Pokémon GO Complete Season Review: The Season Of Alola

The Season of Alola has finished in Pokémon GO. Let's take a look back to see what worked and what left players wanting more.

Season of Alola graphic in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic
Season of Alola graphic in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic

What worked in this Pokémon GO season

  • Strong raids: This Season will likely be remembered for its terrific raids. We got four new Legendaries with Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Fini, and Tapu Bulu. We saw all three Therian Formes of the Forces of Nature get their Shinies released. We saw Tier Six introduced for Mega Legendary raids. Rockruff was released as a Shiny-boosted raid/Egg-only species and it essentially stayed in raids all season. We also got terrific costumed raids with Bow Lapras. Overall, raids were far and away the strongest aspect of the season.
  • Good patterns: I loved how Niantic shook things up by creating a pattern in raids: New Legendary, new Shiny drop, new Legendary, new Shiny drop, and so on. This kept the rotations interesting for three months, which is a rare achievement.
  • Decent wild spawns: The wild was enriched by the release of Alolan species. I also liked how the available Pokémon seemed to change over time and felt less static than in previous seasons. This was the Season where I also saw the highest number of rare Pokémon show up. There were multiple occasions where I'd see a Deino pop on my map along with other scarce species like Emolga and Hitmontop.

What didn't work in this Pokémon GO season

  • Consistency: This Season had major hit events and major misses. The introduction of Mega Legendaries and changes to Mega Raids? Brilliant. Events with no new content? Less great.
  • Shiny releases: We are seeing Pokémon GO enter a phase where a new Shiny Pokémon is virtually impossible to hunt during its release event. Cottonee is the perfect example, though we saw this with multiple species. Shiny Cottonee was released and during its event, it was rarer than it was outside of the event. Bizarre to say the least. Clearly, Niantic is conducting some thought experiments with rarity, but Shiny hunting outside of ticketed events and raids has unfortunately never been less fun. I mean, where was Binacle during the Water Festival? Very odd choices.
  • Communication: Niantic continued to struggle with certain aspects of communication this Season. While I now have come to terms with a certain number of the positives of nerfing Incense, the failure of the company to stick to the promise of advance notice pre-nerf wasn't great. In addition to that, there were certain aspects of events that were messily communicated in blogs. I will say that I communicated this to Niantic in our interview, and I'm hopeful that the feedback was taken seriously.
  • Alola to Alola: Niantic might have wanted to end the season quietly to allow players time to collect items and prepare for Pokémon GO Fest 2022 this weekend, but the final event ended the season on a weird note by not adding any new content outside of unlocking Shadow Alolan Marowak via temporary evolution.


The Season of Alola was a mixture of hits and misses. With strong raids but uneven events, Niantic kept Pokémon GO interesting and will hopefully recognize their very fixable flaws to deliver more consistent Seasons of this beloved game. No matter what happens, I'm here for the ride.

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Theo DwyerAbout Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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