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Pokémon Smile impressions for iOS, Android


Platform: iOS, Android
Publisher: The Pokémon Company
Developer: The Pokémon Company
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-3

I don’t like admitting this, but I’ve always been borderline neglectful of my oral hygiene. Many a nights I would pass out for the night without brushing or waking and eating without brushing. After seeing my father have all his teeth removed because of his years of neglect have definitely made me reevaluate my laziness when it comes to dental care. Water picks, mouthwash and even a “swear jar”-like solution are steps that I’ve taken in an attempt to ensure I enter my twilight years with a majority of my teeth intact. So when today’s Pokémon Presents lead with Pokémon Smile, even though I doubt I was the intended audience, color me intrigued.

Nintendo has had a weird history of putting out software which promotes good health. Wii Fit, Ring Fit Adventure and even a proposed heart beat sensor, the big N has never been shy about releasing oddball software. So it’s not quite shocking to see one of their child companies follow in the trend. Pokémon Smile is a mobile app that hopes to help children develop good oral hygiene behavior using their child friendly IP.

Using your mobile device’s front facing camera, the app scans and judges the effectiveness of your brushing. The amount of time you can set to brush can be as low as a minute, or as long as three minutes. During this timeframe, the app will instruct you on where to brush and on screen your partner Pokémon will help clear the grime in the onscreen teeth. The app will tell you to brush better if it detects that you’ve slowed down or aren’t brushing vigorously enough. Once the brushing is done you have an opportunity to catch a Pokémon. Mine was still covered in a thick purple film…perhaps it was the app’s way of telling me I didn’t brush well enough and lo and behold, the creature broke loose after I threw my pokéball at it. Saddened, I opted to cheer myself up by decorating one of the photos the app took during my brushing session.

After the photo is done you can visit your hat gallery to view your collected hats, your pokédex to see your Pokémon (…if I had any!). The app will reward consistency and rewards include stickers, frames, and new hats that will adorn the player as they brush. Anyone who’d like to brute force their Pokémon collecting are out of luck as the app seems to impose a 4 hour cooldown period before you can brush again.

I will reiterate, I am absolutely certain that a 39 year old is not the intended audience for this app. With that said, my qualms with the app is the order in which one brushes is kind of all over the place, perhaps this is to keep kids engaged, it’s hard to say. The app probably does not take into consideration those who utilize electric toothbrushes, so I found the brush I used (a Quip…and no I’m not sponsored) ended its run cycle earlier than the app’s.

All and all it’s an interesting piece of software which I doubt will be on the main page of twitch, but if it helps children appreciate and build good oral hygiene habits, you can’t complain. There’s nothing to purchase and the app sends usage data back to The Pokémon Company, I’m not sure what they can do with it. Give it a shot if you have kids or if you need some kind of carrot to keep brushing your teeth…now I wonder if they’ll release a flossing or a mouth washing addon.