Hi Trainers. With its immersive gameplay and interactive features, Pokémon GO fosters a unique bond between players and their virtual Pokémon partners. One of the standout features that deepen this connection is the Buddy System, allowing trainers to embark on adventures, earn rewards, and strengthen the bond with their chosen Pokémon companions. In this article, we will explore how Buddy Interactions work in Pokémon GO and how they enhance the overall gameplay experience.
Choosing Your Buddy
In Pokémon GO, trainers have the opportunity to choose a single Pokémon as their buddy. This selection is not only a personal preference but also a strategic decision, as the buddy will accompany the trainer throughout their journey and a best buddy will benefit from boosted CP. Trainers can change their buddy at any time, offering flexibility to adapt to different gameplay goals and objectives. Trainers can choose their buddy by clicking on the Pokémon in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen and then scrolling down to ‘Swap buddies’. You can swap your Buddy a maximum of 20 times per day.
The primary activity between trainers and their buddies revolves around walking. By taking steps in the real world, trainers can accumulate distance in the game, which unlocks various rewards and benefits. Each Pokémon requires a specific distance to find Candy (see buddy distance chart), an essential resource for evolving and powering up Pokémon. The distances vary between Pokémon species, ranging from 1 km to 20 km or more.
The buddy system incorporates a levelling mechanism that deepens the bond between trainers and their Pokémon buddies. As trainers accumulate distance by walking together, they progress through four buddy levels: Good Buddy, Great Buddy, Ultra Buddy, and Best Buddy. Each level unlocks additional perks and benefits for both the trainer and the Pokémon.
These perks include:
When reaching the Best Buddy level, Pokémon can occasionally become “excited.” During this time, they provide additional bonuses, such as reduced distance requirements for Candy, increased chances of finding Souvenirs, and an enhanced attack boost during Gym and Raid battles.
As trainers walk with their buddies, there is a chance of finding unique Souvenirs associated with the Pokémon species. These items can be collected and used to decorate the trainer’s in-game profile.
Buddies occasionally photobomb the trainer’s snapshots, providing entertaining and memorable moments. These photobombs can include other Pokémon from the same evolutionary line, adding an element of surprise and delight to the interaction.
1 affection heart required
- Adventuring Buddy means that your buddy can appear in the overworld with you.
- Readable Mood means that you can tell how happy your buddy is. There’s a scale of moods depending on how many points the buddy has. Interacting with your buddy provides points and improves their mood.
Above are the readable moods from Normal (left) to excited (right)
70 affection hearts required
- Catch Assist is seen when catching wild Pokémon. If your Poke Ball bounces off of the wild Pokémon because it attacked, there’s a small chance that your buddy Pokémon will appear in the encounter and hit the Poke Ball back at the wild Pokémon.
- Finding Presents indicates that the buddy Pokémon will start bringing presents for you to open. The present will contain an item like a Poke Ball, a Potion, or a Sticker. You’ll know you’ve received a present because it appears on their buddy menu as a leafy satchel.
150 affection hearts required
- Finding Locations means that your buddy will start telling you when they find a location that interests them. This appears on the map in the form of a special indicator. If you visit that PokéStop or Gym, you get bonus items when spinning it and an Affection Heart with your buddy.
- Finding Souvenirs is similar to Finding Presents. It means that the leafy pouch they present to you might include a souvenir of your time together, instead of an item.
300 affection hearts required
- CP Boost means that any time this Pokémon is set as your buddy, it will have a higher CP during battles. The CP Boost is equivalent to powering up the Pokémon twice. In the case of a Pokémon with maxed-out CP, it will still add CP to their total as if you were one level higher than the maximum player level.
- Best Buddy Ribbon is exactly what it sounds like: the Pokémon wears a brightly coloured ribbon on their body indicating their Best Buddy status. If you don’t like the way this looks, check your settings. There’s an option to disable them.
How to Earn Affection Hearts
Give your Buddy a Treat
If your buddy is not on the map, you can give them a ‘quick treat’ which does not make use of the AR system. Feeding them a razz berry, pinap berry or nanab berry will fill up ⅓ of their hunger bar. A golden razz berry or silver pinap berry will fill the bar. If your buddy is on the map, you will need to click ‘Play!’ and then tap on the yellow dots on the screen to bring your buddy out in AR mode. Up to 3 hearts a day can be earnt from giving your buddy a treat.
