Almost three months after release, Pokémon Go has finally received its first significant update in the form of the much-anticipated buddy system. Available in patch 1.7 for iOS and 0.37 for Android, the buddy system lets you designate one of your Pokémon as a “buddy” that will acquire candy of its type after you travel a certain distance.
To choose a buddy, you simply click the player icon in the bottom left of the main screen and go to the menu on the bottom right to hit “buddy.” You’ll then be prompted to select a buddy from your Pokémon. Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to walk anywhere from 1 to 5 kilometers to earn a single candy. A full list of how many kilometers it takes to earn candies for specific Pokémon can be found here.
Essentially, the buddy system gives players another means to earn candies for Pokémon they otherwise would have struggled to evolve and power-up. If you’re anything like me, you probably have a fair number of Pokémon you’ve only caught once and never seen pop up again, so it’s good to see that there’s another way to, say, evolve a Charmander without hoping and praying that you’ll be fortunate enough to encounter many of them.
The only really disappointing thing about the buddy system is that, other than Pikachu, Pokémon don’t actually follow you around, instead being relegated to a little icon next to your player icon. Still, it’s hard to complain about a feature that finally provides a viable (though still arduous) way to evolve a Magikarp into a Gyarados. Only 400 km to go!