Pokemon Sword and Shield may have been surrounded in controversy, but that doesn't stop the latest installments in the Pokemon franchise from creating a unique experience for both new and returning fans of the series. Every Pokemon game features hidden secrets and features that Game Freak does not tell players about, and these two games are no different. From new evolution methods to hidden mechanics, here are some of the most well-kept secrets in the games.
Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield players may have noticed glowing Pokemon wandering in the grass when exploring the Galar region. These Pokemon are called Brilliant Aura Pokemon, and are special in a few unique ways. For starters, these Pokemon will have a guaranteed 2 maximum IVs, making them great additions to a team. In addition to this, they may also feature a special Egg Move that is usually only available through breeding. If players battle a specific Pokemon species over and over again, the chance of finding a Brilliant Aura version continues to go up. Once players have battled 100 of the same type of Pokemon, the chance for a Brilliant Aura Pokemon is doubled - and the chance never goes down!
New Type of Shiny Pokemon
Catching or breeding Shiny Pokemon has always been a hobby for players once they have completed their main journey. In Sword and Shield, Shiny Pokemon make a return, and many of the methods to obtain Shiny Pokemon remain the same. However, there is a new type of Shiny Pokemon for players to chase after - Square Shinies. These Shiny Pokemon have the same coloration as standard Shinies, but they feature a square effect when summoned instead of the standard star effect. When a player encounters a Shiny Pokemon, there is a 1/16 chance of it being a Square Shiny - meaning that a random encounter has a 1/65,536 chance of being a Square Shiny with no modifiers.
Players can still use a variety of methods to catch Shiny Pokemon in Sword and Shield, but there is not a clear way to increase the chance of Square Shiny Pokemon. Some players have reported that chaining wild encounters seems to have an increased chance of Square Shinies, but even then the chance is still extremely rare. The effect is somewhat noticeable, especially if players are looking for it, but some players are just happy to find standard Shiny Pokemon.
The Post-Game Episode and the Legendary Hero
While Pokemon Sword and Shield may not have an extensive endgame, they do feature a post-game episode that is focused on two peculiar figures who claim to be the new kings of the Galar region. If players wrapped up the main story wondering where Zacian or Zamazenta are, then this is the answer. Without spoiling much, players will want to revisit the Slumbering Weald after completing the main story to kick this story off - it can take a couple hours if players aren't levelled up properly but it shouldn't take too long. Once players reach a certain point in the story, they will be given the chance to capture Zacian or Zamazenta.
New Evolution Mechanics and Items
One of the best new features in Sword and Shield is the introduction of new evolution methods. While the evolutionary stones are still present, and the majority of Pokemon still level up to evolve, there are a handful of new Pokemon that either need a unique item or have to reach a specific requirement to evolve. Some Pokemon, like Applin or Sinistea, can be given new consumable items to evolve. Evolving Snom into Frosmoth can be a bit tricky, but perhaps not as tricky as getting Farfetch'd to evolve into Sirfetch'd. To get this feisty bird to evolve, players must successfully land three critical hits in a single battle with Farfetch'd to trigger the evolution - perhaps the most unique evolution method yet! Hopefully Game Freak will continue to make creative evolution methods like this going forward.
One neat quality of life feature that Game Freak implemented in Sword and Shield is that items found on the ground (not in Pokeballs) will periodically respawn, meaning that players can keep acquiring certain types of items for as long as they play. The Wild Area features many of these shiny item spots, and while some of them are simply cooking ingredients, there are certain spots that will continually spawn evolutionary stones. Previous titles featured a limited number of these stones, but now players can constantly get them just by wandering around the Galar region.
Polteageist's Secret Form
One of the most easily-missed secrets in Sword and Shield has to be the secret alternate form for the Pokemon Polteageist. Players get this Pokemon by giving Sinistea the proper tea pot to evolve - either the Cracked Pot or the Chipped Pot. Counterfeit Sinisteas will evolve by using the Cracked Pot while authentic Sinisteas will evolve with the Chipped Pot. Players can check if their Sinistea is counterfeit by searching for the blue stamp of authenticity that is found on the bottom of Sinistea's tea cup. Outside of cosmetics (and bragging rights) there is no gameplay difference between the two versions.
The Many Forms of Alcremie
There are 63 evolutionary forms of the Pokemon Alcremie. While players only need one form to count for the Pokedex, completionists may be pulling their hair out trying to get every form of this sweet Pokemon. While all of the different Alcremie evolve from Milcery, the form is determined by a couple of factors: what sweet treat Micery is holding, what direction players are spinning, how long the player spins, and what time of day it is. Each form of Alcremie features different decorations based on the sweet treat, and different coloration. While there are no gameplay changes, it is certainly the most unique and diverse Pokemon in the entire Galar region - and one of Game Freak's most well-hidden mechanics.
Sword and Shield feature some pretty well-hidden mechanics that the game does not key the player in on, which makes for some great discoveries if players stumble upon them accidentally. From Alremie's dozens of forms to the secret post-game episode, Sword and Shield has a lot more hidden than many players were expecting. Hopefully this great gameplay change will continue in future titles, as it gives players so much to do when the main story is over.
Pokemon Sword and Shield are available now exclusively for Nintendo Switch.