Pokemon Violet and Scarlet guide: 13 tips to help you succeed

Pokemon Violet and Pokemon Scarlet send you on a wild journey through Paldea. Here's how to make the most of it.
pokemon scarlet and pokemon violet tips guide tricks

Pokemon Violet and Pokemon Scarlet are both massive open-world adventures filled with plenty of quests to complete, hundreds of Pokemon to catch, and a dense plot of mystery and intrigue. Unlike other mainline Pokemon titles, the action isn’t as linear as you might think – you can tackle your journey in any way you like. That said, the new games allow a sense of freedom that can complicate your adventure.

Should you tackle the water gym first? The grass gym? Should you go after the terrifying Titans at lower levels? Pokemon Violet and Pokemon Scarlet let you choose your destiny – and as a result, it can be difficult to know where to start your path, and the best ways to succeed.

If you’re looking to kick off your trip in Paledea with a sure foot, read on. In this tips and tricks guide, we’ll provide a range of advice that should keep you romping through the latest Pokemon adventure. And if you’re curious about how long Pokemon Scarlet and Violet take to beat, we’ve got you covered too.

Here’s what you need to know.

Read: Pokemon Scarlet and Violet review – A shiny, Terastallized gem

1. There is a loose order to Pokemon gyms

pokemon scarlet pokemon violet tips guide
Screenshot: GamesHub

Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet encourage a real sense of freedom in your exploration of Paldea – but it’s important to note that areas are segmented by levels. If you wander into a region you’re not really supposed to be in yet, you’ll often encounter Pokemon that are far too difficult to defeat.

Likewise, some gyms are filled with impossible battles, until you’re at a higher level. To kick off your adventure, you should note clues from your rival Nemona, and stick to the regions around your Academy. Then, once you have a few gym badges under your belt – head further afield.

2. Watch out for evolved Pokemon on your route

You’ll know you’re heading in the wrong direction when Pokemon in your field of view are of higher rank. For example, in the early areas of exploration, you’ll find Pokemon in their first stage of evolution – they tend to be smaller, cuter, and less harmful.

If you’re wandering in an area where second or third-evolution Pokemon are roaming, be wary. This is when the road gets tougher. You may need to level up in another area before you tackle these paths.

3. Cortondo has a great starter gym

Screenshot: GamesHub

Your rival Nemona will point you in the direction of Cortondo first. Here, you’ll encounter the very first gym of the game, which is a Bug-Type challenge. After this prompting, the game will largely leave you to your own devices – but if you do need a helping hand about where to go next, read on.

Our path in Pokemon Violet took us from Cortondo to Artazon (Grass), then to Levincia (Electric). In between these gyms, we also tackled the Open Sky and Stony Cliff Titans, and defeated two Team Star brigades: Dark and Fire.

These quests are amongst the lowest ranked in the game, and are easily tackled. From there, it’s up to you to explore Paldea at your own whims.

5. Have a Bug Pokemon on your team

Bug Pokemon are the most useful addition to your combat squad in Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet, as they seem to have fewer weaknesses in the game’s many match-ups. It’s a good idea to pick one, and take it along on your journey. We chose Lokix because it looked cool, but you can grab any Bug-Type, really.

They have rarer weaknesses than the ‘big three’ types (Water, Fire, Grass) and are very useful in a pinch. Importantly, they’ll also buy you some time to revive your other Pokemon if they fall in battle.

6. As always, a balanced party is best

pokemon violet hltb how long to beat
Screenshot: GamesHub

If this is your first Pokemon game, let us pass you this sage advice: always have a balanced Pokemon party. In your journey, you’ll face off with a range of gyms, each more powerful than the last. But even if you have the highest-powered Fire-Type team around, you’ll still have difficulty with the Water gym. Likewise, if you prefer Water-Type Pokemon, you’ll have issues with the Grass-Type gym.

While you can stack your Pokemon team with cuties and Pokemon you like, you should also consider gathering a varied group of different Pokemon, from an array of disciplines. A Fire-Type and a Water-Type are essential, but consider spicing up your capabilities with Electric-Type, Bug-Type, or Fighting-Type Pokemon, too. Every Pokemon has strengths and weaknesses, and you’ll need balance to succeed.

