This is the Pokéwalker. It’s a rather neat little piece of hardware which comes bundled with Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver. With the Pokéwalker, you’re capable of transferring a Pokémon over to it from your game. You have to have at least one Pokémon in your box before you can do this, but other than that, its use is available from the get-go. The Pokéwalker menu accessible from the main menu and is the third on the list of options.
Very simply, the Pokéwalker is like a pedometer. When you first open the box, it has the plain backing already attached, but also comes with an additional backing with a clip attachment. I wouldn’t actually recommend putting it on your belt, though, as it’s a rather tight fit there. Instead, I personally choose just to clip it to my pocket, which works just as well. If you examine the Pokéwalker, you’ll find at first that the counter seems a little awkward, although you’ll later realize that it actually works very nicely. Of course, you can also just shake it instead of walking with it to build up steps on it, but it’s difficult if you don’t know how to shake it the right way.
As you walk, you’ll build up steps (obviously), which actually has the added bonus of letting you find rarer Pokémon and items with the Pokéwalker. The step counter is reset at midnight each day (it has an internal clock which is synced with your DS when you connect it to your game). You also built up Watts as you walk, and these are very essential for making full use of many of the Pokéwalker’s features. Unlike the step counter, these are retained until you connect with your game again.
There are two major tools that can be used on the Pokéwalker. The first is a Pokéradar. It costs 10 Watts to use it, but this is how you’ll find Pokémon on the ‘walker. Four patches of grass will show up and a number of exclamation points will appear over one of them. Selecting that patch and clicking the center button may activate a battle, although sometimes you’ll be required to select patches again before a battle will start. Rarer Pokémon may appear after you’ve taken a large number of steps and require you to select more patches in a row. The battle system is quite simple. You have Attack (left arrow), Dodge/Counter (right arrow), and Pokéball (center button). It’s worth noting that it’s possible for the Pokémon to run (it will escape if you dodge, and take a critical hit if you attack), and if you fail to capture the Pokémon it will also run away. Each Pokémon only has 4 hit points. It’s shockingly simple though with little worries of type matchups or anything like that.
The other major action is using the Item Finder. It costs 3 Watts each time you use it. Six patches of grass show up on the screen, and you can choose two of them. Only one item is in the patches of the grass. If you fail finding it the first time, you will be informed that the item is either close (Japanese: ちかくに はんのう) or far (Japanese: とおくに はんのう), which should help you improve your chances of finding the item.
The Pokéwalker is also nice as it helps increase your Pokémon’s level and happiness. You get some bonus Watts when your Pokémon’s happiness goes up, however levels won’t be awarded until after you’ve transferred your Pokémon back to the DS. The downside to raising levels with the Pokéwalker though is that your Pokémon won’t learn moves or evolve by leveling up upon returning from the Pokéwalker, which can cause some troubles if you try to rely on it for levels (which you shouldn’t, as it’s not very fast anyways, just nice for the passively obtained experience). Also, if you meet someone else with a Pokéwalker, you can exchange items and Pokémon which you’ve obtained on them.
When you first start with the Pokéwalker you only have access to two areas, and most of the Pokémon and items available there are relatively common. There also isn’t a large selection of Pokémon available in each area although this makes it a little easier to single out which area to go to if you’re looking for a specific Pokémon. When you connect the Pokéwalker to your game again, Pokémon and items which you obtained will be transfered to your game, as well as any Watts you built up. The number of Watts obtained is recorded on the game, and when you’ve built up enough excess Watts new areas will become available. A few areas are also available through Nintendo events, and these areas often contain Pokémon who are either very difficult or impossible to obtain otherwise, frequently knowing rare attacks. Yellow Forest is one example, and so far has been the only Pokéwalker area to be released through a WiFi event. Only Pikachu are available in Yellow Forest, but some of them know rare moves that they may not be able to learn otherwise, including certain egg moves, Surf and Fly.
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