It’s the dawn of a new generation in Pokémon—metaphorically, at least. The latest in the series, Pokémon Let’s Go, is not a new installation of the series, but rather a rebirth that draws heavily on the first generation of Pokémon, combining it with the mobile game Pokémon Go and some modern design sensibilities to offer a new point of introduction to the vast Pokémon world.
With all the new features and accessories, you may have some questions about a few finer points, like how to hook up Pokémon Go, or what, exactly, is different between the Pikachu and Eevee versions. Here’s what you need to know before you buy.
Pokémon Let’s Go has been described as a reimagining of Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow but it mirrors those original games extensively, to the point that you’ll find many of the details, like locations of rival trainers and certain Pokémon spawns, identical. For example, to get a Gengar, you still have to trade a Haunter with another player.
The great news is this means that most of the tips, tricks and guides from the original games will still work if you need a walkthrough. The one thing that has changed the most is probably the combat system, which now has the player catching Pokémon the Pokémon Go way, instead of the exchange of hit points that it used to rely on in the past. Trainer battles are the same. And among the better new features is the ability to ride certain Pokémon, which makes getting around the map much faster (fast travel not withstanding). Special moves like pushing blocks and cutting down trees will also now be in their own menu and Pikachu can perform them whenever they are needed (that is, once they’ve been learned)—so no more mules!
The primary difference between the two games is, of course, what starter Pokémon is available at the beginning of the game, and what Pokémon will commonly spawn. For example, in the Pikachu version, mostly Rattatas and Oddish once you first leave Pallet Town. However in Eevee, it’s Bellsprouts and Ekans. The version-exclusives exist largely to support and encourage the trading feature integral to the Pokémon series.
If you’re making your decision based on the spawns specific to each game, the Pokémon exclusive to the Pikachu version are Gloom, Grimer, Growlithe, Mankey, Muk, Oddish, Primeape, Sandslash, Scyther, Sandshrew and Sandslash. The Eevee version has Arbok, Bellsprout, Koffing, Meowth, Ninetales, Pinsir, Victreebell, Vulpix, Weepinbell and Weezing.
If you do not have anyone to trade with, a good way to get some of these Pokémon is through Pokémon Go.
The Poké Ball Plus can be used both in Pokémon Let’s Go and in Pokémon Go.
In Pokémon Let’s Go, its primary use is as a controller, with which you can still do everything in the game. Clicking the analog stick acts as a Confirm button, while the button on the top of the Ball acts as the Back button. The analog stick is also used to catch Pokémon in a sweeping motion similar to that of Pokémon GO.
As for its use in Pokémon Go, using it will rely on a lot of color cues with the small light emitted from the analog stick/button. Once connected with your smartphone and Pokémon Go via Bluetooth, it will glow blue and vibrate when you are near a Pokéstop and you can click the button to then collect items from the stop. A multicolor flash means success, red means the stop is no longer in range. With Pokémon, the device will flash green when you encounter a Pokémon you’ve already caught, and yellow for those you have not. Click the button to try to catch the Pokémon. As with Pokéstops, a multicolor flash means you’ve successfully caught it and red means you failed.
The Poké Ball Plus can also be used to level up Pokémon while you exercise; go to Take Your Pokémon For a Stroll in the Save menu, and select your desired Pokémon from an inventory (only one can be taken out at a time). Once stored on the Poké Ball Plus, it will record your steps and keep track of other stats to award candy and XP when you sync back up to Pokémon Let’s Go (return to the Save menu and hit Take Your Pokémon For a Stroll again to do so). I was able to get 10,000 XP and level up my Mew from 31 to 34 in a single evening with a 5km walk at the park.
Being able to import your Pokémon from Pokémon Go is one of the best features of Pokémon Let’s Go. To transfer over your Pokémon, you’ll need to be at the point in the game where you can visit Fuschia City, where there’s a Go Park Complex that houses several playgrounds where the Pokémon can hang out and generate Pokémon candy, as well as wait until they can be re-caught by the player and become a regular part of the usable Pokémon Let’s Go roster.
But before that, you’ll have to sync Pokémon Let’s Go to your Pokémon Go account. To do so, first open up the menu in Pokémon Let’s Go by pressing X, then Y to see Options. Click the Open Pokémon Go Settings item. The game will ask if you want to pair with a Pokémon Go account, click Yes, then (while it is “searching”) open up your Pokémon Go account on your phone, first making sure that Bluetooth is enabled. Go to the bottom of the Settings menu, then click Nintendo Switch. Hit Connect to Nintendo Switch, and the devices should find one another. The Switch will list your username to confirm and ask if you want to pair. Click Yes.
Now go back to desk in the Go Park Complex, and select Bring Pokémon from the menu. Choose a park, then proceed to the transfer screen. It will start a connection process nearly identical to the one you just went through. Open up your roster in Pokémon Go, then hit the Nintendo Switch icon in the upper righthand corner. After that, hit Start Communication on your Nintendo Switch screen, and the console will search and ask to confirm your Pokémon Go account. Hit Yes, then go back to your smartphone to select the Pokémon you wish to send. Confirm and select OK, and your smartphone will search and then connect with the Switch. Confirm with your username once again, then hit Yes to receive your Pokémon.
When you select your Pokémon for transfer, Pokémon that have been favorited will not show up, and neither will Pokémon from later generations. Special versions of Pokémon however can be sent to your Let’s Go file, and they will show up with their effect, including Alola versions and Shiny versions. However, special event Pikachus are not available for exchange.
Once the Pokémon have been transferred to the park, you can add them to your general Let’s Go roster by catching them with a Poké Ball. Keep in mind that once you have moved a Pokémon from Pokémon Go to Pokémon Let’s Go, you cannot transfer them back.
Arguably one of the most exciting Pokémon to be revealed in years, Meltan is the first known Mythical Pokémon who can also evolve (and perhaps the only Pokémon that doesn’t officially belong to any of the generations). To get him, it will require the collection of Mystery Boxes from Pokémon Let’s Go, which are obtained when you transfer Pokémon from Go to Let’s Go. Once you activate the box in your Pokémon Go items menu, it will trigger a special lure for 30 minutes that will generate Meltans, generating a Meltan once about every six to eight minutes or so.
It will require 400 Meltan candy to evolve it into Melmetal, so be sure to feed Meltans a lot of Pinapberries as you catch them to get you there a little faster. Also, the boxes expire within a week so use them quickly.
Holly Green is the assistant editor of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.