With each Pokémon game that releases, more new players enter the fandom. If you're a new player drawn in by the open-world aspect, or a returning fan who hasn't played the last few Pokémon games there are a few things you'll want to know as you begin your journey in Scarlet and Violet. After all, this is the first-ever open-world Pokémon game so there are some brand-new elements as well as long-standing ones to keep in mind. Get a good start by following these tips and tricks.
Choose the starter the best starter for you
There are all new starters in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. Players have a choice between three types — Fire, Water, and Grass. In this group the Fire-type is fiery crocodile Fuecoco, the Water-type is the duckling Quaxly, and the Grass-type is the green kitten, Sprigatito. You should consider what strengths and weaknesses each starter's typing offers to see how hard it will be to play with a specific starter.
In general, Sprigatito has the most weaknesses and will be harder to get through the adventure with. Quaxly has a balanced mix of strengths and weaknesses making it a middle-ground option. Lastly, Fuecoco also has a good mix of strengths to weaknesses, but it is slightly easier to use than the rest due to its advantage against many of the opponents you face on your journey.
Of course, if you love the look of a specific starter just go with it and enjoy the game. This adventure is all about building up your team, so you can change it up and catch new creatures whenever you want. There isn't a right way, as long as you enjoy the team you have. Besides, you can always delete your Scarlet and Violet game and start over if you don't like where it's going.
Catch many types and be aware of strengths and weaknesses
Every Pokémon has at least one type. Having many different types on your team makes it easier to compete in battles against various opponents. Each type has different strengths and weaknesses that will benefit you (or be a disadvantage if you made a poor matchup decision) while you go head-to-head with other Pokémon and trainers.
Some Pokémon are dual-types such as Cloyster which is Water/Ice. Dual-typing can help mitigate weaknesses one type may have had separately. So make sure to look into your typings to see how to use them best and try to vary your team to take on a wide range of Pokémon.
|Type||Strong Against||Weak against|
|Fire||Bug, Grass, Ice, Steel||Ground, Rock, Water|
|Water||Fire, Ground, Rock||Electric, Grass|
|Grass||Water, Rock, Ground||Bug, Fire, Flying, Poison, Ice|
|Ice||Dragon, Flying, Grass, Ground||Fighting, Fire, Rock, Steel|
|Fighting||Dark, Ice, Normal, Rock, Steel||Fairy, Flying, Psychic|
|Poison||Fairy, Grass||Ground, Psychic|
|Ground||Electric, Fire, Poison, Rock, Steel||Grass, Ice, Water|
|Flying||Bug, Fighting, Grass||Electric, Ice, Rock|
|Psychic||Fighting, Poison||Bug, Dark, Ghost|
|Bug||Grass, Dark, Psychic||Fire, Flying, Rock|
|Rock||Bug, Fire, Flying, Ice||Fighting, Grass, Ground, Steel, Water|
|Ghost||Ghost, Psychic||Dark, Ghost|
|Dragon||Dragon||Dragon, Fairy, Ice|
|Dark||Ghost, Psychic||Bug, Fairy, Fighting|
|Steel||Fairy, Ice, Rock||Fighting, Fire, Ground|
|Fairy||Fighting, Dark, Dragon||Poison, Steel|
Be on the lookout for Shiny Pokémon
As you go about building your team and completing battles, make sure to keep an eye out for Shiny Pokémon. These are creatures that differ in color from a majority of the same type. While they don't offer any special moves, it is rare to run across a Shiny and can be fun to add a different color to your roster. If you really want to go out specifically in pursuit of these beautiful creatures, there are some special tricks for Shiny hunting.
Sandwiches and picnics
Previous Pokémon games have had some sort of fun food-based element to them that fans have been drawn to. With Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, there is a sandwich-making component. The sandwiches offer your team benefits depending on the sandwich including HP restoration, so if your Pokémon are looking like they could use some health, don't forget you can feed them!
Plus, when you picnic with two compatible Pokémon, it's possible that they will leave an Egg in the picnic basket which you can raise into a Pokémon for your team.
Eat, play, love
In addition to the sandwiches you can put together in the picnics, there are many restaurants and food stands around the town areas. It's worth taking a look at all the food options to see if they give you benefits that match up whatever goal you're going after. The food offers benefits for finding eggs, finding specific types of Pokémon, powering up a certain type of Pokémon, and more.
Customize your character
Although your uniform will be the orange or purple color to go along with the academy in your respective game, there are accessories you can purchase to customize your character in other colors. Some accessories include your backpack, hat, socks, and shoes. These help give your avatar more personality.
There are also salons as there were in previous games like Pokémon Legends: Arceus where you can change your hairstyle and color, but keep in mind you'll have to pay to view the options. While you can't truly customize your outfit there are four academy uniforms available to wear.
While this is one of the best Nintendo Switch games due to it being the first open-world Pokémon game, it is important to make sure to level up your Pokémon by gaining EXP in battles. As you're exploring the Paldea region, you'll see wild Pokémon that you can battle to get used to fighting with your team and build up their HP and abilities. If you get too lost in exploring and don't do enough battling, you may find it harder to explore or progress the story when you're ready due to low-level partners.
You'll also want to be careful of which area you're in. If you find yourself in a battle where your team isn't strong enough to survive a battle, you may want to explore another area. The wild Pokémon and Gym Leader Pokémon are at set levels at any point in the game, they don't change depending on where your team is leveled.
Get EXP fast
Earning experience points, or EXP, allows your Pokémon to evolve, learn more moves, and become stronger. Some ways to earn EXP are quicker than others. Auto battling gives your Pokémon less EXP than traditional battling. So if you want to earn more EXP, you should throw your Poké Ball at wild Pokémon. Tera Raid battles are a great way to get EXP as you often receive Exp Candies to help your Pokémon level up faster after defeating a Tera Raid Pokémon.
You also get EXP through other interactions in the game. For example, when you set up a picnic and talk to or wash your Pokémon or create a sandwich you will earn EXP when you pack up and leave. Take advantage of all of these various ways to earn EXP and you'll get your team leveled up in no time.
Make your own adventure
We love the open-world shift that has been happening on the Nintendo Switch and the freedom offered by Pokémon Scarlet and Violet has been long-awaited. No matter what path you choose to take, if you decide to start off following the game's main stories or want to go deep into exploring the region, keeping these tips in mind will help you enjoy however you want to play. Overall, making decisions that match how you want to play and not trying to do it the "right" way will give you the best experience. Have fun and explore!
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Alex has been working with iMore as a Freelance Gaming Writer for three years. You can also find a few articles of hers on Android Central and Windows Central. She regularly covers Nintendo Switch games and accessories as well as iOS game apps. In addition to the Nintendo Switch, you may also find her playing on the PlayStation and PC. When she doesn’t have a controller in hand she likes to spend her time with her husband, son, and dogs, exploring new places, or hiding away with a book (or comic book). A few of her favorite games include the Zelda franchise, Little Nightmares, and Animal Crossing.
- Rebecca SpearGaming Editor