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Pokémon X & Y Beginner's Guide

Pokémon X & Y is an excellent starting point for people who have never played a Pokémon game and players who haven’t touched the series in awhile. It’s also great for lifelong trainers, but they already know what they’re doing. This beginner's guide gives you a quick overview of the best early Pokémon practices, but there might be something here for those who know what they're doing, too.

Speed Things Up
Pokémon X & Y has done a tremendous job speeding up the pacing of the game, but text still drips out at a letter by letter pace. As soon as you’re able to, tap the icon on the bottom-right corner of the screen that looks like a pink hammer and wrench. This is the options menu, which you can also access it by hitting the X button if you want to avoid touching the lower screen. The very first adjustable option is the text speed option. Turn it up full blast. The text won’t move on without your input, so don’t worry about missing important details by turning up the speed. If you really want to speed things up, you can also turn off battle animations, but I wouldn't recommend that. One of the joys of X & Y is seeing 3D Pokémon duke it out.

Spend Your Money
Everyone in the Kalos region is polite and, more importantly, charitable. You won’t have a problem replenishing your bank account. Early in the game, one of the random people you speak with will tell you to always take more supplies with you than you think you will need. This is good advice. Feel free to keep about 5 to 10 of each purchasable item from the Pokémon Centers in your inventory, and make sure to replenish every chance you get. As long as you’re battling with everyone you meet (or everyone who runs you down), you shouldn’t have any money problems.

Learn False Swipe
Early in the game you will receive the False Swipe move. This is an invaluable attack, and is especially useful when you inevitably out-level every wild Pokémon you meet. Teach it to whoever is able to learn it. I taught False Swipe to my Pancham, and it made him an incredibly important part of my team. False Swipe allows you to hit a Pokémon and always leave them with 1 HP. This makes catching wild Pokémon infinitely easier. There were a few occasions where I lost a wild Pokémon because of fickle Poke-balls, but I never lost one by accidentally knocking it out thanks to False Swipe.

Put Your Weakest Up Front
This is a method as old as the Pokémon series itself. If you have a weaker Pokémon you are trying to evolve or level up, give them the lead spot in your lineup. They will enter the battle first, but you can pull them out immediately, send in your stronger guys, and they will still get to share in the experience. A new, awesome item in Pokémon X and Y allows your team to share experience amongst your team regardless of if they enter battle or not, but this method gives your low-level Pokémon much more experience than if they just wait in the wings.

Register Your Items
When looking through your items, there is an option to register certain ones. Registering allows you to hot-key items you use frequently to simple button presses. The new rollerskates speed up movement tremendously, but bikes are still the fastest mode of non-taxi or flying transportation. Register the bike, the dousing machine, and a fishing rod, and you’ll be in business. Pressing the Y button opens up the hot-keyed items quick-menu.

The D-Pad Offers Traditional Movement
Moving your character can be done with either the d-pad or the circle pad, which wasn’t immediately apparent to me. I was using the circle pad exclusively, which automatically moves you around with your skates once you acquire them. The skates are great, but they are also slippery, and I often found myself circling a character while tapping the A button to try and start a conversation. Moving to the d-pad removes the skates (with no menu interaction) and allows you to walk in the traditional grid-by-grid Pokémon fashion, which helps when you’re just trying to talk to someone.

Don’t Focus On Impassable Barriers
You will come across moveable boulders, choppable trees, and breakable rocks, but don’t get frustrated when you can’t get by them. Take a mental note of their location, and move on. Not only will you get the ability to move, chop, and break later, you will also get the ability to fly so you can easily revisit these locations.

Talk To Everyone
Non-player characters rarely have anything important to say, instead sharing how much they like Pokémon or how great life is. One little girl alone in a rainy swamp clearly in need of help simply said, “Do you like fairy tales or reality more?” and then she started battling me. Even if they aren't brilliant conversationalists, most people have something to give to you. Often you will get some kind of healing item or a teachable move for your Pokémon just by chatting.

If you've got any other helpful tips, call them out in the comments below. To read our review of Pokémon X & Y, head here.

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