So, Switch owners. Here we are again, getting swept up in the holiday season. Buying gifts, stockpiling food, planning annual trips to visit family (trips which remind you, within thirty seconds of arriving, why you only see these ingrates once a year)… it’s such a magical time, isn’t it?
This particular holiday season is going to be a crucial one for Nintendo. The Switch has had rather a slow year, release-wise, and it’s time for a big push to drive sales and make up for that. To help make this happen, they’ve got a two-pronged AAA assault lined up, in the shape of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee.
While Smash Bros. is agreed by many to be the must-have exclusive that they’ve been waiting for to jump on board with the system, Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee has been a much more controversial proposition. The internet is tough to please at the best of times, and when you throw in reveals about the removal of held items, breeding and the like, the accusations of ‘dumbing down’ the Pokémon formula were going to fly thick and fast.
This isn’t the spangly new generation eight title we’re waiting for, no. Taken on its own merits as a reimagining of the original games, though, this is a joyful experience, and there’s a lot of hidden depth to the mechanics and surprises to be found.
What unusual item should you be selling for cold, hard cash? Just how much potential does the Poké Ball Plus have? Just how soon can we get Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle? Read on for answers, and a lot more handy tips.
25 Because It’s Just Not Kanto Without Bulbasaur, Charmander, And Squirtle
As we know, Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee are remasters and retellings of Pokémon Yellow. They’re not completely faithful remakes, but that’s the model the game was based on. For this reason, your starter Pokémon is Pikachu (or, obviously, Eevee).
All of which is totally fine, but this bright and beautiful new take on Kanto really should give us the opportunity to nab our favorite Pokémon Red and Blue starter too, and early on.
And so it does. When you reach Cerulean City, an NPC in a house next to the Pokémon Center will give you a Bulbasaur, providing you’ve caught 30 (total, not all different) Pokémon. If you’ve caught a total of 50, a man just above Nugget Bridge on Route 24 will give you a Charmander. Finally, Squirtle can be yours as soon as you reach Vermillion City. Officer Jenny will give you the little critter, if you’ve hit 60 total catches. So there you are, with all three original starters before you’ve even boarded the S.S Anne.
24 So That’s Not Early Enough For You?
Now, myself, I’m totally happy with that arrangement. The levels you get the three Pokémon are a little lower than your average party will be at the point you reach them, but it won’t be long before you’ve got them caught up.
If you want to do the catching yourself, that’s also an option. They’re very rare spawns, but you’ll get the starters even earlier than this for you trouble. Bulbasaur is available in the wild in Viridian Forest, Charmander will spawn in Route 3, Route 4 and Rock Tunnel, while Squirtle can appear on Routes 24 and 25. And the Seafoam Islands, if you still don’t have one by that point.
What can you do to ease the process of these rare spawns appearing? More on that later.
23 Buy Items In 10s
Now, the game isn’t shy about handing you Poké Balls. It’s a good thing, too, because the amount you’ll be burning through, launching them Pokémon GO-style, can be quite frightening. Especially when you’re shooting for catch chains, which we’ll take a look at a bit later.
You’re given them for beating some trainers, you find batches of them in the overworld, there are even NPCs who will give you more if you run out (there’s one in Mt. Moon, for instance).
Despite this, though, you’ll want to make darn sure you keep yourself stock at the Marts, too (remember to bulk buy in batches of ten, to get the best from the bonus Premier Balls).
On that note, here’s an interesting early-game tip that will likely even trip up series veterans: in this game, Rare Candies sell for 5,000 each. If you don’t plan on using them, make sure to keep that in mind.
22 Chains Are Super, Super Useful…
A couple of entries back, we discussed the iconic Kanto starter Pokémon, and how players can grab them for their own as early as possible. Well, if you want a Bulbasaur from the game’s very first ‘dungeon,’ Viridian Forest, you’re going to have to earn it.
How do you do that? with catch chains, that’s how. As you probably know, catching multiples of the same Pokémon species consecutively maintains a catch chain. It’s this that increases the chance of a rare spawn.
Think of it as a similar system to chain fishing for shiny Pokémon in recent generations of the main game.
21 …In More Ways Than One
If you’ve been around since the days of late-nineties Pokémania, there’s something about Let’s Go that you’re sure to find a little jarring. While Trainer battles are plentiful, they aren’t a primary source of EXP this time around.
The bulk of your levels will come from catching Pokémon, which equally distributes experience to your whole party. There are all kinds of factors that will increase the experience this nets you (more on that later), but one excellent one is the catch combo. The higher you’ve got the combo, the more bonus EXP each catch will earn you. That’s a big thing to bear in mind.
