Pokemon Go battles are a whole lot better now

Niantic says it has also revamped the appraisal system. And you'll soon be able to catch shiny Mudkip and a Straw Hat Pikachu.

Sean Keane Former Senior Writer
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Sean Keane
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Battling in Pokemon Go is getting better as the latest update rolls out.


Pokemon Go's dull trainer battles were all about tapping the screen to power up your Charged Attacks, but developer Niantic has spiced things up with its latest update. Now you'll have to do some Fruit Ninja-style swiping to charge them, which sounds much more engaging. 

The mobile megahit's appraisal system has been improved, too -- you'll be able to see bars showing your Pokemon pals' Individual Values. The previous system was a little unclear, much meant lots of people resorted to IV calculator apps.

"Trainers, two feature revamps are coming to Pokemon Go!" Niantic tweeted. "We are rolling out an updated appraisal system to give you more detailed information on your Pokemon's stats, and will soon be updating the Charged Attack mechanic in Trainer Battles."

The update notes revealed that you'll also be able to battle Team Go Rocket grunts. You then can catch and purify shadow Pokemon they abandon -- basically adding a whole new gameplay element.

Niantic noted via email that the update is rolling out for iOS and Android, and CNET confirmed that it's available on iOS in the US and UK.

Watch this: Nintendo shows latest Pokemon game, Sword and Shield

If you're looking for more reason to jump back into Pokemon Go, there's a Mudkip Community Day on Sunday. The cute water-dweller first appeared as a starter in 2003's Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, and they'll spawn en-masse in Go from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. local time. You're more likely to run into a shiny Mudkip during this time, and evolving Marshtomp (its second form) up to an hour afterward the event will get you a Swampert with a special move.


Look at his little ears.


Also, those of you who like the sight of Pikachu in novelty hats (so, everyone) will get a chance to catch a new one from July 22-29. Straw Hat Pikachu will show up as part of a collaboration with One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda to support reconstruction work in his native Kumamoto, Japan, after a 2016 earthquake. You'll be able to buy your character a matching hat in the game's Style Shop.

Oda will also provide art for a statue of straw hat-wearing One Piece protagonist Monkey D. Luffy. That'll be a special PokeStop, but you'll have to go to Kumamoto to spin it. 

Do major updates or events like these make you more excited about Pokemon Go, or more likely to get back into it? Let us know in the comments.

First published on July 16 at 5:40 a.m. PT.
Updated on July 17 at 4:55 a.m. PT: Notes that the update is out in the US and UK, adds details of Mudkip event.

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