Pokémon X and Y’s cutest mechanic returns in Pokémon Sun and Moon with a few modifications. Affection still involves a petting mini-game that can boost your Pokémon’s responsiveness in battle as well as their XP gain, and it’s still just about the most adorable thing you’ll invest time in. Here’s how affection works in Pokémon Sun and Moon.
Pokémon Sun and Moon has added grooming to the game, where after certain Pokémon battles, you can brush dirt off your Alolan buddies, wipe dirt off with a towel, comb matted fur or even blowdry a sopping-wet Pokémon. You can even remove status effects by rubbing a medicine ball on the status effect in question.
While doing this is not required, grooming your Pokémon after battles increases affection. You’ll know that you have the opportunity to groom because after battle, a button will appear on the lower screen prompting you to hit “Y,” after which you’ll be taken to the grooming screen. You can proceed with normal affection and petting after the grooming sesh as well.
To access the petting minigame, hit “x” and select “Pokémon Refresh.” Of course, petting in “Pokémon Refresh” increases affection as well. You have to find just the right spot on your Pokémon by watching its face. Sometimes a Pokémon will like having its head patted, but love having its ears rubbed. Conversely, don’t poke it or pet it on tricky spots like Pichu’s electric cheeks or Torracat’s literal fire bell.
As a Pokémon gains affection by getting petted, it will emit little hearts. Once the little hearts turn into music notes, you have achieved all of the affection gain you will get from that session. You can get a few more bits of affection in by feeding them Poke Beans until they are full. You’ll have to track the affection, enjoyment and fullness gauges to know when further petting will be effective and when it won’t.
You start off with a ton of Poké Beans. Cafe owners in Alola are especially impressed if you keep feeding your Pokémon these beans and will give you them for free, along with rare candies, if you keep it up. You replenish your Poké Beans on Poké Pelago, which you gain access to on the second island after completing your second trial. One of the folks in the PokéCenter just before Lush Jungle will explain how to use it.
Basically, Poké Pelago can be accessed in your menu by hitting "x" and selecting "Poké Pelago." There, you'll have a giant beanstalk you can shake several times a day for Poké Beans, including special rainbow and patterned ones. By developing the Isles, you can shake more beans out of the beanstalk. You can even put beans into a crate to attract wild Pokémon, and Pokémon you've already bonded with will bring you additional beans while hanging out on the Isles as well.
Back to Pokémon Refresh: You’ll know that your Pokémon has ranked up in affection because they’ll wriggle on the screen, blowing hearts around, while sparkling. This goes on a bit longer than the usual affection wriggle.
Affection has five ranks to achieve, and the higher your Pokémon’s affection, the better the bonuses you get. Being in tune with your Pokémon means there’s a chance that they’ll listen when you shout to warn them of a move in battle, avoiding it, inflict a critical hit in hopes of winning your praise and fight off a killing blow with 1 HP left so you won’t be sad. How sweet is that? Best of all, raising your Pokémon’s affection will boost the amount of XP they receive from being in battle (though not the amount of XP they receive from XP Share - that remains dependent upon the Pokémon’s level).
You can also use items such as the Soothe Bell or the Tamato Berry to make your Pokémon more friendly, though it's so easy to raise your Pokémon's affection that it seems a better bet to use that important held item slot for something else.
Do your Pokémon adore you? Have you noticed anything else about affection in Pokémon Sun and Moon ? Feel free to let us know in our comments section below.