Pokemon GO's anticipated new buddy system rolled out over the last few days. Yesterday, everybody received access to patch 1.7 for iOS and 0.37 for Android. Now, when you walk around and collect Pokemon, you can choose a "buddy" Pokemon that acquires candy of its Pokemon type after you hit certain distance benchmarks. Pokemon GO
Here's how it works: Click your player icon on the bottom left of the main screen and go to the menu on the bottom right. Then, hit "buddy". There, you'll have the option to choose a "buddy" Pokemon. Once selected, you must walk somewhere between one and five kilometres to earn a piece of candy for that Pokemon. Bulbasaur, for example, needs to walk 3km to earn a Bulbasaur candy. A master list of buddy Pokemons' candy-per-kilometre stats can be found here.
(To evolve a Bulbasaur into an Ivysaur, you'll need to walk about 75km. To evolve that Ivysaur into a Venusaur, 300km should do the trick — a bit over the distance from Sydney to Canberra.)
It's like you're Ash exploring the world with Pikachu, except (disappointingly) you can't actually see the Pokemon following you around. The monster appears in a little icon next to your player icon, unless it's actually Pikachu, who — true to form — does walk with you.
The buddy system solves the issue of not encountering enough unique Pokemon to evolve one you already caught. If you travelled somewhere and caught an Oddish, what if you returned home and found yourself in an Oddish desert? Now, you can assign Oddish to be your buddy, and — slowly — evolve him without needing to hunt down too many more Oddishes.
Along with the new buddy system, Pokemon GO's latest update "made it easier to select smaller Pokemon on the screen", fixed an issue where eggs hatched without an egg-hatching animation and added support for Pokemon GO Plus, a wrist companion accessory that lets you catch Pokemon and collect items without using your phone.