7. Don’t fear Full Restores or Max Potions

Strangely enough, the trainers in Paldea don’t seem to be too keen on using potions in battle. Throughout our time with the game, we didn’t have a single opponent’s Pokemon saved by a potion at the last minute – a major change from past games.

While you’re battling, you don’t need to fear the use of Full Restore or Max Potion items. Chop away at each Pokemon’s health with no fear.

8. Be at least 3-5 levels above the Pokemon in your area

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Screenshot: GamesHub

You’ll face a range of difficult Pokemon in your journey to conquer Paldea – so it’s best to come prepared. As mentioned, it’s good to watch for evolved Pokemon in the areas you explore – but as an added tip, you should also monitor their level. At all times, try to be 3-4 levels above the Pokemon nearby. This ensures you have an advantage in battle, and that you’ll still earn experience points along the way.

The same goes for tackling gyms – you’ll want to be a few levels advanced on your rival’s Pokemon to ensure you have victory in your sights. If you want a tougher challenge, you can go for more difficult battles from the get-go, but a balanced approach is best.

9. Let Pokemon off the leash to farm experience points

A brand new feature for Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet is the ability to let Pokemon out of their Poke Ball to tackle battles on their own. This ‘auto-battle’ feature lets your Pokemon take on enemies in the wild, gathering experience points on their own. It saves you a lot of time and energy, and can help them advance several levels with minimal input.

To best farm experience points with auto-battling, head to a high-powered area where your Pokemon is strong. For example, if you have a Fire-Type leader, it’s best to head to the Glaseado Mountain region, which is filled with Ice-Type Pokemon. Hit the R button to unleash your head Pokemon and reap the benefits, while sitting back and relaxing.

10. You can also farm experience from Tera Raid Battles

tera raid battles pokemon
Screenshot: GamesHub

As you travel throughout Paldea, you’ll encounter a range of Terastallized crystal dens. Inside, you’ll find a special Terastallized Pokemon, and take part in a major raid battle (similar to the Max Raid Battles of Sword/Shield). When you finally put away these Pokemon, you’ll earn a variety of rewards, including Exp. Candy. This can be fed to your Pokemon for a massive boost in levels.

It’s extremely useful for advancing your entire Pokemon party, particularly any level stragglers.

That said, if you find a Terastallized Pokemon in the wild – they glow with a sparkly light – head in the opposite direction. They tend to be 10-20 levels above other Pokemon in the local area, and typically present a major challenge. Early on during our playthrough, we ran into a Level 56 Terastallized Dragonair, with a team of Level 20-somethings that all fainted. Don’t be like us.

11. Turn off manual sort and nickname in Options

This is a minor tip, but one that’s very helpful. In Pokemon Violet and Pokemon Scarlet, you can turn off the dialogue boxes that consistently prompt you to nickname a Pokemon or put them in your party. Just head to the Options menu and uncheck these options. Your time in the game will be much more peaceful as a result.

12. You will need to prioritise defeating gyms

Speaking of catching the right Pokemon, there is one essential tip Pokemon Violet and Pokemon Scarlet miss in the narrative: You need to defeat gyms in order to catch and command Pokemon above a certain level.

Each gym will give you mastery of Pokemon at a certain level, with each badge adding five levels to that total. It makes catching Pokemon easier, and importantly, means you can actually command them. There’s no use journeying far and collecting a team of Level 50 Pokemon if you can’t actually get them to obey you. This level cap means you’ll need to prioritise defeating gyms along your journey.

13. It’s a good idea to conquer at least two Titans first

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Screenshot: GamesHub

More important than beating every gym in the game, however, is taking on at least the first two Titans as a priority – the Open Sky and Stony Cliff Titans. Depending on your Pokemon team, these should both be doable in the early stages of the game – between gyms two and three.

The Titans may seem like a lesser sidequest, but they unlock essential traversal abilities that will make your time in Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet much more enjoyable. The later Titans are less essential, but the first two should be a priority.

No matter which way you tackle the challenges ahead, there’s plenty of brilliance along the way.

Pokemon Violet and Pokemon Scarlet are now available, exclusively for Nintendo Switch.

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Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.