Although Pokémon is a series about friendship, playing with your friends has been somewhat difficult in previous games. Enjoying the monster-collecting fun with your real-life companions has required all sorts of fiddly extra steps, like entering a lengthy friend code or meeting at a specific location to connect. That’s all in the past now. Connecting with a friend has never been more straightforward than in Pokémon Sword and Shield.
The traditional friend system is no more. Pokémon Sword and Shield left it behind in favor of simply using the Nintendo Switch’s native friend list. Friends will automatically appear in the game’s new in-menu multiplayer hub, Y-Comm, accessed by pressing the Y button. While there, you can do just about anything like trade Pokémon, swap League Cards, battle friends, etc. Most importantly, there’s a feed on the right providing information for what other people online are up to and giving the option to join them in things.
By default, the Y-Comm menu doesn’t distinguish between people who are your friends and those who are not. To change this, press the magnifying glass button that says “Search Stamps” at the bottom. Then click the second option “Friends Only.” Now your feed will only be filled with the activities of your real pals, instead of a bunch of bothersome nobodies.
Alternatively, you may also join your friends by using link codes, four-digit pin numbers that will connect up to four people doing the same activity. Just make sure all people involved enter the same link code.
In the Y-Comm menu, you’ll be asked if you want to set a link code immediately after selecting an option. To enter one, just highlight the link code option and select. When initiating Link Battles and Max Raid Battles, you must press the plus button on your Nintendo Switch to enter a link code. After entering the code, hit “search for players” and you’ll be connected automatically to the other people using said code.
Now go on, start playing with all your pals in the Pokémon world. Maybe you should try taking on a Max Raid Battle together — that’s certainly a bonding activity!
Pokémon Sword and Shield is available now for Nintendo Switch.