Pokémon Sleep was announced all the way back in 2019, wherein it left fans curious and excited to try a unique take on the simple and beloved idea of sleeping. Now Pokémon Sleep is here and I’ve had the chance to experience it for a little over a month since it launched in North America. Being an unusual app in how it functions, I wanted to do a month later rundown on what the app has to offer alongside the Pokémon Go Plus + device and even whether or not the premium service may be worth investing in. Today we’re diving into sleeping, napping, slumbering and everything in between to see just what Pokémon Sleep has in store for all.
Right away I should be clear that I love sleeping and always have since I was young. The idea of a Pokémon app that involved the simple beloved feat of sleeping was one that left me curious and excited. There are two main ways to experience Pokémon Sleep either using a smart phone or the aforementioned Pokémon Go Plus +. We’re gonna touch on that special little device later, but the first instance of “playing” Sleep was with a phone. It’s fortunately quick and easy to setup. After going through a short tutorial on the basics and getting a free Pikachu, the app is ready to be set into sleep mode. This simply requires the phone to be set face down (or face up) on a bed or other sleeping surface of choice and that’s it. Once up in the morning simply waking up the phone will automatically begin the sleep record from the previous night. From what I can tell phones will track two different things: movement and sound. Sound can be toggled to not record and isn’t a requirement to enjoy the app, and it may be worth turning off for those who listen to videos or have sound machines when they sleep as this can disrupt how the app collects sleep data. Otherwise the app will make a record of an individual’s movement throughout the night to grade if they were dozing, snoozing or slumbering at various points. For an adult the app suggests aiming for eight and a half hours of sleep while anyone under 18 it recommends getting 10 hours of sleep.
Every Monday players are given a Snorlax companion to take care of for the week. This Snorlax can be fed in order to help it grow larger, but that’s just during the day. The real fun begins when waking up in the morning after a good night’s rest. It might be silly to say, but there’s a component of excitement when going to sleep and waking up to see what Pokémon have shown up through the night. The Pokémon that appear depend on sleep achieved and Snorlax’s own sleep power. Every morning a good handful of Pokémon will show up with brand sleep styles that can be studied. Pokémon can have up to four sleep styles with the biggest goal being to try and see all of them. Once each sleeping Pokémon has been documented, players have the chance to befriend them using biscuits. Each Pokémon has a number of biscuit points needed to fill them up, and all biscuits have a set number of points they fulfill. Of the current biscuits in the game, Poke Balls offer one point, Great Balls three, the free bonus biscuit offers three or four and the Master Ball will of course be an automatic fill up when used.
Biscuits are bought from the shop with sleep points or diamonds that are earned for successful sleep sessions. The downside is that Pokémon can become full before they max out their food bar which unfortunately means they can’t be fed more to be befriended. For those who are concerned that this might mean wasted biscuits, don’t worry; if that same Pokemon appears again those earned points will remain intact on the next one as well. It’s worth noting that all Pokemon can also appear shiny and will always be hungry which allows them to gain bonus points from food, but being Shiny much like the mainline series doesn’t give them any additional benefits over other Pokemon.
Collecting Pokémon is a huge part of being able to progress further. Once a good group of Pokémon is collected five of them can be set on a team to help care for Snorlax. These helpers are able to offer three things: collect berries, collect ingredients and use abilities. Berries immediately are given to Snorlax to eat and gain strength while ingredients are added to the pack to use in cooking. Abilities depend on the Pokémon but will be randomly activated throughout the day in order to offer additional benefits. Cooking is one of the biggest keys to help Snorlax gain strength. Every week when the new Snorlax is met they have a certain food group they like being either curry, salad or desserts. The foods collected from Pokémon can go into making specific recipes for Snorlax to consume. Although any ingredients can be tossed in to make a rather simple dish, using the correct ingredients to create a special dish will offer more points than usual and will even level up individual dishes to allow them to gain more power over time.
Selecting a team around being able to make certain dishes for Snorlax is a key strategy once a team has been built up for it. The bigger Snorlax gets the more Pokémon can be recruited, so it’s best to aim for feeding and caring for them as much as possible before the week is up. Although it might sound like there’s a lot of moving parts going on, one of the best parts of Pokémon Sleep is just how little interaction it requires to play. At most the app needs to be opened once a day when going to sleep, but those who want to check in and feed Snorlax all their meals might check it three more times for each meal. It doesn’t require intense grinding or sitting around and playing to get far. It only needs a handful of minutes out of the day, which makes it a more casual approach that’s so welcome when compared to mobile titles that want people to grind nonstop.
With all the basics out of the way let’s dive into the content that requires more money from interested players. First and most simple is the Pokémon Go Plus +. This little device is the third in a family of devices that function with Pokémon Go, and the second to be intended for another game as well. The retail price of this device runs players $54.99 so its worth will depend on the individual. Since I got mine, however, I’ve used it every single day both in Pokémon Go and Sleep. For Go it acts as a way to catch Pokémon and spin Pokestop both actively or passively. The benefit for players is they can now freely select both Great or Ultra Balls to be used instead of exclusively just Poke Balls. It’s great to use when busy with other tasks but still wanting to catch Pokémon or get items at the same time. When heading for bed this handy little device can be used in place of a phone to set on the bed for sleep at night. This is a key reason to pick it up as there’s a benefit in not having to keep a bed on the phone all night. The device is easy to connect and setup, and when heading to bed all one has to do is hold down the button for a few seconds to get it started. There are a lot of options that can be setup on the Pokémon Go Plus + that carry over from the default version such as alarms, notifications and more which are unfortunately somewhat bugged at the moment but working on being fixed.
