The next-generation Pokémon storage service, Pokémon Home, lets fans transfer and store their favorite pocket monsters across titles on the Nintendo Switch, 3DS, and mobile apps. But there's a way for gamers to get a totally free Pikachu and a Bulbasaur, Squirtle, or Charmander using the new service.
Home is completely free to download, and even if you don’t care for its convoluted utility, Nintendo has thrown in two coveted Pokémon as free gifts just for setting up accounts on the different versions of the Pokémon Home app.
Pokémon Home is available for download on the Nintendo Switch eShop, but also on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. Installing the mobile version will give users one of the three Kanto starters (Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle) and the console version will automatically deposit a Pikachu in your storage box. This deal is especially great for anyone who owns Pokémon Sword and Shield but not Pokémon, Let's Go! Pikachu. Anyone who owns both can already claim a Pikachu in Sword and Shield, but aside from finding one in the wild, this is the easiest means of owning one.
The Switch title is the only game that Home will let you transfer Pokémon into. That means if you catch Caterpie in Pokémon GO, you can store it in Home and then transfer it into Sword and Shield. You’ll be able to do the same thing with the free Pikachu and Kanto Starter of your choosing.
Here’s a detailed description of how to claim both Pokémon Home freebies:
How to get a free Pikachu with Pokémon Home
You’ll need to start by downloading the app on the Nintendo Switch eShop. Then click through the setup initial setup phase. You can choose to link your Nintendo account to Pokémon Home or start with a guest account. (It's better to link a Nintendo account in the long-term.) Then pick a username, and your free Pikachu is only a few more clicks away.
Once you’ve named yourself, you’ll be introduced to a groovy version of Professor Oak with funky glasses and luscious long hair, referred to as Grand Oak. He’ll deposit a Pikachu in your Home storage box before saying goodbye.
How to get a free Kanto starter with Pokémon Home
The process to claim one of the Kanto starters from the mobile version of Pokémon Home is almost identical to getting Pikachu on the Switch, but you’ll need to visit either the iOS App Store or Android’s Google Play Store to download the app first.
Once you’ve got it installed the app, it will ask if you want to connect the mobile app to your Nintendo account. If you’ve already done that with the Switch version, take the time to do it on your smartphone as well so all of your Pokémon will be interconnected. We highly recommend it in both instances.
Once that’s over, Grand Oak will appear to welcome you once again and ask you one of the oldest questions in Pokémon history: Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle? Select one and it will be deposited in your app.
It's worth noting that you get a free Charmander at the end of Pokémon Sword and Shield, so you might as well go with Squirtle or Bulbasaur here.
Transfer your freebies into Pokémon Sword and Shield
All that’s left to do is to send your free Pokémon into Sword and Shield so you can begin training them. Once you’ve linked your Switch Home app to your Nintendo account, the app will ask if you have Pokémon Home on your mobile device. Select “Yes” and follow these steps to begin consolidating your freebies into your main collection:
- Select if you want the Switch app to automatically transfer all of the Pokémon in your boxes or if you want to manually select the ones you want to store.
- Once your initial transfer is complete, the app will prompt you to open your Pokédex or the Pokémon you just deposited. Select “Pokémon.”
- Pick the game you want to connect to, which is in this case Sword or Shield.
- This will bring up a screen that displays the Pokémon stored in your Home account on the left and the Pokémon you have in Sword and Shield on the right. Manually select your new Pikachu and Kanto starter from the left and drag them over to the right.
- Once you've made your selections, hit “Save Changes and Exit.” Your new Pokémon should then be in a storage box on your copy of Sword and Shield.
Pokémon Home is now available via the Nintendo Switch eShop, iOS, and Android.