Beyond getting a high score, the main aim of the game is to complete the Pokédex. All of the Pokémon in the regional Hoenn Pokédex are available in the game except for Deoxys. Chikorita, Cyndaquil, Totodile, and Aerodactyl are also catchable in the game, though they are not able to evolve. This totals to 205 Pokémon.
There are three methods of obtaining Pokémon, all of which must be used to complete the Pokédex:
- Catch 'Em Mode: This mode begins with a shadowed image which is uncovered by hitting the Pokémon bumpers three times. The Pokémon will then appear and must be hit three times before the two minutes ends to be caught.
- Egg Mode: As soon as the egg on the field hatches, the newborn Pokémon will start moving around the field. It must be hit twice within the time limit for a successful capture. Some, but not all, hatched Pokémon with three forms can also be caught in their middle form in Catch 'Em Mode.
- EVO Mode: Most top-form Pokémon can only be obtained by evolving Pokémon caught through the above two methods. Once the Pokémon to evolve has been selected, three items must be collected in turn and the ball must then enter the Center Hole within two minutes. These items represent how the Pokémon evolves in the games.
- There are a few Pokémon that have a unique way of being caught. To Catch Groudon, Kyogre, and Rayquaza, their bonuses need to be completed twice in one game. To catch Jirachi, one must get into the start slot while in the Ruins area and match it on the Jirachi bonus. Jirachi moves around the field and must be hit twice in only thirty seconds.
Catching a Pokémon will light one Poké Ball on the Catch Counter. Evolving a Pokémon will light two Poké Balls on the Catch Counter. Lighting all three will activate transportation to the next Bonus Field.
Catching 15 Pokémon earns the player an extra ball.
The species of Pokémon that are available in Catch 'Em Mode are dependent on the areas, though this is the only effect that areas have on the gameplay. The current area is represented through the image between the Catch Counter and center hole.
There are nine areas, of which seven can be reached on each field. The Forest, Ocean, Plains, Cave and Ruins are available on both fields with only a slight variation in the available Pokémon between the two. The Volcano and Safari Zone are unique to the Ruby Field while the Wilderness and Lake are unique to the Sapphire Field.
The first area is chosen at random at the start of the game. After this, a new area can be reached through Travel Mode. Once the mode begins, the Poké Ball must be sent round a loop and then sent into the Center Hole within one minute. The areas are in a set order, though two are available in one Travel Mode; the next in line is reached though the left loop while the second in line is reached through the right loop. The Ruins cannot be reached until the sixth journey.
A new feature to this pinball game is the shop. Coins are earned by sending the ball through the Coin loop and can be spent on items:
- 30 Second Ball Saver (10 coins)
- 60 Second Ball Saver (20 coins)
- 90 Second Ball Saver (30 coins)
- Ball Upgrade (40 coins)
- Timer Up (40 coins) - This adds 30 seconds to the next timed event.
- Pika (50 coins) - Pichu joins Pikachu. For the rest of that ball, the Poké Ball is guaranteed to be rescued if it falls to the sides of the fields.
- Bonus Challenge (60 coins) - The ball will be transported to the Sealeo Bonus Field.
- Extra Ball (99 coins) - There is only one per game.
When EVO mode is possible, the activation of it will replace the shop.
The Japanese version of Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire was made compatible with the e-Reader accessory. There were four cards released for use with Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire. The cards did not add any new features to the game, they merely tweaked the difficulty levels or increased odds of certain events happening.
|DX Mode Card||Pikachu and Pichu will save the player's ball more often.|
|Capture Difficulty UP Card||The "Ball Save" time will be extended.|
|Area Card||The likelihood of finding Jirachi's area increases.|
|Extra Pokémon Get||The likelihood of encountering Chikorita, Cyndaquil, Totodile and Aerodactyl increases.|
The first three cards were given away with the purchase of Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire, while "Extra Pokémon Get" was given away at promotional booths for a limited time.
|This game-related article is part of Project Games, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on the Pokémon games.|