Video game publisher and console maker Nintendo has been on something of a Pokémon winning streak lately. The franchise, which is celebrating its 20th Anniversary, recently scored a big win with the launch of Pokémon GO for iPhone and Android users. Part of that game’s allure is that it’ll be updated with support for a wearable accessory to break down the mental barrier between playing the game and participating in a real life game. Turns out Gamefreak and Nintendo plan to pull off a similar trick with Pokémon Sun and Moon this November. The wearable trinket for those games is called the Pokémon Z-Ring.
Pokémon Z-Ring works with a matching mechanic in the games. Using the power of the Pokémon Z-Ring, players can unlock powerful, animated moves to devastate rival creatures and gain an edge over wild Pokémon attacking them. At first, Nintendo was content to only reveal Pokémon Z-Ring in a video on YouTube. Since that announcement, more details about the accessory, including its price, have arrived. Pokémon Z-Ring pre-orders have surfaced too.
Pokémon Z-Ring & Z-Moves Explained
The Pokémon franchise has dominated handheld role-playing games for years now. Gamefreak and Nintendo haven’t managed that by accident. Each new game is familiar enough that lovers of the franchise stick around. They love capturing and training creatures, getting some new Pokémon to train and capture is just icing on the cake for them.
The two also have to deliver mechanics never seen in a Pokémon game before. Sometimes these mechanics are shallow, but they have to show that the series is evolving for each new generation. New creatures wouldn’t be enough to do that. That’s how we ended up with Pokémon Eggs, baby Pokémon and a Night and Day system in the franchise.
Pokémon Z-Rings are all about enabling Z-Moves. Z-Moves are devastating attacks for each Pokémon in your line-up. To enable these attacks, Trainers need Z-Crystals for that particularly type of Pokémon. For example, there are Electric, Water and Fire Z-Crystals for players to collect. Nintendo says that Z-Moves can only be used once in a battle, but that they deal tremendous amounts of damage.
The Z-Ring has one active Crystal, while being able to store other elemental Crystals.
The real-life Pokémon Z-Ring flashes and glows as Z-Moves are used. In that way, the bracelet helps breakdown the wall between what’s happening in the game and what Trainers are experiencing like with Pokemon GO. The version of the Z-Ring that gamers can buy in store also has slots for inactive Z-Crystals and slots for active Z-Crystals.
Pokémon Z-Ring Pre-Orders
We now know that the real-life Pokémon Z-Ring is being produced by Tomy International. It’ll connect to the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 2DS wirelessly to sync the sounds, vibrations and lights perfectly with what’s happening in the game. Inserting a Z-Crystal into the physical Z-Ring reveals what type of Pokémon it empowers. All of that information comes from the Pokémon Z-Ring pre-orders page now available at retailer GameStop.
To be clear, Z-Ring doesn’t necessarily require users to own a copy of Pokémon Sun and Moon to function. The device has a role-play mode. It can flash and make sounds without being paired to the game.
GameStop kicked off Pokémon Z-Ring pre-orders earlier this year, promising anyone that purchases the accessory an arrival date on November 18th. Amazon is taking Z-Ring pre-orders now too, but it’s not expecting to deliver the accessory until November 23rd.
The device comes with 3 Z-Crystals, plus space for more. Tomy is also giving users that purchase the Pokémon Z-Ring a 2-inch tall Pikachu to add to their collection of mementos. The accessory users AAA batteries and includes a set to get players started.
Of course, Pokémon Sun and Moon will have many different types of Pokémon to choose from when it arrives in November, not just 3. To get more than the 3 Crystals that the Z-Ring comes with, players will need to go out and purchase packs of 3 Z-Crystals for $6.99. Each of the Crystals in these packs are randomly placed there. The Pokémon Z-Ring itself costs $32.99. For comparison, Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon pre-orders cost $39.99.
Why Placing Pokémon Z-Ring Pre-Orders is a Good Idea
To be absolutely clear, players need to have their in-game Trainers and Pokémon equipped with a Z-Crystal to use Z-Moves and the in-game Trainer also needs the Z-Ring. Players do not need the real-life Z-Crystals and Z-Ring to use Z-Moves. They’re more of a souvenir, something to make the game come alive for players. As such, you don’t have to rush out and place a Pokémon Z-Ring pre-order.
If you do plan on purchasing a Z-Ring for the game’s launch, you should absolutely place a pre-order now. If the quick sell out of the Pokémon GO Plus f has taught us anything, it’s that interactive items for this game franchise have a tendency to disappear quickly. If you wait until launch, you may not be able to find one.