20 Shiny Hunting — Yes, You Can See Them In The Open-World
Earlier, I spoke of hunting for shiny Pokémon, and a technique that veterans will remember as chain fishing. As you defeat the same hooked Pokémon in a row (running from those that were of a different species), you chance of finding a shiny Pokémon (of any species encountered in those particular waters) would dramatically increase.
In Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee, this is another interesting hidden facet of catch chains. As reported by Pokémon GO Hub, shiny Pokémon are still darn rare, but your chances of finding one in that area will improve as your chain increases. Players are reporting reaching chains of 100+ without any luck, so be prepared for a potentially long haul if you want to try it. And, as I say, stock up on those Poké Balls.
Their alternate colors and distinctive ‘sparkle’ are visible on the overworld, luckily, so you won’t miss them.
19 Petting Pays Off
Over the years, Game Freak have gone to great lengths to ensure that the franchise pushes the whole let’s be friends with our Pokémon, let’s bond with them, let’s share glorious sunset-watching romantic moments with them thing to the hilt.
As technology have moved on, we’ve been given different ways to try and bond and interact with these fictional creatures. Hey You, Pikachu! was a huge advancement (that is, it would have been, if the darn game had worked), but touchscreen petting with the likes of Pokémon Amie is also effective.
In Let’s Go, petting your Pikachu or Eevee gets its own huge icon on the menu, and you may not want to neglect it. by lavishing attention on your little partner, you have a chance of receiving rare gifts from them.
18 Don’t ‘Sleepy Sleep’ On These Special Moves, They’re Fantastically Broken
Yep, I know. I hear you, friends, I definitely do. When those special moves your partner Pikachu/Eevee can learn were revealed to the world… well, the world was pretty darn snarky about the whole thing. Not without reason, either, because Splishy Splash, Zippy Zap, and such sound every possible kind of pitiful.
Let’s not get hung up on that, though, because these attacks are fantastic. You’re first able to obtain some from Cerulean City (the ringmaster Move Tutor in the Pokémon Center), and their BP level and secondary effects are way overpowered at that point).
Eevee’s Buzzy Buzz, for instance, is equal to Thunderbolt in power, but also guarantees Paralysis on the target. Getting that directly before Misty’s Water-type gym? Dang.
17 There’s Also An Ultimate Move You May Not Have Seen
As I say, some of these exclusive moves are totally overpowered. Especially for the point in the game that you can first access them. The Partner Powers go a stage beyond that, though.
If you weren’t convinced that playing with your Pikachu or Eevee is a good idea, how about this: doing so builds you relationship with them, allowing you to use a Partner Power. These can be straight-up attacks (Pikachu’s Pika Papow or Eevee’s Veevee Volley, both of which are powered up by friendship as with Return) or, if your partner isn’t currently active in battle, it’ll buff the stats of your currently-battling Pokémon. Look out for the icon in battle, and use it to best effect.
16 Eevee’s Got Much More Choice Than Pikachu
On the subject of those hilariously-titled special moves, that’s one thing that may sway your decision between the two versions. The differences aren’t particularly significant, but I guess this is the sort of thing that could break a very close tie.
While your partner Pikachu can learn up to three of these moves (Zappy Zap, Floaty Fall and Splishy Splash), a partner Eevee can learn a move for each of the types it can currently evolve into.
This gives it access to the Dark-type Baddy Bad, for instance, alongside the Ice-type Freezy Frost. This is a great way to patch up the Normal-type’s limited coverage.
15 D-D-D-Don’t Stop The Combo
As we’ve seen, the catch combo mechanic is central to making efficient progress through Let’s Go. While some will want to follow specific guides so they know exactly what will appear on each route, others (like myself) will fall into a routine of starting to build a combo in each new area, to be surprised by which rare Pokémon appear.
Here’s an expert tip you may not be aware of: said combos can be carried forward. Providing you don’t make a catch in the area you’re currently in, you can travel to another and have it continue to be active (ie, rare Pokémon can start appearing there as soon as you enter).
14 Don’t Be Afraid Of The Infamous ‘Magikarp Guy’
No, not the meme, the actual Magikarp-selling guy.
That’s right, friends. We all remember the dastardly NPC in that one Pokémon Center, who took advantage of our youthful innocence and naïve nature to foist that darn Magikarp on us. 500 freaking Poké-dollars?
