A core part of the gameplay of the Pokémon series is the gyms. Each Pokémon game has eight gyms which each specialize in a specific type of Pokémon. And each gym has their own set of challenges and puzzles you need to solve before making it to the gym leader, who serve as bosses to the Pokémon series. I’m going to rank these puzzles on how fun or interesting they are. This is not a rank of the gym leaders themselves, but of their gyms.
9: Snowbelle Gym (XY)Edit
After catching Xerneas or Yveltal in Pokémon X and Y, you'll get to continue on to find Snowbelle City, where you can attain your final gym badge, which allows you to go on and challenge the Pokémon League. But before you do that, you need to figure your way through a maze of rotating platforms inside the gym.
There are four that make up the core of the gym, and you need to find a way to rotate them in such a way that you can reach Wulfric, the gym leader. I like ones that make you think more than ones that are based on luck (i.e. Sabrina, Valerie, Flannery, etc.) They're just more fun to complete for me. As you defeat the trainers, you'll need to rotate the platforms several times to get through.
8: Mossdeep Gym (RS)Edit
Mossdeep Gym is the seventh one you encounter on your trip through the Hoenn region, and it's a first in the fact that you battle two gym leaders, the twins Tate and Liza who really pack a punch with their Lunatone and Solrock. The gym itself is pretty cool in that it requires you to put together a single path through the gym by activating switches.
The main paths through the gym keep you going, and you can't get off until you reach a wall or some other point, and this adds to the challenge, as you'll need to strategically alter the switches as you battle trainers through the gym.
7: Anistar Gym (XY)Edit
Anistar Gym is similarly the seventh one in its region and is also home to Psychic-type trainers. However, there is only one gym leader, who is Olympia. Olympia herself isn't the best gym leader, but her gym is quite cool in that it takes place in what looks like in space. You can see constellations based on Pokémon in the background.
You need to make your way through the gym by getting on warp panels, which take you to three different levels of the gym. The puzzle isn't that hard if you just go in a straight line the whole way through, but this gets points for the aesthetics.
6: Veilstone Gym (DP)Edit
Veilstone Gym was probably one of the gyms that I had the hardest time defeating, thanks to Maylene's Lucario and the lack of Fire-types in Sinnoh prior to the Platinum expansion. When you reach this gym, you'll have to once again use your head and organize a bunch of barriers to allow you a path to the gym leader.
This was quite infuriating if you somehow messed up, as you had to backtrack and fix a bunch of platforms. They blocked three separate sections of the gym. Points to this one because it was a nice puzzle for the mind.
5: Snowpoint Gym (DP)Edit
The Snowpoint City Gym is quite hard to reach, being all the way up north in the Sinnoh region. You'll have trudged through the snow for a couple of routes before reaching this, with your Pokémon having taken extra damage from all the hail in the area.
The gym itself requires you to slide down the sections of the gym to gain enough velocity so that you can break some snowballs in the center, which you need to break to reach the gym leader, Candice. This is hard because if you don't think, you can mess up, because the floor is entirely icy.
4: Sunyshore Gym (DP)Edit
After you catch Dialga or Palkia in Pokémon Diamond or Pearl, you'll have to head to Sunyshore City and face the Electric-type gym leader, Volkner. This gym is fun to play in because you'll need to move many switches to proceed, which make it a fun challenge to take on. Many buttons need to be pressed as well, making this an interesting puzzle.
3: Mistralton Gym (BW)Edit
Mistralton Gym is the sixth one in Unova, led by the Flying-type gym leader Skyla. This gym is quite interesting because while there isn't much of a puzzle to complete, you're going to be shot into cannons to move along, which is very fun and interesting. You need to find the right cannon to shoot you to the gym leader, and then collect your badge.
2: Sootopolis Gym (RS)Edit
Sootopolis Gym is led by Wallace, or Juan in Pokémon Emerald, and both leaders specialize in Water-type Pokémon. They also use a variety of dual types, as well, so your strategy to defeat them will need to be a good one - just electric won't work due to Pokémon like Whiscash, or just grass won't work due to ones like Ludicolo.
The puzzle itself is fun but one of the most punishing if you even mess up in anyway. It's an ice puzzle, more fitting for an ice gym, and you need to step on every tile once and only once while leaving yourself able to get to the exit. If you step on one even a second time, you'll fall through, cast in the midst of a lion's den full of trainers looking for battle. If you're smart, it's one of the few gyms that you can go through without battling a single trainer.
1: Opelucid Gym (BW)Edit
The final gym in Black and White, and the second to last gym in Black 2 and White 2, is a Dragon-type gym, which hasn't been seen since Clair of Johto. In this gym, you'll need to go through the gym in a way that you're aligning the arms of dragons - that's right, you get to walk on dragons - all the way to the gym leader Drayden, or Iris if you're playing White.
Fight your way through the trainers and think ahead if you don't want to have to backtrack and easily get lost in this maze of a gym. It's an interesting puzzle and one of the coolest designs of the series.