Pokémon GO Lunar New Year 2021 Event Review

The Lunar New Year Event is wrapping up in Pokémon GO. Let's take a look back at what worked and what didn't with this event.

Lunar New Year event promo in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic
Lunar New Year event promo in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic

What Worked in this Pokémon GO Event

  • Miltank: Shiny Miltank debuted just two events ago during Johto Celebration, but it was quite a difficult find in the wild. During that event, the best chance at catching one was either by searching out a Field Research task or raiding, even though Miltank's Shiny rate didn't seem boosted. The best part about the Lunar New Year 2021 event in Pokémon GO was how it featured Miltank in the wild more commonly and even feature it during Tuesday's Spotlight Hour.
  • Timed Research: What Niantic advertised as a Tauros-centric Timed Research actually ended up being a way to earn Mega Gyarados Energy for free. It was a simple but fun questline with rewards much more worthy than recently Timed Research offerings.
  • Friendship bonuses: The current Friendship bonuses are running through two events, starting with the Lunar New Year 2021 event and running through the annual Valentine's Day event set to start on Sunday. The bonuses saw increased chances at going Lucky with friends, increased chances of a trade going Lucky, increased trading distance, and more berries from Gifts. While the last thing is something that absolutely no one asked for, the rest of those bonus perks are some of the best available in Pokémon GO.

What Didn't Work in this Pokémon GO Event

  • Same as last year: Outside of the above, there wasn't anything new added to the spawn pool. The main perk was a Shiny-capable Gyarados in the wild, which was the same main perk of last year. The issue with that is that Gyarados is also in Mega Raids, which would've made it Shiny-capable in all manner of encounters anyway, so this repeated main feature seems less interesting in 2021 than 2020… especially considering the maligned Magikarp Community Day made Shiny Gyarados into a Pokémon that most trainers have. Without any new Unova or Kalos Pokémon, no costumes, no Shiny releases, and nothing truly unique added to the game, it's hard to not look at this event as a less engaging repeat of last year's Lunar New Year Event.


Pokémon GO has been in a weird place recently with a series of uneventful events, but the bonuses, the generous Timed Research, and the second chance at a Shiny Miltank saved this one. The wild spawns might have been mostly boring, but this was otherwise a fun week of gameplay.

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About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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