With your buddy in AR mode, the following gestures can be used to play with your buddy:
- Tap on the Pokémon (it will perform its Charged Attack).
- Double tap on the Pokémon (it will perform its Fast Attack).
- Swipe to the left or right (it will spin around).
- Slowly swipe across the Pokémon (it behaves as if it is being patted).
1 heart can be earnt every day by playing together.
Take a Snapshot
With your buddy in AR mode, press the camera button in the bottom middle to take a picture of your buddy. This will save into your camera roll. 1 heart can be earnt every day by taking a snapshot.
Once you have given your buddy a treat and filled up its hunger bar, your buddy will stay on the map for 3 hours. Hearts can be earned for every 2km walked, for a maximum of 6km.
You can earn 3 hearts a day by battling with your buddy. This can be having your buddy in a team when you are battling in gyms, against other trainers, in raids, in training or against Team GO Rocket grunts or leaders. I find it most efficient to enter a training battle with your buddy in your team and exit in the top left and repeat two more times.
Visit a New Place
If you spin a new Pokéstop when your buddy is out on the map, this will count as a new place. 1 heart can be earnt every day by visiting a new place.
Follow a Route Together
1 heart can be earnt every day by following a route. You can see a list of nearby Routes by tapping on the bar below the Binoculars menu and tapping on the Route tab. This will show you nearby locations that serve as Route start points. Tap the See Nearby Routes to expand the map and see a list of available Routes.
You can earn 6 bonus affection hearts a day. These are gained through the following actions:
- 1 heart – Your buddy bringing you a souvenir
- 1 heart – Your buddy bringing you a present
- 1 heart – Visiting a PokéStop or gym that your buddy wants to visit
- 1 heart – Spinning a fully powered up Pokéstop
- 2 hearts – Syncing your sleep data through the Pokémon GO Plus+ device.
Buddies can only find presents after it has reached ‘Great buddy’ and souvenirs and places of interest after ‘Ultra buddy’.
Some trainers that are working on research or medals have multiple buddies ‘in rotation’ so that they can reach Best Buddies with more Pokémon faster. This is done by swapping out their buddy to a new one. Each time the player swaps out their buddy the hunger bar resets to empty, which allows them to get all the treat hearts for the day very quickly.
Use of Poffins for Buddies1× Poffin
You can earn more hearts per day with your buddy by feeding it a poffin. A poffin is an in-game item that can be bought from the shop for 100 coins or rewarded through research and its only use is with buddies. Upon feeding your buddy a poffin, your buddy’s mood raises to ‘excited’ and its hunger bar will go up fully. Benefits of using a poffin include:
- Double the amount of hearts can be earnt, making levelling up quicker. A maximum of 32 hearts can be earnt a day
- Halves the distance needed to earn candies walking with your buddy
- Your buddy will stay on the map for 6 hours
Getting your Buddy Excited Without a Poffin
It is possible to get your buddy excited without the use of a poffin, however, although it is free the process is time-consuming. This uses the readable mood and points system introduced earlier. You must collect 32 ’emotional points’ from performing various activities, but you cannot do them at once – each individual activity has a 30 minute cooldown, with the exception of walking.
There is a decay of 1 point per 30 minutes, but if you perform any activity (even if it’s the same as one previously) it’ll reset. This means that this process takes just over 1.5 hours, with constant attention on the clock, to achieve.
Check out this graphic, by ThePokeGOHunter
The Buddy System in Pokémon GO offers trainers a unique and rewarding way to engage with their Pokémon companions. Walking together, earning Candy, unlocking perks, and strengthening the bond between the trainer and Pokémon add depth and personalisation to the gameplay experience. Whether it’s powering up a favourite Pokémon, collecting rare Souvenirs, or enjoying the excitement of photobombs, buddy interactions enrich the journey of trainers in Pokémon GO, fostering a sense of camaraderie and adventure with their virtual partners. So, grab your phone, choose a buddy, and embark on an unforgettable journey in the world of Pokémon GO!