Three months ago, The Pokémon Company and Google asked fans to vote for their favorite pocket monsters in a “Pokémon of the Year” poll. With players invited to look back and reminisce from as far back to the days of Red and Blue, Niantic Labs has taken to spicing things up in Pokémon Go this month with a new weekly Timed Research event. Starting today at 1PM local time, Pokémon Go trainers can take advantage of special Throwback Challenges themed after the Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Unova regions.
During each weekly Throwback Challenge, certain Pokémon will rotate in and out from the wild, raids, and 7km eggs. Clearing each challenge (eight sets of three tasks) within the allotted time will net players a legendary Pokémon with a special move! Additionally, wild Pikachu will wear hats based on the number-one voted monster per region from the Pokémon of the Year poll; coinciding Pokémon Spotlight Hours (every Tuesday at 6pm local time) will also feature a corresponding Pokémon with a featured bonus.
And hey, if you’re lucky, you might also encounter some of the new Shiny Pokémon being introduced into the game!
The schedule and full details for each Throwback Challenge week is as follows:
- Time: Friday, May 1, at 1pm until Friday, May 8 at 1pm, local time
- 7km Eggs: Venonat, Machop, Onix, Lickitung, Tangela, Scyther, Pinsir, Lapras, Eevee
- New Pikachu Hat: Charizard
- New Shiny: Venonat, Venomoth
- Timed Research Rewards: 10 Rare Candies, Mewtwo with Psystrike
- Bonuses: Double catch, raid, and hatch XP
- May 5 Spotlight Hour: Shellder, with double Stardust
- Time: Friday, May 8, at 1pm until Friday, May 15 at 1pm, local time
- 7km Eggs: Chinchou, Yanma, Girafarig, Pineco, Dunsparce, Gligar, Shuckle, Skarmory, Phanpy
- New Pikachu Hat: Umbreon
- New Shiny: Dunsparce
- Timed Research Rewards: 10 Rare Candies, Ho-Oh with Earthquake
- Bonuses: Double catch and raid Stardust
- May 12 Spotlight Hour: Sunkern, with double catch XP
- Time: Friday, May 15, at 1pm until Friday, May 22 at 1pm, local time
- 7km Eggs: Lotad, Slakoth, Nincada, Skitty, Sableye, Mawile, Trapinch, Feebas, Clamperl
- New Pikachu Hat: Rayquaza
- New Shiny: Skitty, Delcatty
- Timed Research Rewards: 10 Rare Candies, Groudon with Fire Punch
- Bonuses: Halved distance for earning Buddy Candy and hatching incubated eggs
- May 19 Spotlight Hour: Poochyena, with double catch Candy
- Time: Friday, May 22, at 1pm until Friday, May 29 at 1pm, local time
- 7km Eggs: Cranidos, Shieldon, Glameow, Chingling, Bonsly, Happiny, Gible, Munchlax, Riolu, Mantyke
- New Pikachu Hat: Lucario
- New Shiny: Glameow, Purugly
- Timed Research Rewards: 10 Rare Candies, Cresselia with Grass Knot
- Bonuses: One-hour duration for Star Pieces, Incenses, and Lucky Eggs
- May 26 Spotlight Hour: Bronzor, with double transfer Candy
That’s not all though. Come June, regardless of whether players have cleared the above Timed Research tasks, a final Throwback Challenge week will unlock a new Special Research quest that can be cleared at any time. While Unova Pokémon are the focus during this period, the Throwback Challenge Champion event will also introduce new Pokémon from the Galar region in Pokémon Sword and Shield.
- Time: Wednesday, June 3, at 1pm until Monday, June 8 at 1pm, local time
- New Pokémon: Galarian Meowth, Perrserker, Galarian Zigzagoon, Galarian Linoone, Obstagoon, Galarian Darumaka, Galarian Darmanitan, Galarian Stunfisk
- 7km Eggs: Meowth, Zigzagoon, Darumaka, and Stunfisk; both original and Galarian variants
- Special Research Rewards: 5 Rare Candies, Galarian Meowth, Galarian Stunfisk, Genesect
- Bonuses: Galarian Stunfisk, Unova Pokémon appearing more frequently in the wild and raids
Along with the Throwback Challenge, this month’s Research Breakthrough encounter is switching out Alolan Exeggutor with Shinx. Catching the Flash Pokémon as a Research Breakthrough reward between May 1 at 1pm to June 1 at 1pm Pacific will net players extra Shinx candies.
As an augmented reality game that encouraged players to “get up and go,” Pokémon Go changed gears over the last two months and implemented a swathe of quality-of-life updates and dirt-cheap in-game item sales in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Funnily enough, Niantic Labs has also seen a dramatic increase in profits as a result.
Whatever the case, it is certainly better to stay home and catch Pokémon than to go out and catch fines for breaking quarantine (or worse, actually catch the virus)! Will you participate in Pokémon Go‘s Throwback Challenge? How did you adjust playing the game in light of the virus? Let us know in the comments.