The Pokémon Go Plus is likely the worst wearable I’ve ever used.
Coming in at just over $50 CAD after tax, Nintendo, the Pokémon Company and Niantic’s Pokémon Go Plus is not only shoddy and feels like it belongs in a dollar store, but it also removes the fun of exploration from Pokémon Go, the game’s main appeal.
While the Pokémon Go fad has mostly dissipated, the game still has an active dedicated hardcore user-base that is probably interested in making the constant grind of leveling up in the location-based mobile game less of a chore. If you’re one of those people, don’t buy the Go Plus because it seriously just isn’t worth it.
The look: cheap and filmsy
The cheap, plastic Go Plus comes with an equally poorly constructed band that can only be attached by removing the accessories’ belt clip via screw. Yes, you read that correctly.
When using the Go Plus there have actually been times when I’ve been concerned the device’s plastic would actually break given how poorly constructed the wearable feels. In one situation the Plus’ belt clip was so loose the wearable actually fell off my belt after just a few hours of use. This means most people unfortunately should opt to use the wearable’s thin, cheap looking blue, red and white nylon band.
On the plus side, the Go Plus does feature a cute gloss, red and white classic Pokémon Pokéball aesthetic that doesn’t completely scream “I’m 27 and playing Pokémon,” but still lets other players around you know you’re down with Pikachu and friends.
How it works: press that button
The Pokémon Go Plus works exactly how you’d expect and is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. If you’ve downloaded the game’s most recent app update that adds the Pokémon Go Plus to the wearable’s settings to the title’s menu, all you need to do is tap the on-screen icon and press a button on the device. This makes pairing extremely easy and a painless process, which is great, especially since the Plus only remains connected to the game when it’s idle for a short period of time in order to save battery on both Pokémon Go and your smartphone.
Essentially, each time you come across a wild Pokémon, the Plus vibrates and its button flashes green for a creature you’ve already caught and yellow for a new one.
Pressing the button throws a single Poké Ball, with the results showing up as multi-coloured light if you catch the Pocket monster and a red buzz indicating the Pokémon ran away. Users only get a single chance with each Pokémon so it’s important to make that opportunity count, though you have no control over whether or not the Pokémon is caught.
When it comes to Poké Stops, there’s no possibility of failure; as long as you’re in range and tap the Plus’ button when it flashes blue, you’ll get all of the items at that particular location.
It isn’t fun: no more exploration
Here’s the kicker though; the Pokémon Go Plus saps all the fun out of the experience of playing Pokémon Go. What is already an arguably overly simple game turns into an even more basic experience only involving pressing a button on your wrist every few minutes.
Those who are high levels already and are looking to build up their character even more may find the Plus useful, but after just a few hours of use, I quickly grew frustrated with the wearable constantly vibrating. The discovery aspect of the game, the entire point of Pokémon Go, is absent when using the Plus. Players also aren’t able to select a more powerful Poké ball to catch creature or even throw Razz Berries in order to weaken the Pocket Monster.
Essentially while the Go Plus is a shortcut, it’s far from a powerful one, especially if you live in a rural or less-populated area where Pokémon and Poké Stops are few and far between. Even for the most hardcore fans, the Pokémon Go Plus just isn’t worth its expensive price tag. Perhaps if it cost only $20 it would be easier to recommend the device but unfortunately that’s not the case.
There’s no Nintendo Seal of Quality on the Pokémon Go plus and after spending a week with the wearable, now I know why.
Related: Pokémon Go review: Flawed, but still childhood dream fulfilling