Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver are remakes of Pokémon Gold and Silver, much like Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen were remakes of Pokémon Red and Blue. Players can return to the region of Johto with updated graphics and sound, as well as wide variety of other new features. One of the most visible additions is the ability to summon out any Pokémon in the party to the field, following the player around outside of battle, much like Pikachu behaved in Pokémon Yellow. All 493 Pokémon are able to follow the trainer around outside of its Pokéball. Team Rocket also return with new uniforms that better resemble the uniforms from FireRed and LeafGreen. There are also new mini-games added that replace Pokémon Contests, called the Pokéathlon.
New areas have introductory still images upon entrance, much like Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen. A new female protagonist – different from the female protagonist introduced in Pokémon Crystal – is also available as a character choice in the very beginning of the game. The character opposite the chosen character's gender will play role as a support character.
New Features and Changes
Fourth-gen Upgrades and Kanto Changes
Many of the features from Pokémon Diamond/Pearl and Platinum make their appearance in HeartGold and SoulSilver: a Global Trade Station has been built in Goldenrod city, while Fuschia's famous Safari Zone has been converted into a Pal Park. Platinum's Battle Frontier has been rebuilt brick-for-brick west of Olivine, ready to welcome any trainers who can best Johto's Elite Four. Also as in Platinum, each gym leader may be challenged to a rematch after certain conditions are met, with each leader bringing a significantly stronger team for round two.
Kanto has also undergone changes of its own. The Viridian Forest--chopped down in the original Gold and Silver--returns as a fully-featured area ready to meet all Caterpie and Weedle needs. Cerulean Cave has likewise not collapsed in the remakes and powerful Pokémon (along with one old familiar face) are ready to face any trainer strong enough to collect all 16 gym badges. Kanto trainers have Hoenn and Sinnoh Pokémon at their disposal, and certain radio stations now play the music needed to find those Pokémon in the Kanto/Johto region as well.
Taking a cue from Pokémon Yellow, the Pokémon in the first party slot now follows the player around outside of battle. The Pokémon can be talked to in order to determine its condition, happiness, and even to take items it has found lying on the ground. This feature is also used by non-player characters seeking certain Pokémon, who will refuse to acknowledge that the player has brought them the Pokémon of their desire until it is out of its Pokéball and trotting along behind them.
Johto's Pokémon contests are a major departure from the dog show-style contests in Hoenn and Sinnoh. In the Pokéathlon, each trainer brings a team of three Pokémon to compete in a competitions of physical prowess. There are five sets of Pokéathlon competitions, each with a set of three minigames that emphasize a particular stat: the strength Pokéathlon, for instance, involves plenty of brick-smashing and sumo-style throwdowns, while the speed Pokéathlon involves Pokémon leaping hurdles and competing to see which team can complete the most laps around a track within a time limit. Trainers receive points for their team's performance in each game, and the trainer with the highest total at the end (including any Mario Party-style bonus points) is the winner.
Each Pokémon is rated for the five Pokéathlon stats, with modifications made for the Pokémon's personality and any Aprijuice it has consumed to (legally) increase its performance. The player controls his or her three-Pokémon team through the use of the touch screen, directing their movements and actions through tapping, flicks, and drawing motions of the stylus. In contrast to Beauty Contests (which offered mostly superficial rewards), points earned in the Pokéathlon can be put towards items such as evolutionary stones, Rare Candies, and apricorns.
Improved Touchscreen Interface
Many of the menus in HeartGold and SoulSilver have been redesigned for improved touchscreen control. The basic menu options can be called at any time by hitting their icon on the touchscreen, and the player's set items (such as the Bicycle or Dowsing MCHN) can be used in a similar manner. The items screen has received a major redesign as well, trading the awkward Pokéball knob for a much cleaner and more intuitive interface. The PC box system is the most notable beneficiary of this upgrade, with the player now able to move Pokémon between boxes and his or her team through drag-and-drop stylus controls.
The Pokéwalker is the evolution of the old Pokémon Pikachu toy released in November 1998. It allows the user to carry one of their Pokémon from HeartGold and SoulSilver along with them. They cannot use this Pokémon in the game while it is in the device. The player can start using the walker when they have a Pokémon in the computer in the Pokémon Center. So as long as they have two Pokémon, they can use the Pokéwalker.
The player is able to carry three captured Pokémon in the Pokéwalker
Steps and Watts
The Pokéwalker has a built in pedometer that measures the user's steps, and like other pedometers, it can be tricked by shaking the device. The steps are used to unlock new Pokémon to capture and items to find. The more steps made in a day, the rarer the items and Pokémon.
In along to unlocking things on the routes, the steps taken with it are converted into “Watts”, the currency for the Pokéwalker. It takes 20 steps to earn a watt. The watts can be used for the minigames built into the Pokéwalker, and to unlock new routes to walk on.
The game will record the number of steps the user has taken, and any unused watts will go towards unlocking new routes when the Pokémon is returned or items are dropped off.
The Pokémon will also gain one experience point for every step taken. However, the player may only level up once per trip. So they must return the Pokémon and resend it to level up again. There is a downside to this, if the Pokémon is scheduled to learn a move at the next level they hit, and they already have 4 moves, they will skip that move. No warning at all. (Example: Gastly learns Confuse Ray at Level 19, if I get to Level 19 on the Pokéwalker, Gastly misses the chance to learn the move. And now has to go to the move relearner to learn it.
The Pokéwalker will reset the number of steps it has at midnight. The number of watts will not reset.
Minigames on the Pokewalker
The dowsing machine is a minigame on the Pokéwalker. It is a glorified version of the shell game. It costs three watts (approximately 60 steps) to use.
