Pokémon Go’s latest set of features aren’t quite the fixes that players have been begging Niantic for, but they will give trainers new ways to compete and team up as they dig into a spooky season of shadowy raids.
After a little bit of teasing toward the end of last week, Niantic has officially announced the arrival of Pokémon Go’s Party Play, a new feature that allows groups of four players to link up and explore together somewhat similar to the Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’s Union Circle. After connecting using either an alphanumeric or QR code, Pokémon Go players (who must be in close physical proximity to one another and at level 15 at minimum) can form teams that receive significant power boosts when taking on raid bosses together.
As Party Play teams begin raid battles, using regular fast attacks will gradually charge up their Party Power gauge, which, when full, doubles the damage dealt by your next charged attack. During a demo, Niantic explained that this aspect of Party Play is designed to make it easier for relatively small groups of players to take down powerful mega-evolved pokémon and Shadow Raid bosses like Lugia (whose shiny shadow variant will be making its debut).
Along with raiding, Party Play’s also meant to encourage players to go out exploring together while appearing on each other’s overworld maps and seeing which team member can top the rankings in different competitions measuring things like who has walked the farthest and who has caught the most pokémon. Unfortunately, Party Play teams only exist for limited sessions, meaning that when players leave teams or log off, they’ll have to link back up in order to start showing up on the map together again.
For solitary Pokémon Go players and those living out in more rural areas where there just aren’t as many people hunting for ‘mons on their phones, Party Play doesn’t exactly offer all that much in the way of benefits, and the proximity requirements are certain to frustrate people whose Pokémon Go friends live far away. But Party Play’s very much in line with the push Niantic has been making to get players back outside, and for those willing to meet some new pals, it looks like the feature will at the very least make it a lot easier to blow through raid bosses when it launches later today.