Pokémon Go Plus

I have been an unapologetic Pokémon Go fan since the day I started playing it, only a month after the original release date. I’ve stuck with the game through its ups, downs, bugs, inconsistencies, and frustrating “tracking” features. Despite the rough start, I have always had a pretty good time playing this game, and it continues to improve with every update. Many people like to argue that they think the game shouldn’t have been released until they had every issue resolved, but I think Niantic made the right choice releasing it despite the bugs. The large community of players trying out the game were able to offer very useful feedback, which has greatly improved the quality of the game over time. If you are one of the players who gave up on the game early on because of the issues it had, I strongly recommend you give it a try again. The new tracking feature is pretty nice, and the servers are way more stable than they used to be. The holiday events are a lot of fun as well, and the “Eggstravaganza”, their spring event, is still in full swing until April 20th. (I think Niantic should have a special event for that day as well, since it’s easily one of the most popular “national holidays” known to man. *wink wink*)

Since my fiancee, Justin, and I both play Pokémon Go quite a lot, I decided it was time to invest a few bucks into it and give the Pokémon Go Plus a try. We paid $34.99 for it at GameStop. The ordering process online was fairly smooth, even though I didn’t bother making an account with them. Our Pluses arrived within a week, just in time for that “Eggstravaganza”!

What is this “Pokemon Go Plus”, you ask?

Watch this video:

Connecting the Pokémon Go Plus to my iPhone 5S was a LITTLE frustrating. The instructions were simple and clear, so the problems I had were probably due to minor brain farts on my end, but after playing around with it for a few minutes, I had it up and running smoothly!

The Pokémon Go Plus works exactly like it says it will in the video, and it has been great for passive Pokémon hunting while I’m out doing other things. Unfortunately, my phone likes to reset apps if I let them sit idle for a while, so the Pokémon Go Plus will lose connection after long periods of time, and the Pokémon Go app likes to reset itself if I switch back and forth between other apps on my phone a lot. I think this is all to do with my iPhone 5s, so I don’t want to blame it on the Plus, as it runs quite smoothly in-game, and does what its supposed to do. I just have to “check in” on the app every so often to make sure my phone hasn’t caused the game to reset. Other than that minor annoyance, I find the Plus to be very useful and worth what I paid for it.

The Plus is absolutely excellent for multitasking in-game. I have earned a lot more XP by cracking a lucky egg and doing mass evolves while using the Plus to get items and XP from Pokéstops and catch Pokémon without interrupting my mass evolution session. Another useful aspect of the Plus is that you can edit the settings to enable and disable detection of Pokéstops or Pokémon.

I use this to my advantage File_000File_002when I visit my local park, where there are a LOT of Pokéstops. I set the Plus to only activate when there are Pokémon to catch, and I hit the Pokéstops manually on-screen in order to get items and XP while the plus catches Pokémon for me in the background.

While doing this, I have noticed a small inconsistency with the Plus. Sometimes, it takes a little longer than it should to detect a Pokémon’s presence, and other times it will detect a Pokémon before it even shows up on your game screen. The plus will show an icon hovering over the Pokémon it is detecting, so you can see here the Plus occasionally detects Pokémon before they get the chance to appear:

File_001 File_002(1)

Sometimes, the Plus is a few seconds delayed in detecting Pokéstops as well, but I can put up with these minor issues for the convenience the Plus offers overall. Disconnecting and reconnecting the Plus is a breeze once it’s paired with your device. Also, I have been using it very often for about four days now, and the battery is still going strong. The Plus uses a watch battery, which is cheap to replace. You do need a very tiny screwdriver to replace the battery when the time comes.

The Plus only uses regular Pokéballs when catching a Pokémon, and it doesn’t use any berries. I read somewhere that your level affects your catch rate, but I haven’t been able to confirm or deny this claim on any official Pokémon Go sites. I wish there was a way to set the Plus to use berries and other types of Pokéballs, but that’s not an option as of yet. I’m hoping Niantic adds this in the future. For now, I suppose it’s a little nice to have a use for those regular old Pokéballs. (I have 150+ great balls and ultra balls right now, and about a hundred regular balls.)

Probably the best selling point for the Plus is the distance tracking capability, which lets you get some distance on your eggs even when your phone’s screen is off, or if you just have Pokémon Go running in the background while you browse other apps. I like this feature a lot because it saves on my phone’s battery. I still have to check in on the app every once in a while to make sure it’s staying connected, but again I think that has to do with my phone, not the app itself.

An added bonus (until Niantic fixes it, at least) is the Plus doesn’t adhere to the speed cap when catching Pokémon or hitting Pokéstops, so you can make use of this feature when you’re riding in a car.

17904345_1399242386809651_7792889814930213474_nAs far as aesthetics go, I actually like how the Plus looks clipped onto my shirt collar. It comes with a fairly nice-looking bracelet, but I never use it. The Plus itself is very well-made and seems pretty durable, though it is not waterproof.

Overall, I’m happy with the purchase. I hope Niantic continues to work on the software and make it more consistent when detecting Pokémon and Pokéstops, and hopefully one day I’ll get myself a phone that doesn’t like to reset idle apps on me all of a sudden.

If you’re an avid Pokémon Go player like me, I think you’ll benefit from buying one of these. It’s probably not worth it for casuals who don’t really play very often, since it’s just as easy to catch Pokémon in-game. I really love the ability to idly play throughout my day, and that has definitely added to my XP and stardust count quite a lot.

My rating for the Pokémon Go Plus:

★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

6/10 stars

I really like the way it lets me multitask in-game, but the inconsistencies with detection of Pokémon and Pokéstops can be a little annoying. Overall, it works well enough that I feel like it was worth the purchase.