10 things you need to know before you start Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

pokemon Scarlet and purple is the first mainline open world game in the series, with loads of new features and much of the good magic from Pokémon Legends: Arceus while keeping the original formula that makes Pokémon games so much fun.

As you take on the many challenges in Paldea – the tough Trainers of Victory Road, the huge Pokémon of Path of Legends, and the antagonistic faction of Starfall Street – you explore the vast world together with your companion Legendary Pokémon, Koraidon or Miraidon. There’s a lot to do in the game, but we’re here to help.

Below we list some tips that we wish we knew at the start of the game.

Lock your map so it doesn’t rotate by using the right stick

The card inside Pokémon Scarlet and purple is absolutely packed with icons. Press the R stick to lock the large map, but unfortunately (as far as we know) there’s no way to lock the minimap.

Making sure the map always has north at the top will help you navigate Paldea a lot – and also make you less dizzy.

You can’t jump, but your mount can

You conquer Koraidon or Miraidon (in Scarlet and purple respectively) very early, and the Legendary Pokémon offer a huge boon: unlike previous regular Pokémon games, you can actually jump onto cliffs and ledges using your mount.

If you see items on a cliff, try jumping up to reach them. Of course, you can’t reach every ledge you see – you’ll need to feed your mount some special sandwiches (with Herba Mystica, obtained by defeating Titan Pokémon) to jump to some of the higher places.

Catch everything (duh) and claim rewards for doing so

Of course, you should try to catch every new Pokémon you see, but if you do, make sure you claim rewards such as Exp. Candy or specialized Poké Balls in the Pokédex to do this. You can do this by pressing X while on the Pokédex Book screen. You’ll gain access to more rewards as you catch more unique Pokémon.

A menu screen with rewards for catching Pokémon.  The player got things like Poké Balls, EXP Candy, and Stardust.

Image: Game Freak, The Pokémon Company/Nintendo via Polygon

Take lessons at school for easy rewards

It’s easy to run straight to Paldea, but if you revisit your school and take some lessons (by talking to the receptionist at the front desk), you’ll be rewarded. You will receive EXP candy of various sizes for completing midterms and finals in each subject.

Check the levels of the wild Pokémon when you enter a new area

Before diving into trainer and gym battles, test the waters around you a bit. The gyms and areas appear out of order, so you may end up in a level 50 area while still being level 20! We recommend battling a wild Pokémon to see what its level range is, as you can simply run away from the battle if you level up.

Battle every trainer you encounter

If you’ve done the tip above and everything seems safe, absolutely talk to and fight every trainer you come across. Trainers looking to join the fray have speech bubbles over their heads and their Poké Balls occasionally sparkle with a sparkle.

Defeating Trainers is important to keep your Pokémon at the right level, but there are also characters in suits near Pokémon Centers that will reward you for battling all Trainers in the area. They tell you how many trainers to beat when you talk to them.

A Pokémon trainer runs to another trainer in a grassy field

Image: Game Freak, The Pokémon Company/Nintendo via Polygon

Keep your Pokémon out of Let’s Go mode

New in this game is that you can throw your Pokémon out of their ball with the R button and they will automatically fight against nearby Pokémon. If your Pokémon has a type advantage, they’ll make quick work of anything they automatically battle. If they don’t, they will take damage. They will even retreat to you in fear if the battle goes south.

These battles provide free EXP and crafting items! Pokémon that walk around with you will even pick up items on the floor, making exploring much easier.

Some Pokémon, such as Pawmo (the evolution of Pawmi), must be walked a certain number of steps to evolve.

Many tools are accessed through menus rather than through NPCs

NPCs like the Name Reviewer and the Displacement Teacher are a thing of the past. Just like inside Pokémon Legends: Arceusyou can rename your Pokémon and teach them ancient moves, all from their overview screens.

The latter is crucial, as leveling up via auto-battle skips the move learning process, so you’ll need to manually open the Pokémon’s summary page to teach them the move.

Climb those towers when you see them for more quick travel points

If you see a large stone tower with a ladder, climb it. These watchtowers serve as fast travel points that you can fly back to.

Also Chest Form Gimmighoul – a ghost-type Pokémon – usually waits at the top of these towers. You can catch or defeat these for 50 Gimmighoul Coins, which you’ll want a lot of (to evolve Gimmighoul).

A Pokémon trainer stands in front of a huge watchtower

Image: Game Freak, The Pokémon Company/Nintendo via Polygon

You can enter buildings with doormats, but you cannot enter buildings without them

All buildings with doormats in front of the door are shops. If the building does not have a doormat, it is not a real building and is just decoration. (Don’t waste your time trying to get into every store like we did.)

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