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Pokémon HOME review: If you seriously want to trade, you'll need to pay for the premium plan

Pokemon Home Switch And Mobile
(Image: © Rebecca Spear / iMore)

Our Verdict

Bottom line: While there is a free version, you're going to have to pay for the premium subscription if you really want to use this service. The transferring process is a little clunky and limited, however trading with others online makes it worth it.

For

  • Can gather your Pokémon in one place
  • Can trade with others around the globe
  • Offers challenges and rewards
  • Premium version lets you hold up to 6,000 Pokémon

Against

  • Free version only lets you hold up to 30 Pokémon
  • Transfer limitations
  • Clunky transfer process

By now I've accepted that I and most of the Pokémon fanbase will basically try anything The Pokémon Company puts out. But I'm also aware that I won't be too impressed with the experience. The same goes for Pokémon HOME. Like many other Pokémon fans out there, I immediately downloaded Pokémon HOME the minute it was available.

This Pokémon storing and trading service allows you to gather your Pokémon from various games into one place and then trade them with other players around the world. While there is a free version, its limitations make it a horrible option for most players. If you actually want to use this service, the premium plan is really your only option.

Note that you will need both the Nintendo Switch version and the mobile version to take advantage of all of Pokémon HOME's features. However, you only need to pay once in order to have access to the premium plan on both your phone and your Nintendo Switch.

Store and trade

Pokémon HOME What I like

Pokemon Sword Shield How To Get Bulbasaur Squirtle

Pokemon Sword Shield How To Get Bulbasaur Squirtle (Image credit: iMore)

It's a little odd, but you can only transfer Pokémon to and from different games using the Switch version while trading Pokémon with other users is only possible via the mobile version.

Trading options Find people around the world

The Global Trading System (GTS) from past Pokémon RPGs is available within Pokémon HOME. You can trade with other users around the world by specifying exactly what Pokémon you're willing to trade and which Pokémon you want in return. That way you're far more likely to get exactly what you want.

Additionally, players can participate in trade rooms with random users, or they can Wonder Trade several Pokémon (10 if you've got the premium subscription, 3 if you don't) at a time for random Pokémon all over the world. It's a great way to fill out your Pokédex and if you're lucky, you just might get your hands on shinies or Pokémon with awesome IVs.

Free version is very limited

Pokémon HOME What I don't like

Pokemon Home Review Paywall Mobile

Pokemon Home Review Paywall Mobile (Image credit: iMore)

The paywall Premium's really your only option

Free users can only house 30 Pokémon total while premium users can house up to 6,000. Given the number of Pokémon games that have been made and the number of total Pokémon out there, 30 isn't nearly enough space for most people. Additionally there are several trade limitations for free members, like how they cannot create a Trade Room.

That means that if you're really wanting to use the trading features offered in this service then you're going to need to shell out for the subscription. If you do that, we recommend the yearly subscription of $15.99 as it saves you the most money in the long run.

Convoluted and clunky It's not as intuitive as it should be

Pokemon Home Review Switch

Pokemon HOME Review Switch (Image credit: iMore)

I first want to say that it's amazing how many games are compatible with Pokémon HOME (even if you have to jump through some crazy hoops in order to transfer in from some older games). However, it's frustrating that once certain Pokémon are transferred into Pokémon HOME that they cannot get transferred into any other games. It's possible that future Pokémon games will allow us to transfer more Pokémon out of HOME, but for now this limitation effectively makes Pokémon HOME feel more like Pokémon prison for the pocket monsters that cannot leave.

Finally, organizing your boxes is just as clunky as it's ever been in previous Pokémon storage services. Transferring boxes isn't intuitive and took me a few minutes to figure out. While you can select a group of Pokémon from within a box you cannot select multiple boxes at a time when transferring. I can only hope that The Pokémon Company will make several changes to the app as time goes on to make the transferring process easier.

Pokémon HOME Bottom Line

Pokemon Home Pokedex

Pokemon Home Pokedex (Image credit: iMore)

Pokémon HOME isn't the easiest service to use, but it's the only storage service we've got for Switch and phones. If you play Pokémon games regularly and plan on making several trades with other players then you're definitely going to want to sign up for the premium service.

Premium members can house thousands of Pokémon and get more trade options than free members. In all reality, the free version just doesn't offer enough features to be useful for most people.

Rebecca Spear
Rebecca Spear

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.