Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl: Tips and tricks for beginners

Pokemon Bdsp Art
Pokemon Bdsp Art (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are two faithful remakes of the classic DS games from 2006. Taking on the game's eight Gym Leaders and Elite Four can be a tough challenge. Whether you haven't played a Pokémon game in a while or this is your first time, there are a few things to keep in mind to make the adventure more accessible.

How to choose the best starter

Pokemon Gen 4 Starters (Image credit: iMore)

Players have different reasons for why they choose their starter. For example, some prefer the cutest one, the one with the coolest end evolution, or they choose the one that coincides with the element type they like most.

For an easy playthrough: If you're new to Pokémon or it's been a while, and you're not sure which one to choose, I suggest getting the Fire Type Chimchar as your starter. There aren't as many Fire Type Pokémon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, so he is very helpful to have. Granted, the first gym will be a challenge since Rock is its weakness, but if you level it up until it evolves, Monferno's fighting attacks will make quick work of Roark's Pokémon.

For a more challenging playthrough: If you're looking for a more challenging playthrough, choose the Grass Type, Turtwig, or if you want an even greater challenge, go with the Water Type, Piplup. They're both decent Pokémon and will see you to the end, but they aren't quite as efficient at taking out the games Gym Leaders and Elite Four.

Build the best team by knowing the Pokémon Type-system

Pokemon Type Weaknesses Chimchar Vs Turtwig (Image credit: iMore)

As with previous Pokémon games, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl uses the Pokémon Type chart. Every Pokémon has specific strengths and weaknesses, and some are even immune to specific attack types. After you've beaten a Pokémon for the first time, you'll be able to tell if your Pokémon's attacks are "Effective" or "Not very effective" when battling them.

It's good to have a versatile team that covers a wide range of Types. But swapping out your Pokémon team for those with a better edge against gym leaders is also a clever tactic.

Hide the Pokétch

Poketch Pokemon Bdsp (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

You can bring the Pokétch and it's several apps up by tapping R. When you're done using it, hold down the R button on your Switch to make the Pokétch go away. That way your view will be less cluttered. You can do the same to bring it back up again.

When it is in full view, move the hand-shaped cursor and click the button on the right to cycle through all of the apps you have acquired. You'll get more of them as you talk to characters and make your way through the game.

Adjust settings

Whether you're a fast or a slow reader, you likely want to make a quick trip into the settings menu to adjust the text speed to meet your needs. You can also determine whether or not Battle Effects and Battle Style appear, turning these off makes your battles go faster if that's what you want to do.

Nose to the grind

Pokemon Bdsp Lucario Vs Garchomp (Image credit: iMore)

As a creature collecting JRPG, Pokémon is all about fighting battles over and over to make your team strong. So you should embrace the fight and go up against every trainer and wild Pokémon you can while traveling from place to place. This will make you strong enough to take on gyms leaders, Team Galactic baddies, and the Elite Four.

If you're having trouble beating an opponent, you should take time to run around and fight others until you have leveled up your Pokémon enough to make the challenging battle easier.

Talk to everyone!

Pokemon Bdsp Pokemon Center (Image credit: The Pokemon Company (screenshot))

Throughout the Pokémon games, random NPCs have always given out valuable healing items or even TMs and HMs. So talk to everyone you meet, and you'll be sure to get any freebies they're offering.

Trade with others

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond Shining Pearl Amity Square (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

The core Pokémon games have always had version exclusives, so if you're hoping to "Catch 'em all," you must trade with someone who has a different version than you. In addition, some Pokémon, like Haunter, don't even evolve unless they're traded.

Be the very best

With these Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl tips and tricks, you'll be fighting through the Sinnoh region in no time. Keep an eye on your team and make sure to have a balanced group to do well.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.