Pokémon GO Tour: Kanto 2021 Complete Event Review

Yesterday, Niantic made Pokémon history with Pokémon GO Tour: Kanto. Did this remote event go beyond nostalgia and live up to the hype? Let's dive into the details with this comprehensive review.

Kanto species in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic
Kanto species in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic

What Worked in this Pokémon GO Event

  • Research: Ticketed players received a Special Research that awards Shiny Ditto and, when completed, grants access to a long-term Masterwork Research that awards Shiny Mew. Free-to-play trainers (and, of course, those who paid also) received a Timed Research that tasked them with battling GO Tour Challengers, new NPC characters based on real-life trainers. The tasks were engaging, the rewards were worthy, and the structure of it all made for a well-rounded twelve hours of gameplay.
  • Collection Challenges: Now, after seeing how this event played out, it's clear to me why Collection Challenges are classified differently to Special Research. The Collection Challenges were what guided us through the event, tasking Pokémon GO trainers with catching different Pokémon based on the current location-based hour: Pallet Town, Pewter City, Cerulean City, etc. This was a huge improvement over GO Fest 2020 where the different themed hours served no real purpose except to highlight different spawns. Here, Niantic leaned into the nostalgia and got it right, taking queues from the original games as well as the early episodes the anime to build a perfect Pokémon experience.
  • Spawns: We've had Kanto in Pokémon GO since we've had Pokémon GO, but this event managed to spice things up by unlocking the remaining Shinies. As someone who plays a lot, I suspected the spawns wouldn't have much to offer during the event, but I ended up with a huge variety of new Shinies, interesting Pokémon, and worthy catches by the end.
  • Shiny Rate: This was also, by many accounts and not just my own, vastly improved over GO Fest 2020. The ticket choice of Red or Green allowed players to choose which species would see a boosted rate, and the rate felt much closer to the preferable remote Safari Zone 2020 rate than the disappointing GO Fest 2020 rate. Another huge improvement.
  • Raids: A perfect mixture of limited and unlimited. The fact that the Kanto Legendaries were set to stay beyond the event prevented Pokémon GO Tour: Kanto from being nothing but a Mewtwo scramble. The raid rotation was kept interesting, though, by the presence of the regionals in raids. As three-stars, all of them were soloable too, which was nice. My one quibble with the raid rotation, though not enough of a negative to put in as something that didn't work, is that Niantic brought back the canceled Tier Four raids just for Snorlax. This ended up making Snorlax non-soloable and, with regionals and Legendariesn available, it ended up being a difficult raid to get others interested in. Keeping the raids to Tier Three and Five would've been a better move, but it's hardly a blip considering how much they got right here.
  • GO Tour Challengers: This aspect of Pokémon GO Tour: Kanto was a brand new feature that I hope is implemented into more events and, eventually, standard gameplay. Just like in the original games, we could encounter non-villainous NPCs and battle them. This was made more interesting by the fact that they're based on real-life trainers who submitted to Niantic. These battles were fun and yielded incredible rewards, offering a greater amount of Poké Balls than I would've expected, which was much needed during the event.

What Didn't Work in this Pokémon GO Event

  • Glitches: The only real downside of Pokémon GO Tour: Kanto was the glitches. On the one hand, the server issues seen during GO Fest 2020 were far less here. There was some freezing and some difficulty sending gifts a couple of hours into the event, but compared to the game being inaccessible for two full hours… I'll take it. The major issue I had was the raid pass glitch, which was plaguing everyone in the multiple raid chats in which I was involved. We previously reported on the raid pass glitch, which invites trainers to enter into a remote raid with their Daily Free Raid Pass. This is, of course, impossible and makes it so that the player cannot enter the raid until they restart. I missed out on many raids due to this, and it certainly seems like something that should have been fixed before the event. I will say, though, with so many things going right in this event, it's easier to get past this specific glitch.

Overall

Pokémon GO Tour: Kanto exceeded expectations in every way, making it far and away the best-ticketed event Niantic has ever held. If ticketed events are consistently like this and rather than December's Galarian Mr. Mime event, then I can whole-heartedly recommend buying all tickets going forward. Looking at this specific event, it was a fun and nuanced twelve hours of engaging gameplay for essentially the price of a movie ticket. As I now work on my Masterwork Research to earn a Shiny Mew encounter, I am still, even after the event has ended, enjoying what I paid for.

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About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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