Yes, Pokémon HOME‘s free Basic version offers plenty of utility for casual players and those just looking to complete their Pokedex, thanks to handy features like the Global Trade System. Upgrading to Premium unlocks more robust storage and connectivity, but isn‘t essential for many.
Evaluating Pokémon HOME‘s Free Basic Plan
As a fellow gaming enthusiast, I‘ve tested out Pokémon HOME‘s free version extensively to assess what it lets you do without paying. Here‘s an overview of the key capabilities included:
Limited but Useful Pokemon Storage
The free Basic plan provides a single Box for storing up to 30 of your Pokémon. That‘s far less than the 6,000 storage slots unlocked by Premium. However, 30 slots is still enough to hold extra Pokémon from a playthrough of Sword/Shield or valuable monsters you want to save while restarting your adventure. It may not be enough for completing the entire National Dex, but provides fundamental storage utility.
Trading Made Easy via the GTS
Trading is vital for finishing the Pokédex in any game, and Pokémon HOME‘s Global Trade System (GTS) makes the process much smoother. With GTS, you can easily request Pokémon you don‘t have and offer up those you do. While Basic limits you to 3 trades at once, I‘ve found that sufficient for normal play. The GTS alone makes the Basic free plan worth using.
Seamless Transfers with Sword and Shield
Pokémon HOME lets you freely transfer monsters between the app and your Sword/Shield game. This helps gather all your Pokémon in one place and lets you rebuild your team as needed. You don‘t need Premium for these basic transfers.
Other Handy Free Features
The free version also allows you to receive Mystery Gift Pokémon, earn Pokémon HOME points through trades, and view your collections. These are nice bonuses on top of the core features above.
What Does the Premium Plan Unlock?
Upgrading to the Premium Pokémon HOME plan for $2.99 a month opens up some significant additional capabilities:
Massively Expanded Pokemon Storage
Premium increases your accessible Boxes from 1 to 10, letting you store up to 6,000 Pokémon. For collectors aiming to "catch ‘em all", this huge boost in storage space is a game changer.
Flexible Global Trading Options
You can make unlimited trades on the GTS with the Premium plan, rather than being restricted to just 3 at once. This makes filling your Pokedex much faster.
Transferring from Past Games
Premium enables transferring forward your old Pokémon from 3DS games, Pokémon Bank, Pokémon GO, and more. This is great for long-time trainers.
Other Premium Perks
The paid version also unlocks judge functionality, room trades with friends, battle data, and a few other bonus tools.
Should You Upgrade to Premium?
Whether or not to upgrade from Basic to Premium depends on your needs as a Pokémon trainer:
For Casual Players
If you just enjoy casual playthroughs of each new Pokémon game, the free Basic plan likely provides everything you need. You can store some extra Pokémon, trade version exclusives on the GTS, and transfer your collections between Sword/Shield and HOME. Premium isn‘t mandatory.
For Pokedex Completionists
However, for trainers determined to catch ‘em all and fill out the National Pokedex across generations, the Premium plan‘s huge boost in storage and connectivity with old games is practically essential.
For Competitive Battlers
Hardcore competitive players may also find Premium worthwhile for the flexible trading options, judge function, and battle data. But competitive functionality is limited compared to tools like Pokemon Showdown.
Expert Tips for New Pokémon HOME Users
Based on my extensive experience as a Pokémon expert, here are some tips to get the most out of Pokémon HOME:
Start with the Basic Free Plan
Try out Pokémon HOME‘s core features for free first to see if you really need to upgrade to Premium right away. You can always pay later if you want more.
Use the GTS to Trade Version Exclusives
Quickly fill out your Pokedex by trading version exclusives on the GTS. Sword players can offer Solrock and receive Lunatone, for example.
Store Unique Pokémon
Use your Box to store special Pokémon like starter Eeveelutions, shinies, bred competitive monsters, or version mascots. Keep them safe while restarting games.
Transfer Legendaries to Refresh Playthroughs
You can transfer Legendary Pokémon like Zacian and Zamazenta into HOME, then bring them back into a new save file to breeze through the story again.
The Verdict: Pokémon HOME‘s Free Version Brings Solid Utility
While the Premium plan enables next-level Pokémon storage and connectivity, I‘ve found that Pokémon HOME‘s free Basic version still offers helpful core features. The GTS alone helps immensely with filling the Pokédex. Casual players likely don‘t need more. Only hardcore collectors require Premium‘s full capacity and options. Give the free version a shot first – I think you‘ll find it provides enough value for most. Let me know if you need any other Pokémon gaming tips!