Are you a bit of a Pokemon hoarder? Did you tell yourself, “One day, the 400 Pokemon I have saved in my 3DS will pay off?” Or did you catch a bunch of shinies in Let’s Go, and are looking to hoard it up? Looks like your day to shine is coming soon, because Pokemon Home is going to let you throw all your old Pokemon onto your phone. It’s basically a Pokemon Box app, but in real life.
The Pokemon Home service lets you store and trade Pokemon from across several games (with some small catches). Pokemon Home will have a free “basic” and paid “premium” versions; of course, the paid version will have more features and more room for Pokemon.
If you’re trying to get your Pokemon back and forth between games, definitely do so with caution. Each game has different compatibility with retrieving and/or storing Pokemon. With Pokemon Sword & Shield, of course, you can store and retrieve Pokemon.
However, if you’re trying to buff up your Let’s Go parties with Sword & Shield catches, you’re out of luck. You can only trade Pokemon between versions of Let’s Go, or stick them into Sword & Shield. But once a Pokemon goes into Sword & Shield, you can’t throw it back into Let’s Go. The same goes for Pokemon Bank, which was the 3DS equivalent of Home, and Pokemon Go down the line.
Given you’re alright with that, Home has some nifty features—much of which is, sadly, locked behind Premium. For one, the trading features are more expansive. Of course, there’s international and friend list trading. For the former, the GTS allows you to put specifications for the Pokemon you want to trade in and out. You’ll be matched with a player fitting it, even while you’re out of the app.
More interesting is the “Trade Room” feature. A premium player can create a “room” and invite any other players into it. However, make sure you trust everyone in the room! You won’t actually know which Pokemon you get until the trade is finished. If someone’s rolling with a level three Magikarp, well… you trusted them.
A much-appreciated feature from Pokemon Go will be available to Home premium users. The “Judge” feature lets you figure out how powerful your Pokemon can become. It looks like it won’t just give raw stats, but also personality analysis, so you know if you’re treating your Pokemon right, or if they’re just stubborn and not listening to you at Camp.
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Obviously, there’s a Pokedex to keep track of which Pokemon have landed in your Home Box. It’ll keep track of regional variants, as well as Mega Evolution or Gigantamax-compatible versions. There will definitely be some Mystery Gifts, whether from Sword & Shield or Home. Plus, there’s a profile feature with stickers and stats, Pokemon news, and, sometime after launch, the ability to track your Pokemon online battles.
Features are pretty light on the free basic version; you can move around and trade small numbers of Pokemon at a time. But if you’re interested in upgrading, the full-year price is a bit of a steal, as many Nintendo online services are. It’s $15.99 for 365 days of Pokemon Home. However, it spikes in lower denominations, with a $4.99 fee for 90 days and $2.99 for 30. If you’ve got the dough and are waiting for the Sword & Shield Expansion Pass, you might as well dish over the $15.99 to get some juicier trades going.