Why on Earth are basic sound options in Pokemon Sword & Shield tied to the Hi-Tech Earbuds — an in-game item you receive by talking to a random-ass NPC in the world? I have no clue! I’m not a game developer. Maybe there is a very smart and important reason for it that my smooth brain simply lacks the friction to grasp. Regardless, this is how things work in Pokemon Sword & Shield. And you might want some help landing those Hi-Tech Earbuds for your own dang self. Let’s take a look at where to find them!
First things first: you can’t actually find the requisite NPC right away. That means you can’t adjust your sound settings in-game at the very beginning of the game. Maybe just turn down your Switch manually, for a little bit, if the game is too loud for you or something. Then head out on your journey.
You won’t have to go far! The Hi-Tech Earbuds in Pokemon Sword & Shield are found in Motostoke City. That’s the first major town you enter after finishing the first “Wild Area.”
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The all-important NPC you need to speak with isn’t hard to find, either. They’re basically right in the center of town. Look for the giant elevator like construction at the far end of the city — the one with a big cog nestled in its center. Run up this central path, down the middle of the city, and keep to your right. You should quickly notice an older man with dark skin and a tan cap. He’s standing in front of what looks like a record store. For those of you too young to remember records — as well as too young to remember when records came back for a bit — they’re like… big, flat envelopes in boxes. The shop also has red text in Poke-Language that I’m not quite dorky enough to read.
Simply speak to this fellow to unlock the Hi-Tech Earbuds! That’s all there is to it. You won’t even need to activate the item in your inventory. It will simply go into your Key Items pouch, like many more important objects, and passively give you the ability to adjust your settings. From there, just go to the pause menu and scroll down. You should now see sound options where there were none before.
This allows you to independently adjust three different things: background music, pokemon cries, and sound effects. So if one thing in particular is really splitting your ears, you can turn it down without affecting everything else. This might be particularly useful for people who want to listen to their own music (or podcasts, or audiobooks) while playing, and/or those that don’t like the old fashioned Game Boy screams of Pokemon cries. Whatever floats your Lapras!
Now if only someone could please explain to me why this is all gated behind an NPC in the first place…