I was very excited when Pokemon Go launched, I really enjoyed playing the original Pokemon games 20 years ago, and was really looked forward to being able to play the latest version with my 6 year old daughter.
The 2 of us have managed to make it up to level 28 mostly because I play a lot when sheís not around. However playing a lot of Pokemon Go causes 3 problems. Can the Pokemon Go Plus solve them?
You gotta catch Ďem all, every single last one of them:
To reach higher levels most games require a lot of repetition and Pokemon Go is no different. The fastest way to level up is use the gameís Lucky Eggs which allow you to earn double the experience points for half an hour. During that 30 minutes the goal is to evolve as many of your Pokemon as possible (usually around 70) to maximize the amount of xp you can gain.
To evolve Pokemon you have to catch a lot of them. Some species of Pokemon donít require you to catch that many to evolve; specifically Caterpie, Pidgey and Weedles. The idea is to focus on those ones and catch every single one of these that you come across which gets quite tedious.
You need balls, lots of balls:
To catch a Pokemon you have to use Pokeballs which you can either buy or get by spinning PokeStops. If youíre trying to catch everything in sight youíre going to need a lot of Pokeballs which means you have to hit as many stops as possible. Our challenge is that we live in the suburbs so the only way to hit up a lot of stops is to jump in the car.
Further, when youíre sitting on enough evolutions to use a Lucky egg, chances are youíll start using more balls than you should trying to trying to every single one. The cost benefit of not wasting too many balls goes out the window when youíre actually in the process of trying to catch one.
You gotta get an external battery pack:
Lastly, if you want to catch Ďem all chances are youíll need to leave your screen on as much as possible, so that the app can log how far youíve walked so you can hatch your eggs, and your buddy can find candies. This is devastating for your phoneís battery. It also means youíll spend less time on your other apps.
Attention Pokemon Masters, Enter the Pokemon Go Plus:
The Pokemon Go Plus is a Bluetooth device with a non-rechargable coin battery (CR2032).
Itís shaped like a Google Map pushpin and coloured like a Pokeball.
It has a clip on the back which I use to attach to one of my bracelets.
I also Velcro to my carís steering wheel.
It connects to my phone (an iPhone) via Bluetooth and has a single button on it that can light up different colours. The button has 2 functions; it can either spin stops for you so that you can get more Pokeballs (and other items) or you can use to catch Pokemon.
The Pokemon Go Plus solves the 3 problems I mentioned and then some.
Itís great for collecting items from stops because now I donít need my daughter around to spin them. I just mount it to my steering wheel and press the button whenever I feel it vibrates and light up blue which indicates youíre close enough to a stop to collect something.
If thereís a Pokemon nearby it will vibrate and light up green. After youíve pressed it, it will blink white 3 times and then tell you if you caught the Pokemon or if it ran away.
When you use it to catch, it only uses a single regular ball so itís not something you want to use if youíre trying to catch something you really need. In fact be very careful if youíre looking for a rare Pokemon, I accidentally used it on a Snorlax and it ran away. The fact that it only uses a single ball seems like a negative but it actually forces you to be very disciplined with your ball supply. Instead of using 10 balls to try to catch that last Weedle it will only use 1, if it didnít work out thereís always more Weedles.
It would be nice if you could set filters so it wonít attempt to catch certain Pokemon like Snorlax, Dragonite, Lapras, etc. Speaking of rare Pokemon, if you decide to catch a Pokemon manually youíll have to reconnect the Plus when youíre done by tapping the Plus icon on the screen and then tapping the button on it.
But the best thing about driving and the Plus is something I wasnít expecting. When youíre moving it detects all sorts of Pokemon which wouldnít normally spawn because youíre going too fast. It greatly expands your radius so it shows you the location of Pokemon which havenít even spawned yet.
What this means is it youíll catch all sorts of Pokemon you canít even see. So now when youíre driving you donít have to keep an eye on your phone. Just press the button whenever it vibrates and let it do its thing.
I did a few test drives and I gain about 10,000 xp per hour on average catching all sorts of Pokemon I wouldnít normally encounter. I capture at a rate of around 1 Pokemon every 2 minutes of driving so itís even better than setting a lure and sitting there waiting for to see how many Drowzees and Hypnos show up.
Since it only uses a single red ball youíre going to be catching weaker Pokemon but occasionally it surprises me like this high cp, high IV Electabuzz which I didn't even notice until I got home:
If you keep your phone on, the Pokemon Go app it sometimes tells you what you caught but not always. To see how itís really doing youíll need to check your journal but that only holds a couple of entries so chances are you wonít be able to see everything that ran away. But thatís not the point, since it can catch Pokemon which havenít appeared yet itís catching stuff you wouldnít be able to anyways. So if youíre mad it let a cp 800 Pokemon run while you were driving, well you wouldnít have had the chance to catch it anyways.
That said it goes through hot and cold streaks. When I first got it, it was catching everything in sight, then another time it felt like it missed 10 in a row.
Itís also safer because I can focus on the road instead of reminding my daughter to stop looking at my Pokedex and spin the stops as we pass them.
One of the best things about it is that you can now log your walking and be alert of stops and nearby Pokemon without having to leave the app open. You can go surf the web and switch back when it vibrates. Better yet, you can now turn your phoneís screen OFF and put it in your Pokemon. Mind you, the battery is still being drawn at a higher rate since PoGo uses your GPS continuously.
It will send alerts to your phone when it's running in the background.
If youíre wondering if it makes counting the distance youíve walked more accurate I canít say for certain but itís still waaaaay off. I donít think it has a pedometer or a GPS chip so I donít think it will change anything. For what itís worth the inaccuracy usually works in my favor as I usually log way more walking than I actually do. Anyways, the fact that it allows you to run PoGo when the screen is off will mean youíre going to log more distance.
There are some minuses; first off, it has a habit of disconnecting after a while. This can be a problem if your phone is off since you wonít know that has happened. In fact, as I writing this I just noticed my Pogo Plus has disconnected unexpectedly.
I canít comment on the battery. Over the past few days Iíve used it for about 20hrs and itís still going. To change the battery youíll need a small Phillips head screwdriver and a CR2032 battery. If you can, hit up Ikea for the batteries, they have 8 for around 2 bucks.
The worst thing about the Plus is the cheap looking bracelet it comes with. I didnít even bother taking it out of the package. I guess unless youíre Ash Ketchum thereís no way to wear one and look cool.
Personally, I just clipped it to a leather bracelet of mine.
Iím also tried slapping it on one of my extra NATO watch straps.
It also fits on some of my watch straps.
At $44.99 Canadian itís not cheap but itís not terribly expensive either. Hereís how I think about it, I suspect itís only slightly more complicated than a Bluetooth selfie remote. You can pick those up for a few bucks at the local dollar store - the only difference is that the Plus lights up and has a slick paint job on it.
However, if youíre a serious PoGo player itís a must have because youíll start piling on xp at an accelerated rate because it takes a lot of the tedium away from catching Pidgey, Caterpie and Weedle. The way I see it, it my Pidgey, Caterpie and Weedle button. When I see one, I press the button, if I catch it, great. If I donít, whatever.
Just remember not to use it on something you really want. I was hanging out a Growlithe nest the other day and accidentally used it on one. The Growlithe ran away and I was not happy.