Online is a big part of Pokémon Scarlet & Violet. You and up to three friends can join each other and explore Paldea together at the same time, in the same world! That means you can get up to some mischief together, take photos, or just help each other out and give each other tips while all playing at the same time.
PSA: You'll need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription to trade and play Pokémon online.
Want to play Pokémon with your Pokémon Trainer friends? Here's how to do just that.
Pokémon Scarlet & Violet: How To Set Up Multiplayer With Friends
When do you unlock multiplayer?
Online and multiplayer are unlocked relatively early on in Pokémon Scarlet & Violet. You'll get access to it once you reach your very first Pokémon Center.
This is likely to be the Los Platos (East) Pokémon Center, which you should get to naturally as you progress through the story. If you're not sure where it is, it's near one of your first objectives after leaving the Inlet Grotto and getting Koraidon and Miraidon. You'll find Nemona there.
How to set up Union circle
Union Circle allows you to pair up with other Pokémon players and play the game in the same world together, at the same time.
To access this, head into the menu and select the 'Poké Portal' option. Once you're here, you can either stay offline and play locally with friends in the room or connect to the internet by pressing the 'L' button.
On this screen, select 'Union Circle' where you'll have two different options — 'Form a group' and 'Join a group'.
You can also access this menu from the side of any Pokémon Center.
How to form a group
Forming a group means that you'll be the host of the multiplayer session, so the Pokémon available in the world will be tied to your game.
Select 'Form a group' and then say 'Yes' to prepare a room for you and your friends.
In the bottom left corner, you'll spot a Link Code — you'll need to share this with whoever you want to play the game with.
Once all of your friends have joined the menu on the right-hand side, select 'Set out together' to be transported to a Pokémon Center with your friends.
How to join a group
Joining a group is just as easy, but you'll need a Link Code to join.
When you select 'Join a group', you'll be taken to the Switch keyboard screen where you'll need to enter your friend's Link Code.
Do that and your game should connect to your friend's session, and you'll appear at a Pokémon Center in Paldea.
What can you do in Union Circle?
You and your friends can do multiple things together in a Union Circle — you can even just wander the world, mind each other's business, and share stories as you explore the same land together!
We've got a handy list of things you might want to consider doing while you and your friends are exploring Paldea together:
- Take photos - get your Rotom phone out and start posing with friends! Not sure how to take selfies? We've got a guide for that.
- Catch Pokémon - You can even interrupt the fun and run into the battle while a friend is trying to catch something. Better still, you can also catch version-exclusive Pokémon if you're visiting someone's world who has the opposite game to you.
- Play through the story - You could just play the game like normal if you really want! While your friends won't be able to watch you take on Gym Tests or Team Star battles, it's great that it's still available to do despite playing online.
- Battle each other - By accessing the Poké Portal menu, you can battle your friends who are currently in your world.
- Take part in Tera Raids - Interact with the Tera Raid Crystals in Paldea (as long as they have your name attached to them), and you can invite your friends to join you in a Raid. If you win, you'll all get rewards.
- Trade Pokémon - You can still trade Pokémon with your friends when visiting each other, and it's done exactly the same way as trading online with others.
- Evolve Finizen - Finizen has one of the most unusual evolution methods in the game, and you can only do it while in a Union Circle. Here's how to evolve Finizen into Palafin.
That's all there is to playing Gen 9 with your friends! Let us know if this guide was helpful below, and be sure to check out our Pokémon Scarlet & Violet walkthrough guides for more hints, tips, and tricks!