We sometimes deploy a 'survival guide' for the hottest new releases, but after sinking countless hours into Pokemon X & Y, we realised that there isn't really much point. Game Freak's latest phenomenon isn't a game to survive, rather it's a game to enjoy and savour over the course of your playthrough, approaching it on your own terms. Plus, it's not exactly the most challenging of gauntlets.
Never mind, though, because Pokemon X and Y are still bristling with secrets, fun features and ways to get the most out of your time - some of which you might have overlooked! With that in mind, it's time to share some of the niftiest tips and secrets I've picked up along the way.
If you've got anything to add, drop us a comment and we'll credit you!
Choose Your Gen 1 Starter's Nature!
This handy hint has been doing the rounds since launch, notably on Reddit. When taking on Professor Sycamore in his lab, be sure to use a full party and tell the professor that you can't take the starter Pokemon immediately. Save, then ask him for your new Pokemon. If you don't like your new pal's all-important nature, you can just soft reset (L+R+Start) the game, reload and try again until you get your Adamant Charmander. If you're an insanely competitive player with too much time on your hands, perhaps.
Grab The Amulet Coin For Easy Money (Or Do Some Chores)
It's all too easy to fork over crazy money on new clothes and accessories, leaving you with little left over to buy consumables and Pokeballs. However, if you take a detour via the mansion on Route 6, you can find an Amulet Coin sitting in the library. Equip it on a powerful Pokemon and you'll rake in the cash.
However, there's also another way to earn some scratch. Hotel Richissime in Lumiose City is looking for temp work, meaning that you can fulfil some fairly simple tasks once per day for a bit of extra spending money. Seriously, it all adds up in the early game.
Choose And Level Your Fossils Carefully
Let's face it: when given the choice between an epic armoured Tyrannosaurus and a frilly lizard, you're going to immediately start drooling over Tyrunt and its subsequent Tyrantrum evolution. It's an epic armoured Tyrannosaurus after all. The choice is obvious... right?
Not quite. See, Tyrunt is a Rock/Dragon type, and Dragons are actually fairly commonplace in X & Y - not to mention uniquely vulnerable thanks to the new Fairy Pokemon. Amaura, conversely, is a Rock/Ice type, and presents a unique opportunity to secure powerful ice moves in the early game.
Whatever you choose, remember that time of day is critical when evolving either fossil. Tyrunt can only evolve when you level up during the day, whereas Amaura can only evolve at night. 39 is the magic number in both cases.
Catch A Bevy Of Eevees!
Eevee is a uniquely versatile Pokemon, as any Pokemaniac knows, since you can use practically any evolution stone to fill gaps in your roster. It's often difficult to decide exactly which Eevee variant to pick, but now we can get around this tough decision by catching a whole load of them.
Be sure to dally on Route 10 between Cyllage City and Geosenge Town, since they'll appear fairly regularly [tested at night: Jon]. You can buy stones from a shop in Lumiose City.
Take Advantage Of Daily Deals!
Pokemon X and Y has more repeatable daily events, deals and giveaways than practically any previous title to date. Here's just a selection that I've encountered thus far:
- Berry giveaway: In Camphrier City, visit the house to the North-West of the major fountain and talk to the man inside. If you show him a Pokemon of a specific type, he'll give you a bunch of useful berries.
- Dive Ball Trade: A shady chap hanging out near the fossil lab in Ambrette Town will swap a Pokeball for a Dive Ball once per day. This is a very good deal.
- Free TMs: The slightly oddly-named 'Hex Maniac' chills next to the market in Anister City's Pokemon Center. She'll give you a totally free TM depending on the time of day you visit.
- More Free TMs: This is only available for a certain number of days per week, I think, but it's worth stopping by the Western coastline of Courmarine City whenever you're in town. You'll sometimes find a girl on the clifftops who'll ask you a quiz question, and reward you with a variety of TMs. I got Trick Room this way, which makes my slow Snorlax the deadliest, swiftest fighter in the game!
- Rival battle: Once you've defeated the Elite Four, you can continue to fight against your rival on a daily basis in Kilourde City.
This is just scratching the surface. Let us know what you've managed to find!
Start Out Right
Your choice of starter is a big decision, and frankly, it's rarely been bigger. In fact, it's now doubly huge, since you get to choose twice. It's two picks of three: Fenniken, Chespin or Froakie, followed by Bulbasaur, Squirtle or Charmander. The decision largely depends on your choice of Generation 1 starter, since there's no point getting two Pokemon of the same type, so be selective and choose two starters with contrasting abilities, or who can defeat your rival's more powerful countermeasure with type advantage.
When it comes to the new starters, remember that they develop a dual type in their final evolution, and it's a game-changer. With Psychic > Fighting > Dark matchups working alongside the traditional interplay of Fire, Water and Grass, there's much more to think about when speccing your squad, while your versatile first friend can now assume multiple roles to free up roster space for other more niche Pokemon.
If you want an easier time in the early game, I'd suggest going for water and fire (either generation works well). Quality grass Pokemon are much easier to find than decent fire and even water types in the opening ten hours or so.
Game Freak have been a bit canny this time around by anticipating the types of Pokemon you'll bring to each gym... and making sure that Leaders have unexpected countermeasures against the most obvious threats. As an example, the first bug-type gym should be an easy clean sweep for a Fenniken, but a couple of nasty water attacks can douse an overly optimistic low-levelled player in short order. The Rock gym might seem like an easy target for grass-types, until a dual Rock/Ice and Rock/Dragon type show up to the party and destroys them.
I don't want to discuss later gyms in detail, having spoiled more than enough already, but be aware that you'll want to use a balanced and versatile team throughout the game to account for your best-laid plans going awry.
Enjoy the PSS!
Pokemon X & Y's most unique and important new feature is easily the PSS. You're now free to interact with friends and passers-by with a simple tap of the touchscreen, putting the world at your fingertips.
So, basically, use it. Hang out with trainers you find. Challenge them to battles or trades. Share buffs with the O-Powers, and repay any favours you get. Pokemon is a blast when played together, and the PSS is the perfect middle ground between solo and full-on cooperative adventures.
Personally I'd recommend accepting challenges whenever you get them. Though you'll often run afoul of a much more experienced player that ends up wiping your team regardless of the level adjustment, you'll usually get inspiration for new strategies, move sets and tactics that you never even knew were possible. Also, getting trade-dependent Pokemon to evolve (e.g. Gengar) has rarely been easier. Just phone a friend! Speaking of...
Make Friends, Get New Pokemon
Making new friends is its own reward, but if that's not enough for you -- you cynical mercenary! -- be aware that the new Safari Zone has a neat new kink. Friend Safari, accessible from Kiloude City, generates a new selection of Pokemon for each friend you have registered, granting you access to entirely different critters depending on their specific friend code.
You know what that means. If you gotta catch 'em all, you've gotta get by with a little help from your friends!
Also, This Creepy Thing
This is just the tip of the iceberg, since Pokemon X & Y are no less deep and nuanced than their predecessors. Do you have any sage advice or neat little finds to share? Let us know in the comments - we'll add them and credit you!