The Switch has no shortage of great titles to engross yourself in when cooped up reception, but Pokemon Sword and Shield are among the simplest. What makes Pokemon games–and Sword and Shield in particular–such compelling timesinks is that the depth hidden beneath their surface. Albeit you’ve already conquered the Pokemon League and cleared the most storyline, there is still a spread of various activities to try to to. You’ll combat an endless procession of AI opponents within the Battle Tower, scour the Wild Area for any elusive Pokemon you’ll have missed, search for incredibly rare Shiny monsters, or maybe attempt to discover every recipe within the Curry Dex.
The real draw of the games, however, is trying to assemble a competitive team. While you’ll quickly run through every opponent you encounter during the most adventure with unspecified Pokemon you’ve caught; you will need to place far more time and thought into your party if you hope to fare well in online battles. This entails breeding Pokemon with the proper natures and base stats, EV training them to enhance their stats, and devising the proper move sets and methods for your team. It’s time-consuming but incredibly rewarding, and Sword and Shield have made some smart tweaks to streamline this whole process, making competitive battling more accessible than ever before. (We even have an excellent series of videos to assist you to get into competitive Pokemon battling if this all sounds daunting.)
Even if the competitive aspect of the series doesn’t appeal to you, Sword and Shield are great games to play with friends because of the new Max Raids–cooperative battles during which you team with three other trainers to require on Dynamaxed Pokemon. The monsters you encounter within these battles often have a couple of perfect base stats and their Hidden Ability (which can’t instead be obtained in the games), and you get plenty of enticing rewards for winning like Exp. Candy and TRs, so it is often fun to require part in Max Raids.
Moreover, these raids are the sole thanks to encounter Gigantamax Pokemon, which are rare and just plain cool. I’ve spent dozens of hours jumping into Max Raids with my friends, and that I don’t anticipate that changing any time soon goodbye as Game Freak continues to offer new Max Raid events regularly. The Pokemon series has long lacked an honest, cooperative mode to enrich its competitive hooks. Still, Sword and Shield have finally remedied that, making them an excellent thanks to occupying any idle downtime.