done.

I am surprised that he didn’t incorporate water, like how Chuck did. The guy wouldn’t shut up about surfing and his Gym was right by the ocean as well. But that’s fine, it’s always harder to make a puzzle when there’s salt water involved.

(New!) Mauville Gym

[Image: Mauville_Gym_RS.png][Image: Mauville_Gym_E.png]
Spot the difference!

Wattson was quite the character himself. A real go-getter who loved to come up with the puzzles. He had a history with construction himself, such as with the ill-fated Sea Mauville project and the whole darn city. Have you seen what he did with the place? Before it was just a modest city, and now it’s a full-blown mall and housing complex…

But I digress. He is an Electric type gym leader, and like a bunch of them was all about switches and electric barriers. Besides the usual issues with making sure nobody would get killed by the electricity from trying to walk through the barriers (please don’t try this) and circuitry set-up work it wasn’t too hard. Only some would be turned on, and in order to get from one end to the other you had to find those lightening-shaped switches on the ground to change the layout. That meant the whole place suddenly turned into a maze that changed each time the challenger pressed a switch! It’s really a remarkable idea in my opinion.

You’ll notice that both of these pictures are remarkably similar. Wattson had us perform only a few changes to the basic layout the second time we visited to keep the puzzle fresh.

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Colour-coded switches means more fun for everyone!

We had a bigger redesign the third time. We redid the floor tiling, and this time the puzzle was split up across two different rooms, one to introduce the challenger to the puzzle idea and the second to really test them. The switches changed to blue and red, and the electric fields were now colour coded. There’s some fancy technology behind that, let me tell you! Blue electricity isn’t hard; red though is a more unique request.

Otherwise the same general idea was the same, it was just another degree to the idea.

Lavaridge Gym

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That’s a lot of holes we had to dig…

Oh boy, this was a complex gym puzzle.

You know how uncomfortable it can get in a sauna? Try working in those conditions. Try testing out every single portal that teleports you to a different room through a series of hot springs, each one more steaming hot than the other. That’s tiring. We had to diminish the temperature to make it bearable for challengers, because it was tough enough for us. That said, it was a neat variation on the whole Fire Gym theme. Most people think flames and the sort; the young Flannery taking over from her father thought hot springs. To be fair, her town is known for hot springs, but hey, she went and made use of the environment around her!

To move around her gym, challengers have to jump into those holes leading to underground hot springs, and reappear in a different room. Some lead you to the same room next to the trainer you may have been trying to avoid, and others lead you back to the entrance, so good luck remembering which was the right way second time around! And the whole place is filled with steam and one-way ledges. Flannery said the puzzle would help teach people how to ‘keep calm in the heat of the moment’. I remain sceptical about this. Talk about commitment. But she shouted a lot about it, so we let her have her idea. And mind you, some of the trainers would hide in those hot springs!

The second time around we made changes to the layout, and that meant a whole lot of digging and redirecting of channels. That was not fun.

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It really IS a trap.

To our delight she kept the same general idea the third time we called to perform maintenance. But she did add to the design with the trapdoors and the rocky surroundings, so even though the basis was the same, we had a large amount of work to do in essentially remaking it. At least the area around her was certainly much nicer on the eye, with a couple red-leaved trees imported in and planted by the hot springs there. There’s not much else to say about that though because the general layout was the same. So besides the re-laying of the floor and the trapdoors, it was the same tiring work for all of us, and I was glad when we were done with it.

Petalburg Gym

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Repetition, repetition…

Norman’s gym was far simpler, if maybe a little boring to make. It was fairly large but that’s only because of the sheer number of rooms we had made. Each room has the same dimensions – I can’t quite recall what the numbers were for that but they were round numbers, which I suppose was fitting for a Normal Type Gym.

The idea is simple too. Challengers have to make their way to the Gym Leader by battling their way there. Each room had a trainer who battled in a certain manner. How they battled was written on those doors. Norman had them change places every so often in order to teach his trainers different lessons through the Gym challenges, which seemed pretty smart to me. Both challenging the trainers inside and those visiting the Gym! The labels on the doors were easily replaceable too when Norman wanted to try different themes.

The idea persisted each time we visited as well. Same number of rooms, and the same layout. The only difference were the colours between some of the rooms, and that we polished up the final one.

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That floor sheen!

His room did get some more attention from us – after all, he is the Gym Leader. We kept it nice and clean, not too cluttered. Last visit we added in the logo on the floor, and those posters you can see above in the first and last room. Really not much to say about this – in the end, it really was a normal Gym design.

Fortree Gym

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Bizarre-o world.

You may be wondering why the two images appear to be pretty similar two versions of the above, with everything including the colour flipped. Well, you can put that down to an indecisive Gym Leader! She took ages to decide on whether the floor should be green or yellow, and then decided to go one way and then change it the second time around. I’m not sure why we flipped everything to the left hand side, but maybe she didn’t want challengers using word-of-mouth directions from other challengers on how to get past, and so decided that rather than change the puzzle itself to just flip it. But then we changed some of the obstacles anyway, so figure that one out.

This was an interesting challenge for our team, as we had to build a lot of irregular-sized doors that could be easily pushed, and also lock into place at every ninety degrees. Challengers have to walk around and push the doors into the right configuration to make the space they need to get through to the next part of the Gym. Naturally some challengers have still tried to outrun the doors and slip through. I can strongly recommend against trying, we’ve tested these things. They move really fast even with a light push, and you won’t hold them still easily in a different position.

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Not as nice when it’s raining.

