One of the best ways to bond with your Pokémon and ensure they’ll be in it for the long haul is to cook and camp with them inPokémon Sword and Shield. While at first it may seem like an unnecessary part of the games, putting in a little time with your Pokémon has many benefits, like healing, XP, and additional in-battle bonuses. For example, a best friend Pokémon may be able to dodge attacks by the sound of your voice, save 1 HP after a devastating attack (giving you time to heal), or perform better after experiencing a pleasant memory. It’s also a nice chance to take a breather from the grind of the Wild Area while enjoying the unique interactions and dynamics between your Pokémon.
Playing with your Pokémon is the best way to build up your friendship, and it has the added bonus of helping you level up your Pokémon without battling or catching others. There are two toys you can use, a feathered bell stick, and a ball. Throw the ball and they’ll fetch it, or shake the stick and they’ll attack it. Be aware that some Pokémon are ball hogs and will try to get the ball before their slower, less powerful Pokémon friends. Try calling a Pokémon before you throw the ball to make sure it goes to the right one.
Feeding your Pokémon curry, meanwhile, will restore HP and PP (for Silver or higher rated dishes), in addition to providing additional XP and relationship bonuses. Water-type Pokémon, like Lotad, Sobble or Vaporeon, in particular, love curry. The quality of your dish seems to be based on the number of berries used to make the curry, and how they are mixed and matched to create a flavor profile. Try starting with a berry that has dual flavors, like spicy and sweet, and adding berries to strengthen the presence of each.
Finding rare berries and ingredients also seems to play a role. While base ingredients like apples and roots are found out in the open, other items can be purchased from specific vendors, who will be marked on your overworld map in the Wild Area. From them, you can purchase all sorts of curry bases that will diversify the recipes in your Curry Library, including Sausages, Tins of Beans, Mixed Mushrooms, Brittle Bones, and Fresh Cream from the vendor outside the entrance to Hammerlocke, and Bread, Instant Noodles, Precooked Burger, Pack of Potatoes, Salad Mix, Pasta, Spice Mix and Brittle Bones from the vendor near the train station. The ingredients available seem to vary based on the time, day, or some other factor. Gigantamax essence, awarded in Max Raid Battles, can also be used. Try to match the curry flavor profile to the type of food; there are often hints in the food or berry description that will help. Common berries with no specific flavor seem to create the lowest-ranked dishes. The four ranks are Gold (Charizard Class), which restores HP, PP, and status conditions. Silver (Copperajah Class), which restores HP, PP, and status conditions, Bronze (Milcery Class), which restores HP and status conditions, and Iron (Wobbuffet Class), which restores HP by half. It’s not yet understood how Gold rank is consistently achieved.
Berries can be found from trees all over the map, but take note of a few eccentricities. The rarest berries seem to come from trees behind some kind of progress barrier, namely bodies of water. Check the trees on islands and behind ponds and lakes. My favorite spot is the small island outside of the Pokémon Nursery in the Wild Area, which has berries I’ve never found anywhere else in the game. Rare berries are also rewarded by Max Raid Battles, so be sure to do those often. When you pick berries from trees, be careful, as after 3 or more shakes you’re very likely to run into a Pokémon and lose most or all of the berries already dropped on the ground. However, if you pick the berries at night, you can get away with shaking the tree a lot more, probably because the Greedants and Cherubis are asleep by then. Also pay attention to the timing of the tree’s shaking. If there’s a gap between rustles, it’s still safe to shake the tree. If the rustles are uninterrupted, quit and collect your berries.
Making lots of curries has a surprise benefit: additional toys for your Pokémon. Once you’ve made a few different dishes, head to the Ingredients Seller near the entrance to Motostoke in the Wild Area, and he’ll reward you new toys based on how many curry variations you’ve added to your library. They consist of balls of different effects and appearances, and unfortunately, you can still only use one while playing with your Pokémon friends.
Talking to your Pokémon also has benefits. When you use the Speak command, you can hear their thoughts on everything from their feelings about other Pokémon in the party to their comfort with their surroundings. Sometimes they are mystified by or don’t think much of other Pokémon, and this can lead to fights. Break those up as quickly as you can (look in the direction of your quarreling Pokémon and press A at the prompt).
When you are sure you have a good relationship with your Pokémon, you can check the strength of your bond by heading to Hammerlocke and talking to the Best Friend Ribbon Giver (in the red house on the right when you fast travel to the location). This may be relevant to certain Pokémon evolutions (which we’ll cover in an upcoming guide), so be sure to check-in after every few camping sessions until you reached the desired status.
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.