Pokémon Let's Go Guide: 9 Tips for Getting Started

Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee are two of the most inviting entries yet in the beloved monster-catching series, delivering a charming back-to-basics reimagining of the classic Game Boy games while folding in some modern elements of Pokémon Go. But as easy as Let's Go is to jump into, there are plenty of little tricks to know about if you want to catch rare Pokémon and battle like a true master trainer.

If you're looking to be the very best, here are 9 handy tips for starting your journey through the Kanto region on Nintendo Switch.

Throw like a pro

Pokémon Let's Go features a motion-control-based version of the catching system from Pokémon Go, so having proper form is key. Make sure your arm is nice and straight before you swing your Joy-Con or Poke Ball Plus, and try to give a firm (but not too aggressive) flick.

As in Pokémon Go, you'll want to hit the center of the circle just as it gets small for the best possible catch. The color of the ring around a Pokémon (red, orange, yellow, green) denotes how likely you are to catch it, and you can increase your chances by feeding Pokémon berries and using higher-strength Poké Balls.

Play in handheld mode for easier catching

Want to avoid those pesky motion controls altogether? Just undock your Switch and play in handheld mode. When playing undocked, you simply aim Poke Balls by moving your Switch around and throw by tapping the A button. It's much easier -- and won't make your arms sore during those marathon sessions. Handheld mode is also better for those times you want to stop and play with your Pikachu or Eevee, as you can simply pet them and feed them via the Switch's touchscreen.

Go off the beaten path

As is tradition with Pokemon games, there are plenty of items and Pokemon to discover if you stray from the path a bit. Take some time to explore when you're navigating the routes between cities, and be sure to enter houses and talk to the various non-player-characters scattered around the game world. You might be surprised at what extra goodies you'll get from them.

Catch often

This might sound like a no-brainer, but the more Pokémon you catch, the better -- even if you're going after duplicates. Performing "Catch Combos" (catching multiple of the same Pokémon in a row) will increase your chances of rare Pokémon spawning in the world and gives you extra XP, and certain NPCs will reward you with special Pokémon once you've reached a specific catch count. Also, catching Pokémon nets you experience points for every Pokémon in your party, making it a great way to quickly level up.

Swap your Pokémon at any time

Unlike previous core Pokémon games, Let’s Go allows you to swap any Pokémon you’ve collected into your party at any time — no more waiting to get to a Pokémon center. To do this, open your Bag from the main menu, select the Pokémon Box, and pick any Pokémon you want to bring on your adventures

Get some help from a friend

Want to play Let's Go with a friend? Simply shake your second Joy-Con or Poké Ball Plus at any point to bring them into your game as a second trainer. You and your partner can catch Pokémon together (you'll get a bonus if you synchronize your throws) and battle together, with each of you giving commands to a different Pokémon in your party. If your partner needs to drop out, simply shake the Joy-Con or Poké Ball Plus once more. Keep in mind that player two simply uses your Pokémon and items during co-op sessions, and doesn't keep any progress of their own.

Know your type advantages

As with any Pokémon game, type advantages matter. For example, grass-type Pokémon are extremely strong against rock-type Pokémon, while water Pokémon do a ton of damage to fire Pokémon.  Be sure to consult one of the many Type Charts available on the internet, and equip yourself accordingly based on the gym you're about to tackle. You'll want to have as many Pokémon types as possible in your party so you're prepared for any situation, and should aim to give your individual Pokémon a variety of different move types.

Add Squirtle, Charmander and Bulbasaur to your squad

While you start Let's Go with either Pikachu or Eevee, you can easily get your hands on the original three starter Pokémon from Red and Blue within the first few hours of the game.

Bulbasaur can be found in the wild in Viridian Forest, or obtained from a woman next door to the Pokemon Center in Cerulean City once you've caught 30 Pokémon. To get Charmander, you can talk to the man just past Nugget Bridge on Route 24 once you have 50 Pokémon, or seek it out on Route 3 or 4. For Squirtle, talk to Officer Jenny in Vermillion City once you've caught 60 Pokémon, or keep an eye out around Route 25.

Connect your Pokémon Go account

Pokémon Let's Go lets you connect your Pokémon Go account, which allows you to import any of your Kanto-region Pokémon from the mobile game into the Switch game.

To connect your accounts, open the Options menu in Let's Go, select Open Pokémon Go Settings, and confirm you want to connect your Go account. Then, on your phone, open up Pokémon Go and select Settings > Nintendo Switch > Connect to Nintendo Switch. You'll then see a prompt on your Switch to make the connection happen.

In order to actually transfer Pokémon from Go to Let's Go, you'll need to reach the Go Park complex in Fuschia City. Visit the man at the desk, select Bring Pokemon and select a park. Then, open your Pokémon menu in Pokémon Go, tap the Switch icon, and select any Pokémon you want to bring over. Note that this is a one-way transfer, so any Pokémon you bring from Go to Let's Go will stay in Let's Go permanently.

Credit: Nintendo

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.