Pokémon Sword and Shield: Tips, tricks, and cheats

Pokemon Sword and Shield starters
Pokemon Sword and Shield starters (Image credit: iMore)

So you've gotten Pokémon Sword, Pokémon Shield (or both), and want to know how to be the best trainer in the whole region. We'll we're here to help you on your quest. Whether you're looking for fighting advice or want to know about cool little elements in-game, we've got you covered. Here are tips, tricks, and cheats for Pokémon Sword and Shield.

Pokémon Sword and Shield Tips

Choosing your starter

As with every other Pokémon game, Sword and Shield starts by having you choose between a Grass-type, a Water-type, and a Fire-type Pokémon; these are Grookey, Sobble, and Scorbunny, respectively. It's really a personal and often emotional choice for many gamers.

They are all-powerful Pokémon that can serve you well on your journey. Overall, Water-types tend to have the least weaknesses of the three, so if you're looking for a potentially easier jaunt through the game, you might want to go with Sobble. I prefer Fire-types as they can be less common to find. Ultimately, however, the choice is yours.

Use the Options Menu

Pokemon Sword and Shield screenshot

Pokemon Sword and Shield screenshot (Image credit: iMore)

The first thing I did when I started my game was go into the Options Menu and change my preferences. I like to zoom through my game, so I set the Text Speed to Fast. Plus, I made it so the game doesn't ask me if I want to give my Pokémon Nicknames. You can also choose whether or not caught Pokémon automatically get sent to Boxes, have the option of skipping movies, and can disable autosave in favor of manual saves, among other options.

Fight often!

Pokemon Sword and Shield screenshot

Pokemon Sword and Shield screenshot (Image credit: iMore)

Fighting is essential for two main reasons:

  1. It helps your Pokémon level up and become stronger. Leveling up also allows your Pokémon to learn more powerful moves. If you don't fight Pokémon and trainers on your path, then your party won't be strong enough to take on the gym leaders. In turn, you won't be able to progress in the game.
  2. Fighting fellow trainers also gives you money so you can buy more things. There are a lot of necessary items, awesome-looking outfits, and character customization options that require money. If you actually want to participate in the Galar region's beautiful world, you'll need the money you obtain for beating trainers and gym leaders.

If a Pokémon is flying over your head, whistle at it

If you're ever in the Wild Area and see a beautiful Butterfree flying over your head, don't despair, you can catch it. Whistle in-game simply by pressing down the left joystick. This attracts Pokémon towards you and is sometimes the only way to get a Pokémon within reach.

Poke around and talk to people

Pokemon Sword and Shield screenshot

Pokemon Sword and Shield screenshot (Image credit: iMore)

There are items hidden everywhere in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. If you see a glittering sparkle on the ground, approach it and press A to pick it up. Additionally, people in the Galar region are amicable. Talk to everyone you see. Someone might give you a potion or other helpful item for merely interacting with them.

Sell your goods at the market in Stow-on-Side

With all of those items and sweet outfits, it can be hard getting the money necessary to buy everything you want. Fortunately, the market in Stow-on-Side tends to give you a lot more money for the items you sell than a PokeMart would. The trade-off here is that the store owner will only purchase one item from you per day, so you'll want to be strategic with the items you sell.

Have a versatile team

Pokemon types chart

Pokemon types chart (Image credit: The Bulba Handbook)

Having a well-balanced party means you need to have Pokémon with several different types. Each type is weak against certain types and strong against others. For instance, Water is strong against Fire, but weak against Grass. To beat opponents and gym leaders, you'll need to take advantage of this system.

The best way to do that is to have as many different Pokémon types in your party as possible. That way, you'll be ready for any random encounter you might come across. Some Pokémon only have one type, but others have two types. If possible, get Pokémon with multiple types. You'll also want to be aware of the type of attacks your Pokémon has. Just because it's a Fire-type, doesn't mean it has a Fire-type move yet.

All "strong-looking" Pokémon can't be caught yet

If you're running around the Wild Area and come across a "strong-looking" Pokémon, you should be aware that you won't be able to capture it, yet. You'll need to progress further in the game and obtain more gym badges to catch a Pokémon of that level. Your options when encountering a "strong-looking" Pokémon are to either fight it and get experience points or to run away. Just note that this might be a challenging battle.

Check out inactive Pokémon dens

Pokémon dens are where you come across Max Raid Battles. However, if you come across a den that isn't glowing, you can collect Watts from it. This is the currency explicitly used in the Wild Area. You can sometimes find rare items selling from the Wild Area's merchants, so you definitely want to have Watts handy.

Regularly cook at your Pokémon Camp

Cooking meals with your Pokémon gives you dishes that you can use during battle to boost morale, heal all of your Pokémon at once, or raise their friendliness levels. Pokémon that have a higher level of friendliness are more likely to inflict critical hits during battle. You're going to want to experiment and make dishes often. What's more, playing with your Pokémon in the Pokémon Camp raises their experience points.

Pokémon Sword and Shield Tricks

Pokemon Sword and Shield

Pokemon Sword and Shield (Image credit: iMore)

These options are a little less serious, and more fun tricks you can discover while playing.

  • Do a little dance: If you quickly spin your left joystick around, your main character will do a sweet little dance and then strike Leon's pose.
  • Psych out your Pokémon: When you're playing with your Pokémon in the Pokémon Camp, you can pretend to throw the ball. This requires that you move an external Joy-Con in a throwing motion without actually pressing Y.

As we play more, we hope to find other little details like this that really make the experience more enjoyable.

Pokémon Sword and Shield Cheats

We're still figuring these out ourselves. We'll update as soon as we discover some cheats. Check back soon!

Well, there you have it, tips, tricks, and cheats for Pokémon Sword and Shield. We'll be updating this page so check back often. Now go forth, collect various Pokémon, beat every gym leader, and become the best trainer there ever was!

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.