Catch all the facts for the new Pokémon games

Photo via under the Creative Commons License

Adrianna Popovich, Fall Author

The iconic Pokémon franchise is back with two new games, Sword and Shield, in the Galar region. It’s one of the most recognizable game franchises, with a relatively simple to understand plot: collect Pokémon, beat all eight gyms, the Elite Four (or, in Sword and Shield, the semifinals and finals,) and then, the champion. After beating the champion, you take the title, and then you can catch the game’s legendary Pokémon. For Sword, it’s Zacian, Shield’s is Zamazenta.

Sword and Shield were released November 15, 2019, becoming the first individual Pokémon game for the Nintendo Switch, and not a remake. The first games, Red and Green, were released in Japan on February 27, 1996, for the Gameboy.

New Mechanics

The most notable features added in Sword and Shield is Dynamaxing. In certain places in the games, there are power spots, like the gyms (except for one), where you can Dynamax, or with certain Pokémon, Gigantamax. Dynamax Pokémon, are basically bigger versions of the Pokémon with more health and stronger attacks, while Gigantamaxes can look much different than the original Pokémon, with a special attack that only Gigantamax versions of that Pokémon can use.

The only place to find and catch these Pokémon is in Pokémon dens, or Max Raid Battles. These are found in the Wild Area, a brand new location where you can find loads of strong Pokémon. Any of the dens with a red or purple beam coming out of them have a chance to have any Gigantamax Pokémon in them.

Another new location is Pokémon Camp, where you can play with and feed your Pokémon. If you collect berries from berry trees found all around Galar. Go into the Pokémon Camp mode, and start cooking, and choose whatever ingredients you want, along with a main ingredient. This starts a minigame where you have to fan flames and stir the pot. Finish it, and you have a curry to share among you and your pals.

Differences Between the Versions

Other than the legendary Pokémon, there are pretty noticeable differences between Sword and Shield. For example, each have two different gym leaders. Sword has Bea, a fighting type user, and Gordie, a rock type specialist. Shield has Allister, a ghost type leader, and Melony, the ice type leader, who is Gordie’s mother.

There’s also some version exclusive Pokémon, like Applin’s two evolutions. The evolution you get depends on the kind of apple you give it. If you give it the tart apple, you get Flapple, a Sword exclusive. If you give it a sweet apple, you get Applin, a Shield exclusive. They both share an identical Gigantamax form.


Gym Leaders


The first gym leader is Milo, the grass type using farmer. His gym challenge is simple: round up all twenty Pokémon into an area at the end of an enclosed space, avoiding obstacles, distractions, and annoying gym trainers. Get past all three sections, and you get to battle Milo himself. Beat him, and you get to catch Pokémon up to level 25, and train them up to level 30.


Second up is Nessa, a model who specializes in water type Pokémon.  She has a pretty traditional gym challenge, having to go through a puzzle with switches turning on and off water to get to her. Defeat her and you get to catch Pokémon up to level 30 and train them up to level 35.

The third leader is Kabu, the fire type master. To face him, you have to either catch or faint Pokémon. You need to get five points, you get three for catching a Pokémon and one for fainting it. After you get all the points, battle and take down Kabu. When you win, you get to train Pokémon up to level 40 and catch up to 35. If you go to the Wild Area, you’ll find you can go through to a new town, Hammerlocke.


Next are Bea and Allister, the leader you’ll fight depends on your version. Sword is Bea, fighting type leader, Shield is Allister, the ghost leader. Both have the same challenge, though different aesthetics: rolling around in cups, using either monster hands or boxing gloves to hit you up until you get to safe spaces where you can fight trainers until you reach the leader. Beat them, get the ability to train up your Pokémon even more and then advance to Ballonlea.


At Ballonlea, you’ll fight Opal, the fairy type grandma. In her challenge, you have to fight trainers and answer questions. Get them right, and you get a stat boost for your Pokémon. Once you beat her, you progress to Chirchester, and can power up your Pokémon even more.


At Chirchester, you’ll fight either Gordie, the rock type leader for Sword, or Melony, his ice using mother in Shield. For them, you have a detector, which helps you avoid pitfalls. There are safe areas where you can fight trainers before getting back to avoiding the traps. Take them down, and you can go to Spikemuth, where you face the penultimate gym leader.


Nearing the end, at Spikemuth, you fight Piers, the dark type rocker. His gym challenge is barely a challenge, making it through a long street and fighting Team Yell before getting to Piers and his concert setting. Beat him, and get ready to face the last leader:Raihan.


Head back to Hammerlocke for your final battle there until after the game, and fight double battles before battling the dragon tamer himself. Raihan uses the weather to his advantage, using Sandstorm, which does small bits of damage to Pokémon each turn. Take him down, gain the ability to catch and train Pokémon of all levels, and prepare to face the Champion.


After you beat Raihan, you can go and fight in the semi-finals and finals. After you finish the finals, you can fight Champion Leon…or not. Right before you can fight him, you have to catch a legendary that’s in both games, Eternatus. Catch Eternatus, and you can go ahead to fight Leon. If you manage to defeat him, congratulations! You’ve become the champion of Galar!


After that, you can go and get the game’s legendary. Your rival, Hop, will get the other. If you have Shield, you get Zamazenta, and Hop gets Zacian, and vice versa. To be able to get them, you have to do Max Raid battles at all of the gyms, with Hop, Piers, the leader for that gym, and yourself. For some of them, you either don’t fight a raid battle (Ballonlea and Spikemuth), or you have to fight it by yourself. They’re relatively easy, and once you beat all of them, you can go and get yourself your game’s legendary.


Overall, Sword and Shield are two good games, but not exceptional. There are Pokémon that should have been added but weren’t, and Pokémon that shouldn’t have been added but were. The animations are good for the most part, and the game has pretty locations. I’ll give Sword and Shield


4.5/5 Gringuses!