Pokemon Sword and Shield are Game Freak’s newest entries in the long-running Pokemon franchise, and they’re the first games in the mainline series to come to a home console. The Nintendo Switch’s ability to seamlessly turn into a portable console and the Joy-Cons’ ability to transition into two separate controllers makes it a system uniquely suited for multiplayer, but is Pokemon Sword and Shield two-player? In this guide, we’ll go over every way the hit new games utilize the Switch’s co-op potential.
Do Pokemon Sword and Shield have two-player co-op?
Pokemon Sword and Shield have several new and returning multiplayer features. Most of these take place in the Wild Area, a semi-open-world zone in the middle of the games’ map where players can do a number of things together. The main attraction is Max Raid Battles, cooperative fights with powerful wild Pokemon. It’s possible to do Max Raid Battles with friends, calling in people you know to help you out. The Wild Area also provides a place to visit other players’ camps and conduct Link Trades and Surprise Trades with other players.
All of these multiplayer features can only be conducted over the internet, however. That means that, in order to play Pokemon Sword and Shield with two people, you’ll need two Nintendo Switch consoles and two copies of Sword or Shield (or one of each). If you want to connect with players in a different location than yourself, you’ll also need Nintendo Switch Online memberships, but two Switch consoles can connect locally to play Sword and Shield for free if they’re using the same Wi-Fi connection network.
If you’re looking for a two-player Pokemon game that only requires one console — especially for younger children — you may want to check out Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! Released last year for the Nintendo Switch, the Let’s Go games allow two players to journey through the Kanto region together locally, each using one Joy-Con to control one character on-screen.