It’s been a whopping four years since Pokémon Sleep was announced, in the wake of the Pokémon Company’s success with Pokémon Go. For a while everyone thought the bizarre sleep tracking app would disappear into the dustbin of vaporware history, but there’s a brand-new ‘gameplay’ trailer and an approximate release date of late July.
We put gameplay in italics because this isn’t a game. It’s a sleep-tracking app with a Pokémon skin. The app pairs you with the snooze-loving Snorlax. You increase your bond with the giant oaf by, you’ll never guess, sleeping. Getting a good night’s sleep increases your score and allows Snorlax to siphon “drowsy power” from your poor, lifeless husk. In return, more tired Pokémon visit and gift you rare sleep styles. Rinse and repeat until your “Sleep Style Dex” is filled to the brim. Gotta catch 'em all.
You can also moderately increase your bond with Snorlax by feeding it berries and specialized drinks, but that won’t bring exhausted Pokémon like Slowpoke and Diglett to your “sleep island.” That requires rest and accurate sleep tracking.
To that end, the sleep tracking capabilities seem fairly robust, leveraging your phone’s microphone and accelerometer sensors to see how much you toss and turn or if you snore. Your personal sleep style seems to inform which pocket monsters come to visit. For instance, if you toss and turn all night, expect Togepi to impart its “Rocking Sleep” style. If you snore, Jigglypuff will offer a song via its signature “Singing Sleep” style. The company hasn’t noted which Pokémon comes to visit if you lay in bed all night staring at your phone surrounded by potato chips, nor have they stated why a sleep tracker took over four years to develop.
The app is a walled-garden and doesn’t integrate with any fitness tracking or sleep tracking apps. It does, however, pair up with the Pokémon Go Plus bracelet, letting users begin sleep tracking by pushing a button on the device. Using the bracelet also encourages a rare visit from a nightcap-wearing Pikachu. A bracelet costs around $30 and the forthcoming Pokémon Sleep is a free app.