There are six tufts of grass in a row, and the player has two chances to guess where the item is. If they guess correctly they get the item. If they guess incorrectly, they have another guess. There is also a hint as to where it is.
Either one of two messages will pop up. “It’s near!” meaning it is right next to it. “It’s far away…” mean it’s not.
Anything from berries to TMs can be found here. TMs are usually rare and will only unlock with a large number of steps.
The Poké Radar is a minigame that is divided into two parts.
Where the player has to “chase the Pokémon.” There are four tufts of grass, and an exclamation point will appear on one, they have to move to that patch of grass and press the action button before the Pokémon runs away. The “rarer” the Pokémon, the longer the chase will go, up to a maximum of four times. Once the chase ends, the player will advance to part two.
An extremely simplified version of a Pokémon battle. There are no stats taken into account, the player's Pokémon and the enemy Pokémon will have 4HP each. The player has three options: attack, evade, and catch.
- Attack - The active Pokémon will attack, obviously. Each attack does one point of damage, unless it is a critical hit, then it does two points. The attack will not hit if the enemy evades it.
- Evade - The active Pokémon attempts to dodge an incoming attack. If the opponent attacks while the player evades, they will dodge the attack, taking zero damage, and then counterattacks, dealing one damage back. If both Pokémon evade, a “stare down” will occur, and nothing will happen.
- Catch - The player attempts to capture the Pokémon, like in the DS game, the weaker the Pokémon, the easier it will be to catch. 1 HP Pokémon are pretty much guaranteed, while 4 HP Pokémon are near impossible, although it has happened before.
It wouldn't be a Pokémon game without legendary Pokémon to capture, and HeartGold and SoulSilver do not disappoint. The Johto legendaries make their proud appearance, while many of the Kanto and Hoenn legendaries come along for the ride:
Lugia and Ho-Oh
As in the first game, Lugia and Ho-Oh are available for capture in both versions of the game. The first is encountered at level 40 and must be either captured or defeated in order to continue in the game, while the second becomes available at level 70 after the player makes significant progress through Kanto.
The Legendary Beasts
Gold and Silver's legendary trio (Suicune, Raikou, and Entei) are first encountered in Ecruteak's Burned Tower, which they soon leave in order to roam the wider world. Raikou and Entei can both be found randomly across Johto, while the player must spot Suicune in several different locations before finally getting the chance to capture it in Kanto.
The Legendary Birds
New to the remakes is the reappearance of the legendary Pokémon Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres (which could only be acquired in the original Gold and Silver by trading with Red, Blue, or Yellow). Articuno and Zapdos can be found in their original R/B/Y haunts (Seafoam Islands and the Power Plant, respectively), while Moltres has decided to make its nest at Mount Silver.
Latios and Latias
The player encounters the Hoenn champion Steven while exploring Vermilion city, who informs them that Latios (SoulSilver) or Latias (HeartGold) has been found roaming the routes of Kanto. The other Lati is not available normally but can be captured through a special promotional event.
In the original Gold and Silver, the Cerulean Cave had collapsed and could not be explored. In the remakes the Cerulean Cave is not only open, but Mewtwo still dwells within.
Kyogre, Groudon, and Rayquaza
Similar to Latios and Latias, Kyogre (HeartGold) and Groudon (SoulSilver) can be found hiding out in Johto and available for capture after a certain item is acquired. After acquiring the other through trading, Professor Oak will give the player an item necessary to summon (and hence, capture) Rayquaza. Bring the civil war that nearly tore apart Hoenn in an ecological apocalypse to a new home in Johto!
Diagla, Palkia, and Giratina
Though only available by transferring a special event Arceus to Heart Gold and Soul Silver, the three legendary dragons from Diamond and Pearl can be acquired in the remakes. Taking Arceus to the Sinjoh Ruins allows the player to choose one of the aforementioned legendaries, each starting at level 1 and carrying its respective orb. Since the Giratina acquired through this event carries the Griseous Orb (an item first introduced in Platinum, Which cannot be traded between games), this is the only legal way in Generation IV to obtain Giratina in its Origin Forme outside of Pokémon Platinum.
Version Exclusive Pokemon
Through Distribution at special events, a Pikachu colored Pichu from the event (Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, or Platinum) can be transferred to Pokemon HeartGold or Pokemon SoulSilver Versions for a chance to catch a special Pichu. The way to do this is to take the Pikachu colored Pichu through Ilex Forest and near Celebi's Shrine/Protector's Shrine then watch as a Spikey-Eared Pichu comes to Ethan/Lyra (character). The Spikey-Eared Pichu may have to be captured in battle or if friendship is high enough with the Pikachu colored Pichu, it will let the player catch it with no battle. It also can not be transferred to the Generation V games Black & White and Black & White Version 2.
Same as previous Pokemon games, Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver have events for mystery gifts never-given before! The events were as follows:
- The Yellow Forest PokeWalker Route-To have the chance to catch Pikachus (April 1st- May 5th 2010)
- The Winner's path PokeWalker Route-To increase the way of pokemon battles by transfering valuable pokemon in the route, to the game (May 6th - June 25th 2010)
- Summer 2010 Jirachi - (June 26th - July 16th 2010)
- Autumn 2010 Mew - (October 15th - October 30th 2010)
- Legendary Beasts - Zoroark Event (also for Pokemon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum)
- Shiny Rioku (February 7 - 13, 2011)
- Shiny Entei (February 14 - 20, 2011)
- Shiny Suicune (February 21 - 27, 2011)
As of March 31 2016, Pokémon Heartgold/Soulsiver has sold a combined 12.72 million copies worldwide.