Pokémon GO Event Review: Ultra Unlock Part One: Time

The Ultra Unlock Part One: Time event is winding down in Pokémon GO. Let's take a look at what worked and didn't work in this Fossil-themed event.

Dialga in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic
Dialga in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic

What worked in this Pokémon GO event

  • Shiny Dialga: Dialga is undoubtedly the most anticipated Shiny release in Tier Five raids since Rayquaza in 2019. Shiny Dialga was expected for a long time and delayed, delayed, delayed, held back from us until the right moment — which is, thank Arceus, now. Niantic made Dialga raids in general completely absent from the game since early 2019 with the exception of two day-long GO Fest features in 2020 and 2021. Withholding this Legendary Pokémon to make this release special certainly worked. It's been a long, long time since I've seen this much excitement for Tier Five raids, especially since the introduction of Remote Raids.
  • Cranidos & Shieldon: We got two excellent Shiny releases that were fun to hunt beyond just hoping for sparkles. Rampardos is one of the most useful Pokémon in raids and Bastiodon is a Great League champion, so even those who went without the Shiny couldn't say their hunts were fruitless. I found both Pokémon to spawn at a decent rate: not exactly easy to hunt but also not absent from the game like Deino during last year's Ultra Unlock. I'd have loved to see these two more common, but it felt fair.
  • Raids: With the new Shinies in Tier One raids along with Unown U and Dialga as the Legendary boss, the only raid tier not worth battling was Tier Three.
  • Unown raids: These were hard to find, but Niantic balanced that out by keeping them going into Part Two.
  • Theme: The Fossil-theme paired with a double Shiny release made for a strong, focused event. It would have been nice to see, say, Archen as a rare spawn, but hey — 'tis what 'tis.

What didn't work in this Pokémon GO event

  • Timed Research: Eh, the truth was, this wasn't too bad. It's just boring enough to make it into the "What didn't work" category for one reason. When Niantic gets cute with the number of XP we get, tying it to a Pokedex number, the cuteness fades a little when we're doing these tasks for such a small amount of gain. Do the cute little XP amount once or twice and then let's drastically increase that toward the end so the questline ends up feeling substantial.


Ultra Unlock 2021 is off to a great start. Compared to last year's uneven Dragon Week which kicked off Ultra Unlock 2020, we're in a great place here. Now, let's get prepped for Ultra Unlock Part Two, which will focus on Regional Pokémon.

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About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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