Nintendo finally launched the $35 Pokémon GO Plus accessory on Sept. 16, which is a couple of months after its supposed release alongside popular mobile game Pokémon GO.
The accessory, however, has been met with skepticism ever since its announcement due to the reported limitations of the device. The delay in its release, which Nintendo said was caused by the needed focus on updates for the Pokémon GO app, was speculated to actually be due to its uselessness as a peripheral to an already-complete game.
However, with Pokémon trainers now getting to try out the Pokémon GO Plus accessory, it seems that the limitations have been addressed by Nintendo through a few hidden features.
The first limitation that led to the criticism of the Pokémon GO Plus was that there was no mention that it would be able to track the distance walked. Pokémon GO uses GPS to track the distance walked by players to hatch eggs and to collect candy under the newly released Buddy Pokémon feature, and with the accessory not able to keep track of the distance while the app is closed on the user's smartphone, players will still have to keep the game open on their devices even if they have the Pokémon GO Plus.
However, according to the official Pokémon GO Twitter account, and as confirmed by Forbes, the Pokémon GO Plus will indeed track distance, which will allow players to keep their smartphones locked and in their pockets as long as they are wearing the accessory.
The second limitation is the accessory's description that both the Pokémon GO Plus and its paired smartphone will vibrate whenever a Pokémon is close by. Players know that their smartphone only vibrates when the app is running and in the foreground, so if it would vibrate alongside the Pokémon GO Plus, it would mean that the app will still be required to run even with the accessory, preventing it from functioning as a battery saver.
The surprise feature for the accessory is that it will work with the player's smartphone even when the device is locked as along as the app is running in the background. The ability of the Pokémon GO Plus to allow players to lock their smartphones instead of having to keep them on and the app running, as confirmed by Business Insider, will go a long way in saving battery.
One of the main features of the Pokémon GO Plus is that players would be able to catch Pokémon that they come across by simply pressing the accessory's button. However, it was previously said that players will only be able to use the feature for Pokémon that they have previously caught. For Pokémon that are still missing from their Pokédex, players will still be required to check their smartphone every once in a while to hunt for the Pokémon.
This is no longer true for the released Pokémon GO Plus, as instead of flashing green as it does when encountering a previously caught Pokémon, it will instead flash yellow to indicate that a new Pokémon is nearby. This will give players the chance to take out their smartphones and use better Pokéballs and other items to catch the Pokémon.
Worth the $35 Price Tag?
With these hidden features, it certainly looks like the $35 price tag for the Pokémon GO Plus is well worth it, especially for the hardcore players of the mobile game. However, those who did not preorder the device could have a tough time in finding units for sale, as supplies of the accessory are quick to run out in retailers.