There are quite a few Pokemon Sword and Shield evolutions that require quite a bit of effort. Getting friendship up or leveling characters up is still an option for some. But, a few of the more notable newcomers or returning characters with Galarian forms and new evolutions require you to take special steps to help them improve. While this could be a bit involved, in each case it makes sense for that character.
Alcremie is one Pokemon where it makes sense, once you think things through. Milcery is essentially a drop of cream or milk. When it’s whipped up, you see it evolve into Alcremie. But, you need an extra ingredient from a Battle Cafe to add as a decorative accent and additional flavor. (If you visit Hammerlocke, you can find a free Strawberry Sweet.) If you have the one hold the sweet, then make your avatar spin by rotating the analog stick, you’ll evolve Milcery. Spending on what direction you spin in, how long you spin, and when you spin, the resulting Alcremie will be a different “flavor.”
Another “food” Pokemon with an evolution that is odd, but makes sense, is Sinistea. This is a ghost in a chipped or cracked teacup. If you visit Stow-on-Side, you can occasionally buy a Chipped Pot or Cracked Pot. (One free Cracked Pot is also available there.) Think of it as being like a hermit crab. If you want a better form, you have to go into your item bag and give it the correct teapot. Voila! You have a better version of your friend!
The final “edible” Pokemon that needs an extra item is the Applin. In both Pokemon Sword and Shield, you need specific apples to cause them to turn into certain characters. In each game, talking to a young man in Hammerlocke and allowing him to temporarily borrow your Applin will give you the appropriate apple item for that entry’s evolution. Pokemon Sword gives you a Flapple with a Tart Apple, while Pokemon Shield’s Sweet Apple gives you a Appletun. Getting the evolved Applin means giving it an apple. If you run out, you always have a chance from getting more as a Battle Cafe reward or at the base of a tree in the Wild Area’s Axew Eye/
The method to evolve Farfetch’d involves two things that are appropriate for a sword-wielding duck. Farfetch’d is known for its leek, which it carries both in its standard and Galarian form. If you catch it in Pokemon Sword, it might actually be holding a leek. This is an item that boosts its odds of a critical hit. Since a Sirfetch’d is an incredibly strong Farfetch’d who has survived many battles, it makes sense that it would need to land three critical hits during a battle to trigger the evolution after the battle ends.
Speaking of Pokemon with a lot of fight in them, people who want to evolve Clobbopus need to pay attention. Like Tsareena, which only evolves from a Steenee that knows Stomp, you can’t get a Grapploct without a certain move. It must know Taunt when you evolve it. Which, thanks to the free move tutor in every Pokemon Center, is a very easy feat.
Then, there’s Galarian Yamask. This is probably the toughest Pokemon evolution in Pokemon Sword and Shield. You need to have it take a tremendous amount of damage in a single battle. Equip a Focus Sash on it, then send it into a fight. Have it take the attack, then move it to a spot in your party where it won’t get hurt. After that, head to Hammerlocke and walk down into the Wild Area until you are in the Dusty Bowl region. You will see a stone sculpture you can walk under. Go under it with the damaged Yamask in your party, and it will evolve into Runerigus. This makes sense, because the Runerigus’ new stone parts are taking over the Yamask’s body and making it their own. Of course the Yamask would have to be incredibly weak.
These Pokemon evolution methods can seem a bit out there. And really, they are. But, they also make sense for the characters and get players thinking. Each one might even seem like a little puzzle to solve, with a feeling of satisfaction stemming from getting it “right.”
Pokemon Sword and Shield is available for the Nintendo Switch.