In Pokemon Sword and Shield, Happiness (Loyalty, Friendship, etc, in previous iterations) is a hidden Stat that plays a vital role in a Pokemon’s composition. A Pokemon’s Happiness level can have an effect on many of its moves and, most importantly, is actually a necessary Stat needed to help your Pokemon evolve. This guide will explain how to determine a Pokemon’s Happiness, and how to raise it to reach the level you desire.
How to Raise Happiness in Pokemon Sword and Shield
First of all, a line needs to be drawn between Happiness and Friendship. The latter, which was known as Affection in previous installments, can only be built upon while in the game’s Pokemon Camp; it has a different effect on the Pokemon itself than Happiness. Do not conflate the two!
Each Pokemon has a base level of happiness when it’s first captured (not the case if you capture a Pokemon using a Luxury Ball). The base level is dependent on the species of the Pokemon – each species has a different base level. Once captured, a Pokemon’s Happiness level can decrease or increase depending on whether you take certain actions.
Checking Pokemon Happiness Levels
Before getting to the actual ways in which Happiness levels can fluctuate, let’s quickly go over the way of checking the Pokemon’s Happiness Level. Sadly, there’s no numerical way of checking it; it’s not a stat that’s available on the menu or PokeDex.
The only way of determining whether a Pokemon is happy or not is by going up to a stranger and conversing with them. The NPC will often comment on the Pokemon’s state of health, specifically on how it’s faring. If the Pokemon is happy, the NPC will make a comment indicating so. If it’s unhappy, the NPC will deliver a cryptic message stating so.
Be sure to converse with NPCs every now and then to get a solid bearing on where your Pokemon’s Happiness level lies.
Now that you know how to check the Happiness level, let’s go over the various ways in which you can actively increase the Happiness level of your Pokemon:
- Use the Pokemon in Battle. Pokemon will feel trusted if they are chosen to partake in Battles, and the experience will be a great bonding exercise for both the player and the Pokemon.
- Use a Luxury Ball when catching a Pokemon. Luxury Balls have the effect of increasing the Pokemon’s Happiness level, so try using it for every Pokemon you attempt to capture.
- Give your Pokemon Vitamins. Maintaining the health of your Pokemon is a good way of increasing its Happiness. It will be appreciative of your efforts!
- Do not put them away for too long. You should keep them in your party for however long you can. Do not abandon them in your PC until you need them again, try to keep them as an active member in your party – this will most definitely raise their Happiness level.
- The item Soothe Bell has the effect of raising a Pokemon’s Happiness. Have your Pokemon hold it for a period of time.
Those are all the ways of increasing your Pokemon’s Happiness Level. However, there are ways of decreasing that level as well, and one cannot triumph over evil if one is unaware of what exactly that evil is. Therefore, we’ve listed all the ways in which you can decrease a Pokemon’s Happiness down below:
- Allowing a Pokemon to faint in Battle. The experience will be gut-wrenching for your Pokemon, and is liable to drastically lower its Happiness. Try to swap out Pokemon if it seems one of them is about to faint.
- Pokemon do not care for Bitter Items, so try to use as few of those as you possibly can.
- As mentioned earlier, do not store them in your PC for too long. A protracted stay in the PC will completely reduce their Happiness level.
- Trading the Pokemon has the effect of reverting its Happiness to the base level.
How Happiness Affects Attacks
As mentioned earlier, a Pokemon’s Happiness level can actually have a strong effect on certain attacks.
For example, the attack ‘Return’ is all the more powerful if the Pokemon is happier; whereas the attack ‘Frustration’ is more powerful is your Pokemon is unhappy. Try to teach your Pokemon the kind of attacks that benefit from their current level of Happiness.
Bonus Effects of Increasing Happiness
The Happiness Checker will inform you of the exact Happiness rating that your Pokemon currently has and this will reward you with certain bonus effects.
|Statement||Happiness Rating||Hearts in Camp||Bonus Effect|
|Maybe you’re a bit too strict? It doesn’t seem like you’re friends at all…||0||0||–|
|I guess you two just met? It’s still getting used to things.||1-49||0||–|
|Seems like it likes you an average amount! Don’t worry—you two will get closer as time passes!||50-89||0||–|
|Wow, I think you’re on your way to becoming real good friends!||100-149||1||–|
|Seems like you’re pretty good friends! Still, I bet you could become even closer!||150-199||2||–|
|You two get along great! Together is always better—am I right?||200-229||3||Pokémon bounces when sent into battle
Text boxes indicate what it’s doing in battle
Slim chance of preventing itself being prevented from being knocked out from a move
|You two are almost best friends! I can see you really care about each other!||230+||4||All Prior Bonuses
20% boost to experience gained from battle
Chance of recovering from status conditions by itself
|Oh wow, you’re best buddies! I can tell you’re so happy to be together!||255||5||All Prior Bonuses
Small chance of dodging enemy moves
+1 Critical Hit ratio
Pokemon That Evolve With Happiness
Furthermore, there are certain Pokemon that will not evolve until they have reached a certain level of Happiness. It doesn’t matter what level they are on, how much Experience they have, or what Special Item you have in your possession – if they aren’t happy, then they won’t evolve.
To illustrate this point, the following is a list of all the Pokemon from Sun and Moon that would not evolve until they reach a certain level of Happiness. This may or may not apply to Sword and Shield, however, we do not have that information yet; this list is to showcase the effect Happiness can have on a Pokemon in the long run.
- Golbat to Crobat
- Eevee to Umbreon (Night) or Espeon (Day)
- Cleffa to Clefairy
- Chansey to Blissey
- Togepi to Togetic
- Pichu to Pikachu
- Chingling to Chimecho
- Budew to Rosalia (Day)
- Woobat to Swoobat
- Riolu to Lucario
- Azurill to Marill
- Buneary to Lopunny
- Munchlax to Snorlax
- Swadloon to Levanny
Checking Friendship with Pokemon
You can check your Pokemon friendship levels by making your way down to Hammerlocke. Enter the building to the right of the Pokemon Center and speak to the little boy on the right. The Friendship Checker. He will tell you the current bond of friendship with your Pokemon. He will also give you a Soothe Bell.
Raising Affection with your Pokemon
You can raise your affection with Pokemon by playing with them through the Pokemon camp, and you can also eat Curry with your Pokemon which will drastically affect the closeness of you and your Pokemon.
How to check Affection
While you are in Pokemon camp, interact with your Pokemon, and you are treating your Pokemon right should hearts appear over them. The hearts can be from one to even five in number. Obviously, the more the better.
What is the advantage of having high Affection?
Having a good amount of affection with your Pokemon can give a significant amount of boosts for your Pokemon. The effects are different depending on how many hearts your Pokemon displays.
- 2 Hearts – Additional 20% XP along with flavor text during a fight.
- 3 Hearts – With high affection, the Pokemon can stand its ground at 1 HP. And more flavor text.
- 4 Hearts – Greater probability to evade attacks and will be able to cure certain status conditions.
- 5 Hearts – Greater chance to land Critical Hits
And that’s that. Everything you just read is all the pertinent information relating to Happiness in the latest installment of the Pokemon series: Sword and Shield.