You may have noticed a slightly different loading screen if you booted up Pokémon GO today. The game’s first event is upon us, and with it comes some much needed excitement for players. It’s Halloween themed, in case the lurking ghost Pokémon in the background didn’t tip you off, and Halloween is about two things: ghosts, and candy. This update has both of them in spades, and that’s great news for anyone who’s still trying to fill out their Pokédex, as well as for everyone with a vested interest in keeping this thing around. For the first time in months, it feels like there’s a reason to play Pokémon GO again, and that’s a wonderful thing. Even if there’s curiously little notification that this event is actually happening.
To the first point: ghosts. Niantic is celebrating the spookiness of the season by increasing spawn rates for Drowzee, Hypno, Ghastly, Haunter, Gengar, Zubat and Golbat. I’ve already got more Zubats than I could ever need, but that Ghastly evolution chain is mighty enticing: Gengar is a combat-capable Pokémon, but I’ve only been able to evolve one not very powerful creature on my own, so I’m looking forward to rounding out the higher end of my team with a little ghost action. The update also raises the possibility that we could see other spawn-increasing events for other holidays: one reddit user suggested ice for Christmas, which would mean more Lapras. We’d all appreciate that.
The candy side of this equation is even bigger, however. We’re getting double candy for most in-game actions, including catching, transferring and hatching eggs. That means two for transferring to the professor and six from a catch: eight in total per Pokémon, which makes some of those high-end evolutions a lot more doable. The buddy system gives you four times the candy, which is pretty great. So if you’ve had a rare Pokémon that you’ve been wanting to evolve but haven’t wanted to put in the grind on, now might be a good time to double your rewards before returning to the stinginess of the base game. I’ve only ever encountered one Dratini in my entire time with Pokémon GO, and so this is probably the moment I’m going to attempt to turn it into a Dragonair. Dragonite remains elusive, alas. It’s a bit of a breath of fresh air to get these increased rewards, especially as the chilly weather makes long walks a little more daunting. I worry, though, about how it’s going to feel when it’s all over. Pokémon GO is not a generous game overall, and this feels much closer to the game I want to play.
That’s it for now, but check back to see if there are any secrets or Easter Eggs hidden in there. We’re in holiday season now, so hopefully regular events can bring a little of the sparkle back to this game.