Fortunately, it all worked out okay (read: the feeble thing evolved into a GYARADOS and proved to be amazing). The eventual moral of the story is that gift Pokémon are great. This still holds true in Let’s Go, for one super important reason: gifted Pokémon have excellent IVs. In some cases, you’ll want to drop ones you caught in the wild faster than Snoop Dogg when it’s hot, in favor of the gift.
13 Meowth And Growlithe Are Definitely Your Friends
While we’re on the topic of gifted Pokémon, there’s one little event early in the game that you may have passed by. Depending on whether you’re playing Let’s Go Pikachu or Let’s Go Eevee, you’ll want to be sure that you’ve caught a total of five or more Meowth/Growlithe before reaching Vermillion City.
Why? Because an innocuous-looking NPC there (the Beauty sitting on the bench outside) will gift you a Persian (in Pikachu version) or an Arcanine (in Eevee version). In the absence of bicycles, ride Pokémon are the order of the day, and this is the earliest you can get your hands on one for faster movement.
Just as a sidenote, Arcanine looks absolutely freaking humongous when ridden. The dang thing would make Cerberus himself look like a newborn chihuahua.
12 Size *Does* Matter
Nope, we’re not going there. Forget any snarky double entendres and let’s head straight to the nitty-gritty. In a Monster Hunter sort of style, each Pokémon you encounter of a specific species has a randomly generated size. When one is particularly big or particularly small, you’ll see it on the overworld (the red aura suggests a Pokémon is super big, while a blue aura tells you it’s super small).
This may not show in battle itself (huge Pokémon don’t look like Totem Pokémon, sadly), but it’s something that’s important to keep in mind. Why? Because these factors also add extra modifiers to boost your EXP and rewards, that’s why.
11 IVs Are Still A Thing
We’ve already touched on the fact that many Pokémon veterans have long since decided to skip Let’s Go. It’s billed as a more streamlined, beginner-friendly Pokémon title, and some in the community just are not down with that.
The issue is that the game strips away a lot of the familiar competitive aspects, like abilities and held items. Surprisingly, though, one of the more obscure aspects of competitive Pokémon is still here: IVs. Individual Values determine the potential of each of a Pokémon’s stats, and it’s something that was hidden away and not displayed in-game until more recent entries.
As it is, though, gifted Pokémon will have some random IVs maxed out, and so will those you catch further along a catch chain (as detailed by RPGSite).
10 Catching Like A True Pro
From everything we’ve seen so far, then, it’s clear that there’s a little more depth to this one than its stripped-down, beginner-friendly façade may suggest. It’s a game that your little sister --who’s never played a Pokémon game in her life-- can hop on board with and start throwing the Poké Ball Plus around, yes, but it’s more than that too.
When it comes to making that catch, there are a lot of potential bonuses to keep in mind. Technique bonus, size bonus, combo bonus, your accuracy (for a nice, great or excellent throw depending on the size of the reticule)… Pokémon GO’s curve balls are out, but all kinds of other considerations are in.
9 Wait, Articuno, Zapdos And Moltres Are Rare Spawns Too?
Oh, yes indeedy-oh.
Well, I can’t say I’ve ever used that phrase before, but I can promise that I never will again.
With that out of the way, then, let’s take a look at how the original legendary trio, Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres, work this time around.
As you’d expect, you find them in their familiar hangouts at first (Seafoam Islands, the Power Plant, and Victory Road respectively). As VG247 explains, you travel to each location, defeat the bird in battle and then have a chance to capture it. It works along the same lines as a Raid Battle in Pokémon GO.
That’s only half the story, though, because you can get your hands on more copies of the legendary birds in this game! Let’s check out how.
8 Because You Can Never Have Too Many Legendary Birds
Here’s the deal: once you’ve captured a legendary bird in its familiar Kanto home, you have a super slim chance of capturing more of that bird in different locations around the world. If you’re one of those lucky souls who always finds those Dratini spawns in Pokémon GO, this is probably one for you.
If you’ve already cleared out Seafoam Islands, the Power Plant, and Victory Road, here’s where to go in search of possible duplicates: Routes 1-4, 6-8, 10-19 and 21-25. At any time on any of these routes, another of the legendary bird trio may spawn. If you’re lucky enough and persistent enough, you just may get one. Or even several, if you want to trade your Earthly soul to Beelzebub.
7 Hey, I’m Not Judging You
So, yes. Let’s Go isn’t the most competitively-oriented title in the series, and gamers have posted all manner of snarky, boycott-y messages on forums and comment sections around the internet for that very reason. Nevertheless, committed players do still have the opportunity to perfect their Pokémon’s IVs.
