Buddy Pokémon is a new Pokémon GO feature that allows players to become best buddies with their favorite Pokémon buddy and unlock various bonuses along the way. In this guide, we’re breaking down how the feature works, how to level up your Buddy Pokémon and how to optimize your play time to get the most of this feature.
You can learn more about the Buddy Pokémon System by watching The Trainer Club’s excellent video on the topic and by reading our guide down below:
Buddy Level bonuses
|Buddy Level||Affection Hearts Needed|
Leveling up your Buddy
Your friendship with a Buddy Pokémon can level up four times, starting with Good Buddy and ending with Best Buddy. Each friendship level requires collecting a set amount of Affection Hearts, which are earned by interacting with your Buddy and playing the game with that Pokémon assigned as your Buddy.
There are four different Buddy Levels:
|Buddy Level||Affection Hearts Needed|
|Good Buddy||❤️ x1|
|Great Buddy||❤️ x70|
|Ultra Buddy||❤️ x150|
|Best Buddy||❤️ x300|
You can earn up to 10 Hearts a day to increase your friendship level. If your Buddy’s mood is “Excited” you can earn up to 20 Affection Hearts. You can reach the Best Buddy status in 30 days (or less) if you complete your daily tasks every day.
You can collect Affection Hearts by doing the following activities:
- Walk together gives up to ❤️ x4. You need to walk 2 km for each Heart. Replacing your buddy will reset any progress you made to the next heart, but it does not reset progress to earning Candy.
- Give your buddy a treat gives up to ❤️ x4. In order to get more Hearts, your Buddy needs to be at zero and eat three berries to count as one Heart. You need 12 Berries per day to get all 4 Hearts.
- Play together gives ❤️ x2 for tapping your buddy in AR mode and pet them with your finger for a few seconds until you see them spin and jump with delight.
- Battle together gives ❤️ x2 for fighting in Gyms, Raids, Team GO Rocket, or Trainer Battle with your buddy. Your Buddy needs to be a Team Member! Training with Leaders also counts as a Trainer Battle.
- Take a snapshot gives ❤️ x2 for taking a snapshot of your Buddy.
- Visit a new place gives ❤️ x2 for visiting a PokéStop or Gym that you haven’t visited before with this Buddy!
After acquiring the first set of 10 hearts, you can unlock the second set by reaching certain thresholds with each Activity category. These thresholds are still being researched, but it seems that they’re 200 snapshots, 20 new places to visit and a combination of other ones.
You can forcibly unlock additional 10 Hearts with use of Poffin without having completed any hearts (source).
How to get your Buddy Excited
Here’s how to get your Buddy excited:
- You will need 32 Points per day to reach Excited mood for your Buddy
- Each Activity you do has a 30 minute cooldown, except Walk 2 KM per day
- You need to do these activities three times per day, as you can earn 14 Points from completing all of them
Here are the activities you can do to get to Excited Mood:
- Visit a new location
- Walk 2 km
- Feed your Buddy
- Play with your Buddy
- Take a Snapshot of the Buddy
- Open a Souvenir / Present (requires Great Buddy)
- Visit a Location highlighted by your Buddy
Each buddy friendship level unlocks different bonuses (stronger level include lower level bonuses as well):
- Follows you around on the map. Each Pokémon has unique movement animations on the map.
- You can read its mood on the buddy profile page
- May help you with catching Pokémon! When a Pokémon you’re trying to catch hits a Poké Ball back at you during an Encounter, there’s a chance your buddy will help you out by bouncing the Poké Ball back at the Pokémon.
- May pick up consumable items like Berries and Potions and deliver them to you as presents.
- Your buddy can find Souvenirs and give them to you. Type of Souvenir depends on the environment where it was found.
- Your buddy may draw your attention to a PokéStop they think is interesting, usually PokéStops you haven’t visited with this buddy before.
- Best Buddy gets a CP Boost while the Pokémon is active as your buddy. CP Boost makes the Pokémon more powerful in Raids, Gym Battles, Team GO Rocket and Trainer Battles.
- Your buddy now wears a special ribbon indicating you’ve reached Best Buddy status.
Understanding Buddy Mood
Interacting with your buddy improves their Mood. Mood decreases over time, which requires you to keep interacting with your buddy to keep their Mood up.
There are five possible moods:
Excited, the most positive Mood, increases the number of possible Affection hearts you can earn that day. While your buddy is Excited, you’ll see double heart icons next to each activity. The walking distance required to collect a Candy will also be reduced while your buddy is Excited.
Berries and Buddy mood
Feeding your Buddy Berries will fill up its Hunger meter. As time goes on, your Buddy will get hungry and its mood will reduce. There are 6 segments in the Hunger meter and each segment lasts for 30 minutes. Your Buddy will deplete the entire Hunger meter in 3 hours.
Depending on the type of Berry you use, the Hunger meter will fill up differently:
- Razz Berry, Pinap Berry and Nanab Berry grant 2 bars (lasts 1 hour)
- Golden Razz Berry and Silver Pinap Berry grant 6 bars (lasts 1.5 hours)
Swapping out your Buddy will make it Hungry instantly, which can be useful to quickly collect Affection Hearts for this category. Be careful, as walking distance will be reset on swap.
Your Buddy will become hungry even if the game is not running.
Poffin is a new premium item that fills your buddy’s hunger meter automatically and boosts their Mood to Excited. Poffins can be purchased from the Shop using 100 PokéCoins. Poffin will also keep your Buddy full, stay on the Map, and stay Excited for longer (early research suggests 6 hours).
Although it’s not necessary to buy Poffins, if you plan to level up multiple Buddies at the same time, it could be useful to have a few in your inventory.
Buddy Find Locations explained
Ultra Buddies get a “Find Locations” bonus which is quite confusing to new players. Here’s what that actually means (source):
“Your buddy may draw your attention to a nearby PokéStop they find interesting. If you visit the PokéStop and spin its Photo Disk while there is an indicator above the PokéStop, you will earn bonus items and an Affection heart in the “Bonus” category.”
Additional notes and mechanics
- You can swap up to 20 Pokémon per day.
- You only need your buddy in the line up for the battle, and you don’t even need to complete the battle to get the heart, you can just quit as soon as it starts.
- Souvenirs are cosmetic items only
Credits for this guide go to various Reddit posts, Niantic’s Support article and reports by GO Hub’s Discord members: 1, 2, 3, 4.