Crouching is back and Game Freak decided that it needed more than just that returning mechanic to spice up catching Pokémon in Sword and Shield.
If there are Pokémon in the overworld when you’re walking through an area, you can now whistle to attract their attention or cause various reactions.
You learn how to do this right after battling Hop for the second time when you head toward the station. Your newly-cemented rival will explain that crouching is just one way of interacting with the world and introduce you to the whistle mechanic.
All you need to do is press down on the left stick of either your Joy Con or Pro Controller and your character will let out a short whistle. This will then prompt question mark icons to pop up over Pokémon that were within hearing distance of the noise.
Most Pokémon will immediately begin to approach you and hover just out of reach so there isn’t a forced encounter. There are likely a few other ways Pokémon can react to whistling, but you won’t need to worry about that when you’re starting out.
This is a great way to get some of the Pokémon out of your way if you need to walk through a specific patch of grass or they spawned in front of an item. All you need to do is simply whistle and then walk around them after they come to you.
There’s also a long range on the whistle. Sometimes you can even whistle while there are no Pokémon on screen and one will walk over from where it spawned outside of your view.
Certain Pokémon will follow you anyways if they spot you in the grass if you aren’t crouching.
Yamper is a good example because the lovable little Corgi just wants some attention and will chase after you to get some. Skwovet is the complete opposite of Yamper and will run away with small water droplets appearing as it moves to avoid you.
All of these new options make catching Pokémon a bit more nuanced because now there are more approaches outside of just walking into the grass and hoping to encounter something good.