The villainous Team Rocket organization is appearing in Pokémon GO with their latest plan – a hot air balloon invasion!
Hot Air balloons stamped with the giant R logo have been appearing directly on the map in Pokémon GO every six hours. Each balloon hovers in an area for a limited time. Tapping a balloon initiates a battle with a Team Rocket member and their powerful shadow pokémon.
Players battle using their entire battle party like a gym or raid battle. If you win, you have a chance at rescuing their pokémon.
By equipping certain items you can spawn specific members of Team Rocket, or even the leader Giovanni. Equipping a Rocket Radar should make Sierra, Cliff, or Arlo appear, while a Super Rocket Radar will summon Giovanni.
The original Team Rocket duo of Jesse and James can be found in a Mewoth-themed balloon. The duo can be battled and you can obtain their shadow pokémon Ekans and Koffing, including shiny versions.
The GO Fest Weekly Battle Challenge begins today, and runs through Wednesday, July 15. During the challenge, the spawn rate of Team Rocket Balloons has been doubled (every 3 hours), and the Meowth balloon is more common. Poison and Dark-type pokémon are also appearing more often in the wild and in raids.