Pokemon Go finally has a villain, and it’s not bad cell coverage in your favorite town or city. The still-massively popular mobile game continues to evolve, and a new battle mode and research challenges that let you fight Team Rocket.
“A Troubling Situation” came with the latest update of Pokemon Go on Friday that has the villainous organization of basically every Pokemon game causing trouble in the real world. Certain PokeStops are now corrupted in the game with Grunts from Team Rocket camping out at the stops. When you spin the stop’s disc, that member challenges you to a 3v3 battle.
If you win the battle — which is relatively easy if you’re a higher level trainer — the Team Rocket member leaves behind a Pokemon you can catch, Raid Battle-style, with the number of special PokeBalls you get determined by a number of factors. Actually catching the Shadow Pokemon is a bit harder than winning the battle, and all of that is necessary to finish the new research challenges that come with the update. Once the Shadow Pokemon (they have red eyes and a special mark on them to differentiate) are caught, you can “purify” them, which teach them a new attack and make them a bit stronger.
It’s a nice little minigame in what’s become an engaging mobile game now in its fourth year, while Niantic’s new launch based on the Harry Potter universe has struggled to scale the massive popularity of its Pokemon-branded offshoot of its AR property.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Pokemon Go is still the second highest-grossing mobile game on the market, and it’s because it keeps adding fun tweaks to keep players interested. Whether purified Pokemon will really be a factor in raid battles and defending gyms is a bit too early to tell, but it’s fun to quote Purple Rain while you spend a few candy to get the evil out of your newly captured digital friends.