Turtonator first appeared in Alola to New Adventure!, being Kiawe's choice to battle against Tupp, Zipp, and Rapp, a trio of Team Skull Grunts. It was joined by Ash and his Pikachu. Turtonator was shown to be a capable fighter, starting the battle by easily taking hits from Zubat's Leech Life and Yungoos's Bite attacks before countering them with Shell Trap. After Ash and Pikachu gained the upper hand, Kiawe had Ash stand back to allow Turtonator to finish the fight. Calling out to Turtonator, the Firium Z on Kiawe's Z-Ring glowed, and after a series of synchronized poses, Turtonator unleashed its Z-Move, Inferno Overdrive, wiping out Team Skull's Pokémon, forcing the Grunts to retreat.
In A Crowning Moment of Truth!, Kiawe used Turtonator to battle an AlolanMarowak that had stolen the treasured "Wela Crown", an item said to boost the power of the Pokémon wearing it, from Wela Volcano Park. During the battle, Turtonator was shown being able to use Dragon Tail. However, Turtonator ended up getting defeated by the Bone Keeper Pokémon, with even its Z-Move failing to hit its target. Later, after receiving some encouraging words from Ash, Kiawe agreed to have a practice battle between Pikachu and Turtonator in order to be ready for a rematch with Marowak. During the battle, Turtonator ended up learning a new move, which boosted Kiawe's confidence even further. The next day, Kiawe challenged Marowak again. With its new move, Shell Smash, Turtonator was able to gain enough Speed to keep up with Marowak, allowing it to defeat its opponent this time around and retrieve the stolen crown. After the battle, Marowak chose to join Kiawe's team.
In When Regions Collide!, Turtonator battled against Brock's Steelix. Turtonator started the battle with Flamethrower which Steelix deflected with Gyro Ball to reduce the damage. Turtonator was then squeezed by Steelix's Bind, but freed itself using Shell Trap. Recovering from the attack, Turtonator tried to use Dragon Tail. Before it could hit though, Steelix burrowed underground with Dig and struck Turtonator with the super effective move. When Kiawe decided to use his Z-Move, Brock revealed his Key Stone and Mega Evolved Steelix into Mega Steelix. Kiawe then had Turtonator attack with Inferno Overdrive, scoring a direct hit. Steelix, however, was able to endure the Z-Move and retaliated with Stone Edge. Turtonator attempted to block the move with Dragon Tail, but was overpowered, knocking it out, making Steelix the winner.
Harper and Sarah after touching Turtonator's spikes
Turtonator is a very powerful and defensive Pokémon, able to take multiple hits from Team Skull's Pokémon without showing any signs of damage. It has a trusting relationship with its Trainer, as Kiawe confidently sends it into battle with his Charizard on the line. It is also a friendly Pokémon, as first shown in Getting to Know You!, where it got along with the other Pokémon and even allowed Ash and his classmates's Pokémon to play on its back. Its friendly nature was shown again in A Glaring Rivalry!, when it joined the other Pokémon in taking part in a Charjabug train. In The Ol' Raise and Switch!, however, it felt uncomfortable when the energetic Harper and Sarah were jumping on its back. Turtonator also likes having its back brushed.
A Japanese event distributed an in-game representation of Kiawe's Turtonator, along with Mallow's Steenee and Lillie's Alolan Vulpix via serial code and local wireless. The serial codes were available at Æon stores in Japan from June 26 to July 4, 2017, and could be used until July 14, 2017. The local wireless were available at Pokémon Center stores and Pokémon Stores in Japan from July 22 to August 13, 2017.
The same Turtonator wasdistributed to players who inserted a serial code that was given away at various Homeplus and Toys "R" Us stores in South Korea on August 5, 6, 12 and 26, 2017. The serial code was distributed to those who completed all seven trials of the Alola Challenge (Korean: 알로라 챌린지 Alola Challenge). The serial codes could be used to obtain Turtonator from August 12 to September 30, 2017.