In my time using the Pokémon Go Plus + it has become integral and a huge part of enjoyment for the Sleep app. An adorable element of this device is that a little bonus companion lives inside it: Pikachu! When using the Sleep app with the Go Plus + players will obtain a special night cap Pikachu that will help supply items for Snorlax. This Pikachu also levels up as players sleep with the device more, making him a worthy longtime ally. The other painfully cute aspect is that the device itself will have Pikachu make noises. When heading to sleep Pikachu will have voice lines and even sing a lullaby once the user starts their sleep cycle. In the morning when pressed again to wake up, Pikachu will do a rendition of the Pokémon Center recovery theme to relate how refreshed they are in the morning. Pikachu is even the alarm in the morning to wake up to, ready to get his friends up for the day.
Although all these voices can also be toggled off, it’s been a surprisingly endearing and pleasant experience I didn’t expect. As someone who has loved Pokémon since she was young I had a wonderfully touching moment wherein I started the sleep cycle and as Pikachu began to sing his usual lullaby that I noticed sounded different. What happened then was Pikachu himself began to drift off in his singing as though he was falling asleep while trying to sing before slowly passing out and beginning to snore. It was immediate childhood nostalgia hitting me in that moment, the kid me that had so badly wanted Pokémon to be real and to be able to sleep alongside my favorite companions or even a Pikachu. Needless to say I may have gone out and bought an 18 inch Pikachu sleeping plush to snuggle up with beside after this happened because it hit me so hard.
So now that we’ve gotten the potentially helpful money spending peripheral out of the way, let’s discuss the premium currency and pass. As I wanted to offer a full rundown of what this app had to offer I decided to give the premium pass a whirl to see if what it had to offer was worth the up there price of $10 a month or $50 for six months. What exactly does someone get for being a part of this premium pass? Every day premium pass users get an extra 100 sleep points on top of what they earned for sleeping in addition to access to the premium exchange shop. This shop updates once a month with items available for a cheaper price than the usual shop and in this case is the only way to buy Great Balls as of writing. It does not offer Master Balls at a decreased cost, but does also have Handy Candy M and special Sub Skill and Main Skill seeds which level up a Pokémon skill by one. It also tracks unlimited sleep data instead of just the last 30 days.
Once a month on the premium pass players will receive 1000 sleep points and a Good Camp Set ticket which for a week after being used will have an extra Pokémon appear when waking up, the cooking pot will be larger and helpers will be able to assist better. Every three months on the service players will receive a Handy Candy L, which gives a select Pokémon 100 candies of its species, in addition to the aforementioned Sup and Main Skill seeds. As the app has not been out yet for three months I’ve not yet been able to receive these last gifts, but I’ve experienced the other bonuses of the pass. As it is, the price does seems high priced for what is actually given. Personally I don’t see a lot of value in unlimited sleep data when it’s not as accurate as other sleeping trackers that are based off of a person’s pulse. There’s also a journal option when on the premium service but it’s not something I see myself using either as what is there to really say? I suppose it’s nice for those who love to journal, but I feel like they would likely have a better alternative to the Pokémon Sleep app for writing things like this down.
The premium currency in Pokémon Sleep is diamonds, but there are ways for players to still earn some without spending money. The key usage for this currency is the ability to expand Pokémon, ingredient and item storage. It does have a lot of other purposes, but I’d be wary of any of them due to their high price. The lowest amount players can spend to buy diamonds is $1.19 for 60 diamonds which won’t even afford the player a single poke ball biscuit. Poke Ball biscuits in the premium shop are 180 diamonds, so players would be spending a minimum of $3 for a single Poke Ball. On the flip side this premium shop is the only other place to buy Great Balls which are available for 600 diamonds. Players can spend $10.99 for 620 diamonds which could afford one Great Ball and nothing else. Needless to say, never spend hard earned free diamonds on these Poke Balls as they’re far too expensive. This is the place players can purchase Good Camp Tickets which are useful, but they’re still a whopping 500 diamonds to get, so it’s best worth weighing all the options before picking anything up that isn’t expansion items. Premium currency in most mobile titles is notoriously bad, but it’s abysmal how expensive everything in this shop is for diamonds compared to the price. Nearly $100 will get a player 7000 diamonds, which is enough for for 11 great balls which is the most expensive item in the shop that isn’t a limited bundle. That’s one Great Ball more than just outright buying one for $10 a piece. A person’s money would be better spent on the premium pass than this regrettable premium currency economy. It makes Pokémon Go look like its economy is brilliantly constructed. This economy is likely not to change at all, so I would fully recommend people simply collect their free diamonds for upgrades because otherwise Sleep will be tearing through wallets.
Since I started playing, I’ve enjoyed experiencing Pokémon Sleep. For players hoping to get something with more gameplay out of it, Sleep won’t be for them. Anyone wanting a more passive and simplistic experience will likely enjoy how hands-off this app is and how little investment it requires to fully enjoy. It’s something recommended to Pokémon fans or even just people who have a mild passing interest and are looking for something else to check on throughout the day and before bed. There’s still a lot of room to improve with my biggest hope being we get slews of new Pokémon added in addition to some of the bugs being currently worked on according to patch notes. If anything my biggest takeaway is that Pokémon Sleep was well worth the wait as it makes it so there’s always something to look forward to in the morning when waking up.