The summer Pokémon Go came out was the closest we’ve ever come to world peace. Thousands of players from across the world ventured outside to battle gyms, to catch wild Pokémon, and to talk smack about opposing teams. The game was downloaded over 800 million times, and the resulting Pokémania attracted everybody from senior citizens to toddlers to longtime Pokémon veterans. That summer, if you saw somebody walking and making upwards swiping motions with their phone, you could pretty much guarantee they were playing Pokémon Go. Despite the massive initial success of the game, within a few months the game fell out of mainstream popularity, with some dismissing it as a fad. The dropoff is mostly attributed to technical issues that plagued the game at launch, as well as a lack of in-game content.
However, developer Niantic has really stepped up their game and it shows. Not only are most of the technical issues gone, but many new features have been added to the game. So if you have deleted the game since the summer of 2016 We highly recommend you give it another try. Below are our favorite new features:
1. New Pokémon
While the original 151 Pokémon are certainly the most recognizable, later games brought hundreds of unique and memorable new Pokémon. Pokémon Go now features Pokémon from generations 2 and 3 (Gold & Silver and Ruby & Sapphire respectively). If you’re sick of seeing the same old Rattatas and Pidgeys, fear not, because you can now catch old favorites like Mudkip, Torchic, Totodile, and Lugia.
2. Trading and Friends
Trading, one of the most heavily requested features of the game, is finally here. In order to train with somebody, you first need to add them as a friend using their Trainer Code. Once you’re friends with somebody you can trade Pokémon as long as you’re close by. In addition to being able to trade Pokémon, friends can earn unique bonuses and send each other Gifts. Gifts are unique items found by spinning Pokéstops that can be sent to friends once a day. Within these gifts, you can even find Alolan Pokémon eggs. These will hatch into Alolan Pokémon, which resemble generation 1 Pokémon but feature different colors, typing, and stats. Additionally, when friends play the game together they can earn bonuses, such as extra attack power while fighting gyms.
3. Raids and Legendary Pokémon
Using items called Raid Passes, players can fight powerful Pokémon in raids. Raids are found at Pokémon Gyms, in which strong Pokémon emerge from eggs at predetermined times. These Raid Pokémon can be fought by teams of up to 20 people (which is sometimes necessary, I once found a Ho-Oh that had a CP of 50,000). Many of these Raid Pokémon are legendaries from generations 1-3, including Mewtwo, Groudon, Kyogre, and Zapdos. Beating these Raids gives each player a chance to catch the Pokémon they fought. You only get 10 balls to throw, and these Raids are your only chance to catch these legendary Pokémon, so throw carefully!
4. Community Days and other events
For a few hours on one day every month, Niantic hosts in-game Community Days. If you play the game during these active hours you can receive a slew of bonuses, including reduced egg hatching distance, Pokémon with exclusive moves, and free 3 hour lures. Additionally, these Community Days are the easiest way to obtain Shiny Pokémon, with last month’s Community Day featuring shiny Larvitars and next month featuring shiny Snorlaxes. Other events, such as Safari Zones, are routinely announced by Niantic, so stay tuned to their social media channels to find out more.
5. Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee Integration
The upcoming Nintendo Switch games Let’s Go Pikachu!/Eevee! feature Pokémon Go integration. Players can transfer Pokémon caught in Go to their Switch games using a feature called the Go Park. This marks the first time that Pokémon caught in Go can be used in other games. If you’re planning on picking up Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee! We recommend stocking up on Pokémon in Go now.