A crucial tool for this is the in-game IV checker, which is called the Judge function in this game. You can get it surprisingly early on, too. Simply head east from Vermilion City to Route 11. A Snorlax is/was blocking the path here, but if you head upstairs in the building next to it, one of the Professor’s aides will be waiting for you. If you’ve registered 30 or more different Pokémon species, they’ll give you the ability to Judge the critters in your Pokémon Box. No, not judge them like that, this isn’t Mean Girls.
6 Mega Evolution Agogo!
Now, this is more of a postgame thing, and if you’re wary about spoilers, you might want to leave now before you find out who gives you what.
Okay? Still here? Let’s get into it, then. It was a natural conclusion, given the lack of any held items in the game, that Mega Evolution wouldn’t be implemented in Let’s Go. It certainly is, though, in some special cases.
Firstly, on nabbing the seventh gym badge from Cinnabar Island, you’ll encounter Blue back at the professor’s lab. There, he’ll give you the four Mega Stones for the Kanto starters (Charizard has two, remember) and the ability to dang well Mega Evolve them in the first place.
Additionally, after capturing Mewtwo in the mysterious Cerulean Cave, you can head back in to encounter Green, who will give you Mewtwo’s two Mega Stones.
5 Dang, Mewtwo’s A Pain In The Cheeks This Time Around
As veteran players of the original games will know, Mewtwo is intended to be the ultimate challenge for a Pokémon trainer.
Sure, beating the Elite Four and Champion and becoming the very best yourself is good, but have you tried getting this darn thing to stay in a ball? However much your fifth-grade buddy tried to convince you that hammering Up and B worked, it totally didn’t.
True to form, Mewtwo gives players a run for their money in Let’s Go as well. Not only are its stats juiced up in the battle itself, but when it comes to the catching attempt, it can intermittently produce a barrier that will remove the effects of any berries you’ve used and briefly disable your Poké Balls! You wanted a challenge, veterans? This is it.
4 The Power Of The Poké Ball Plus
Ah, yes. The Poké Ball Plus. Since this curious peripheral was first revealed, gamers have had… well, mixed feelings would probably be a fair assessment. Is it a gimmick? Is it a cash grab? Is it a paywall? With Mew inside and all, perhaps it is, but there’s something else to note too: for dedicated Let’s Go players, it’s certainly going to earn its keep.
For one thing, you may not know that the Poké Ball Plus boasts all the functions of the Pokémon GO Plus, with all the light-up auto-catching shenanigans that entails. This is a big deal when it comes to the Pokémon GO Park later in the game, for those committed to filling their Pokédexes. You can also take Let’s Go Pokémon for a walk inside the ball, as per the Mew commercial, and that’s where things get really serious.
3 No, Seriously, The POWER Of The Poké Ball Plus
Depending on how high-leveled you want to be on your journey through the main game, there are certain techniques you may want to avoid.
Those catch combos, for instance, can automatically bump your team up to crushing-all-who-oppose-us-into-hunks-of-sad-defeated-spam-just-by-looking-at-them levels of overpowered.
If you’re cool with that, go for it. You’ll also want to take Pokémon from the game for walks in the Poké Ball Plus, because man does that power them up. If you have a good, active day, you’ll re-connect to the game to find a bounty of candies and other useful items, and your Pokémon will have grown perhaps 20 or 30 levels.
2 Make Sure You Have A Pokémon Follow You (For Extra Items)
I hope some of you out there got that musical reference. If not, I suddenly feel about 100 years older.
Moving swiftly along, as you’ve surely seen from the trailers, Pokémon are again able to leave their Poké Balls and follow you. Not just your starter Pikachu/Eevee, but any Pokémon. Some, like Arcanine, are even ridable. There’s more to this than just a super-cute gimmick, too.
It pays to have a Pokémon following you whenever you can. Not just for Venusaur’s magnificent running animation (which is one heckola of a sight to behold), but because they’ll find items on the overworld for you from time to time.
Including berries, which aren’t available in Marts.
1 Are You A *TRUE* Pokémon Master?
No, wait. Scratch that. THIS is it. You’ve probably heard that, when you become Kanto champion this time around, something very special and unusual is unlocked: the master Trainers. These skilled battlers have devoted their Poké-careers not to training up a single type, as the gym leaders do, but a single Pokémon.
Finding and defeating them all (yep, there are 153 in all, as demonstrated by GameXplain's video guide) is possibly the most ridiculous task the series has ever presented, and it’s the true mark of a Pokémon master. Are you up for it? Fierce Metapod-on-Metapod Hardening action awaits, if you’re brave enough to answer the call.