One of the largest additions to Pokemon X & Y comes with the inclusion of Pokémon-Amie--a feature which, at face value, looks like a throw-away mechanic where you can pet your 3D Pokemon. But this element of the game is far from superfluous. We we described in our Pokemon X and Y review, Pokémon-Amie has some major implications on your Pokemon, and learning how to correctly bond and raise Affection with them can totally change the way you play. So check out the Pokemon X and Y Pokedex, pick a monster to pet, and get to it. Here's what you need to know.
Benefits: Pokemon that are bonded fully will, simply put, perform better in battle. They'll shrug off status effects (saying something to the effect of "Charizard knows how disappointed you'd be in him if he fell asleep!"), land more critical strikes, and dodge attacks more frequently. They also receive bonus experience from time to time, and there are certain Pokemon that can only evolve if you raise their affection.
We don't know the exact percentages of how much better they are, but it's not important. What is important is know that, if you want to be the very best, you're going to have to to bond with your Pokemon.
Choosing a Pokemon to Bond with: Your first stop is to put the Pokemon you want to increase your bond with on the bottom screen, which can be done by tapping on the Pokemon and hitting "Switch" to change to the one you need.
Reading Stats: The Switch screen provides three statistics that each can be raised five times: Affection, Fullness, and Enjoyment. Affection is the one you're looking to raise, as it's the "Bonding" stat. You'll be able to use this to track your progress, and to see which Pokemon are in a good position for Amie. If their Fullness or Enjoyment are maxed out, it's best to simply wait a while until both are low, since you're not going to be able to make much progress.
Raising Pokemon Affection: On the Switch screen you can tap on the Pokemon again and hit "Play." This will bring you to the main screen of Pokemon Amie screen, which features a 3D model of the Pokemon dancing around. Here, you can pet the Pokemon to raise their Affection--which will be displayed as tiny hearts floating above them. Different Pokemon prefer to be pet differently, so experiment and make sure you're not making them angry when you pet them. Eventually, when their Affection levels up, they'll sparkle and call out their name a few times in a row. There are also mechanics that allow you to turn your head or talk to your Pokemon to raise their Affection, but it's hardly as fast as some heavy petting.
Raising Pokemon Enjoyment: After a while, petting a Pokemon will stop producing hearts, and you'll instead ask to be played with--as indicated by a small speech bubble with a musical note inside. Enjoyment can be raised by tapping the music note button on the top right of the screen--here, you'll find three different minigames: Berry Picker, Head It, and Tile Puzzle. Each has multiple levels, and you'll need to play them not just to unlock new levels and raise Enjoyment, but to gain more Poke Puffs--little treats that you can use to feed your Pokemon.
Raising Pokemon Fullness: As you might expect, feeding a Pokemon Poke Puffs increases their Fullness. When a Pokemon is hungry you'll see a sparkle appear near their belly, letting you know that they're ready to chow down. Tapping the icon on the top left will show you a list of your Poke Puffs, which you can drag to your Pokemon's mouth. Eventually they'll become full, but for every Puff you feed a Pokemon they will gain hearts (just like petting them). Higher quality Poke Puffs (earned through better play in the minigames) with reward them with even more hearts, too. When they're full, you can either wait a while until they're hungry again or play minigames with them until they're hungry/interested in being pet again.
- Nintendo re-uses some art assets in Pokemon Amie, so it can sometimes be confusing to find out exactly what is going on. The hearts that fly out when a Pokemon is pet/fed contribute to Affection, but it isn't until they dance and sparkle and scream that you actually level it up.
- Fullness will deplete over time, but leveling up Enjoyment with the minigames will burn food, giving you the ability to keep grinding up stats by staggering the way you level them up.
- Tend to Enjoyment and Fullness whenever possible.
- Swap the Pokemon you're working with from time to time, as the Enjoyment games actually pull in two random Pokemon besides the one you're focusing on for the games, raising their Enjoyment as well.
- To get to the fifth level of Affection, your Pokemon will actually need to level twice. They'll do the "I just leveled up my Affection!" dance once, but it won't actually increase the level.