The third time we moved the idea of the puzzle outside, changing the specific parts once again. We moved outdoors as well, which would have suited the Flying type Pokemon. But this was tricky for us – now we also had the elements to deal with the doors, such as the wind. But we managed it. We also had some more freedom in decorating the area as we saw fit, so we went for a natural wooden look. That coupled with that windmill behind Winona, as well as some smaller ones through the central path of the puzzle leading back to the entrance. We used the wood from fallen trees in the area – Fortree was chock full of them. It was nice on that note to see the tree-houses of the area people actually lived in. Real unique, they are.

Mossdeep Gym

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Follow the arrow-tiled road.

The Psychic twins were more inclined to change the mechanics behind their puzzles, and I’m really proud of the last job we did for them. The first one you see above is nothing too remarkable. Direction tiles again, but at least these ones didn’t spin you about obnoxiously like Giovanni’s Gym. I swear, it was like he wanted people to be unable to get past without feeling like throwing up…

Anyways… we set up the puzzle with different levels. You had to pick the right paths to take you to the next area and ultimately to the Gym Leaders. This included those bridges you see to add the extra dimension to the puzzle and allow challengers a chance to see around them. We also put in those walls to prevent people from jumping from path to path.

The key to getting past are those switches. When challengers first go in there’s no way they’ll reach the Gym Leader, so it’s mandatory for them to find those switches to change the direction of the red arrows. I can tell you more than one challenger got right up to the end only to have not turned the last switch… In order to get people back following the Gym Leader battle we used the teleportation panel next to them. And I think the Gym Leaders like those…

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Psychics and their teleportation panels…

Sabrina from Kanto used them, and Olympia from Kalos used them, and even the two little tykes in Liza and Tate also used these pieces of technology magic as the basis of the puzzle in the second time I and the team visited. I still don’t understand how they work myself, and have been told it’s best not to think about it. Thankfully unlike Sabrina they went with rooms that weren’t all the same size and shape as each other. It makes more sense constructing the puzzle when you can clearly see ‘that panel leads to that room, and that one goes to the one after’.

The rooms themselves were of odd shapes and sizes. Not too hard to build, but certainly more work than a square! Truth be told we don’t actually have the floor plans ourselves. Rather we went by images projected into our heads by the Gym Leader duo. It was weird, but strangely rather instructive.

They also kept in those direction panels and had them placed next to the teleportation ones. I didn’t quite understand the point of that given the lack of them, but they seemed to enjoy the idea. And hey, they were kids, I imagine they had some fun testing them out themselves.

But I feel confident that we blew those two designs out of the water the next time.

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Yeah. We made this.

You have no idea how proud I am of this finished product. I mean, look at it! Don’t worry, we didn’t break reality – the ground is simply made of clear glass, with some really sophisticated engineering to make those panels and the paths light up to appear like you’re travelling across a void. The rest is just clever illumination tricks. The gimmick was further helped by the method of movement for the challengers – levitation! Psychic Pokemon sure can be amazing, and it was a great idea of the twins to use them. The puzzle is aimed to help teach both trainers and their Pokemon to focus on the battle rather than their sometimes rather distracting surroundings.

Sure, it cost the League many a dime for this Gym puzzle to be created, but they could afford it, and it nearly showed up those folks at the nearby Space Station too.

In order to reach the Gym Leaders, the trainers had to navigate those panels to activate switches to light up those paths. As soon as they take a step forward to walk along the path, watching Psychic Pokemon take them along the illuminated path, so they know where they should take them. The smaller panels are also levitating to add to the illusion. I’ve heard it’s been pretty convincing as well, which is nice to hear.

Sootopolis Gym

[Image: Sootopolis_Gym_1F_RS.png][Image: Sootopolis_Gym_1F_E.png][Image: Sootopolis_Gym_B1F_RS.png]
Pictured: not an ice gym!

This Gym featured breakable ice tiles, or rather tiles that looked rather like ice. In truth they were just cleverly made pressure plates that were very easily replaceable. This was important because they were made to crumple if stepped on more than once. They were wired to the set of stairs you see behind each room, so that once each had registered a single step the staircase would open up. Hence the puzzle is to step on each pressure plate once, and only once, else you’d fall down and have to start from the beginning.

Why do the pressure plates look like ice though? It’s a good question when you realise that this Gym belonged to Wallace, a Water type user. This really was a weird idea for a water Gym, if you ask me. But Wallace was all “I’m an ~artist~”, so we went along with it. His Gym, after all!

We had snow underneath the plates (again, ask Wallace) to ensure a safe landing for trainers that failed to get past. Below were all the trainers which more often than not had a chance to battle challengers that fell through. They apparently still sometimes jump in alarm when somebody falls from above… I don’t blame them.

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Don’t fall over, now.

The puzzle idea itself remained the same through each iteration. The second time you can see that we changed the number and position of the rocks in the middle of the pressure plates, hence changing the solution. This was so trainers couldn’t rely on other people’s advice on how to get through down to every direction. The third time a bigger change was made in the ‘safe’ platforms in the middle of the pressure plates. This now allows challengers a chance to admire how they have screwed up the puzzle. Otherwise it was the same idea, only a change in the details.

And below we added in water as the safe landing area after convincing Wallace that maybe his Pokemon at least would appreciate a body of water to battle in. He couldn’t argue with art against that, and suggested the waterfall as well because he ‘felt the flow about it’. Whatever that means.

Well, that wraps up my team’s work with the Hoenn Gyms. As you can see we had some wonderful challenges that we were able to complete, and other more simple designs. Whatever the ask, we can do it! I’ll give a wrap-up on another region’s assortment of Gyms another time.

Written by bobandbill
Edited by Bay Alexison, Dramatic Melody and Slayr231

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