Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Should you buy Pokemon Sword or Pokemon Shield?

The latest duo of instalments in Game Freak’s beloved RPG series are finally here. So, it’s time to make a decision we’re forced to ponder each time a new game comes around – which one is right for you? It’s the first major Pokemon title on Nintendo Switch, so it’s not a choice to be taken lightly. 

While the differences might ultimately seem negligible, there’s a selection of unique items, Pokemon and mechanics that might sway players on their purchasing decisions. To make things easier, Trusted Reviews has rounded up all the big differences you need to know between Pokemon Sword and Shield

Related: Upcoming Nintendo Switch Games 

Pokemon Sword and Shield

One of the major differences across each version is the Gym Leaders you’ll face off against when exploring the world of Galar. We’re currently playing through the game ahead of delivering our final verdict so we can’t speak to exactly how many gym leaders are exclusive.

Right now, we know of two. Bea, a fighting type gym leader, will only be available in Pokemon Sword, while Shield will feature a ghost type trainer by the name of Allister. They both look wonderfully unique and should offer a fun challenge, but fans hoping to experience everything on offer will need to invest in both games. 

As is always the case with mainline Pokemon games, a variety of unique Pokemon can be found across both versions. In order to catch ‘em all you’ll either need to own both games and trade between them or find a fellow trainer willing to do business. 

Related: Luigi’s Mansion 3 Review

Chances are your preference on the new Pokemon will have a big impact on your decision. We’ve gone and compiled all of them below: 

Sword Pokemon

  • Deino
  • Zweilous
  • Hydreigon
  • Jangmo-o
  • Hakamo-o
  • Kommo-o
  • Farfetch’d
  • Sirfetch’d

Shield Pokemon

  • Larvitar
  • Pupitar
  • Tyranitar
  • Goomy
  • Sliggoo
  • Goodra
  • Galarian Ponyta

Related: Animal Crossing Switch

Pokemon Sword and Shield

It wouldn’t be a duo of Pokemon games without varying legendaries between each release, acting as the ultimate deciding factor for number of players both new and old. Sword offers Zacian, while Shield has a similar canine creature in the form of Zamazenta. 

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have 9 million users a month around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.