It has some cool tech
Remember when I talked about ordering a Z-Ring for Pokemon Sun and Moon? Well I wasn’t joking — it arrived over the weekend and I’ve been putting it through its paces!
Alongside of some really janky instructions (which incorrectly identify the modes on the ring’s only switch, and don’t explain how the toy actually works), the basic $30 kit comes with the ring shell, three Z-Crystals (fire, water, and grass, one for each of the starters), and a small Pikachu toy. It essentially replicates the actual Z-Ring in-game, which is granted to your character for story purposes, and allows you to use “once per match” Z-Moves if you equip your Pokemon with the appropriate Z-Crystal.
But beyond that, it has a way to interact directly with the game using some clever technology — sound cues. Yep, by utilizing a Z-Move in Sun or Moon, the toy will pick up on it, and will light up and make noises appropriately. It’ll not only make sounds, but vibrate as well in time with the game’s Z-Move. It’s neat, but doesn’t amount to much if you’re using more useful items like Amulet Coins or Soothe Bells and can’t actually perform Z-Moves consistently. You also have the limitation of not playing with headphones, since the toy can’t possibly pick up the sound. It has options for “role playing” (where you can trigger the sounds from the toy directly) and a “3DS mode” that uses the aforementioned sound-scanning tech.
The ring itself is also a little cheap looking and could stand to be a little looser (it detaches so you can slip it onto your arm, but will only fit kids), but I dig the design that allows you to house additional crystals on the side (which of course are sold separately beyond the three you get with the kit). Pikachu also does nothing in particular and just looks cute on your desk.
It’s…a thing you can buy, even if I wouldn’t recommend it.
[This assessment is based on retail hardware purchased by the writer.]