Pokémon GO Event Review: Ultra Unlock – Research Day

Yesterday, a common topic in Pokémon GO discussions on social media was the quality of this past weekend's Ultra Unlock: Research Day. This event, some Trainers suggest, was more well-received that last weekend's landmark Pokémon GO Fest 2022. So let's take a look to see what made this event so well-received within the game's often-divided community.

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

What worked in this Pokémon GO event

  • Boosted Shinies: Before this event and the preceding Adventure Week, Cranidos and Shieldon were quite rare. Cranidos especially. This event made their Shiny forms accessible to anyone with a good amount of PokéStops nearby due to a highly boosted rate. This seemed on par with the Shiny rate of previous in-person Limited Research Days including Feebas and Minccino. Featuring such strong Shinies in this way seems uncommon for Niantic, which added to the overall enjoyment of this event.
  • Intuitive tasks: The variety of the tasks was perfect, with the more intensive ones being raid focused and the easier ones calling for a certain number of Nice or Great Throws. There were also simple camera-focused and evolution-centric tasks. The tasks were easy and fun to complete and the balance of Shieldon and Cranidos encounters seemed equal.
  • Good spawns: Research Day-specific spawns that differed from the Adventure Week spawns made it so that the Tasks weren't the only fun aspect of this event. I particularly enjoyed the chance to hunt for both Kanto and Alolan Diglett, two Pokémon that I rarely see in my biome even before the Season spawns existed.
  • Amaura and Tyrunt: I loved not only hunting for these two in the wild but also the effect Amaura brought to the sky. I hope this effect remains in place during Amaura's catch screen when it is encountered outside of the event.

What didn't work in this Pokémon GO event

  • I don't have anything to criticize this event about. It was certainly a get-back-out-there style of event, but I'm long past holding that against the game. Niantic has chosen to get Pokémon GO back to being a walking game and if they're going to deliver events like this, I will certainly be around to get in my KM.


While I personally think it's silly to compare a simple event like this to Pokémon GO Fest 2022 which had a lot of moving parts, what I can say is that this is an event that shows an understanding of what most players want. That is something Niantic struggles with sometimes, so hopefully they key into the warm reception and understand the reasons why this was considered a terrific one-day event.

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About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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