Pokemon Smile was an app I wanted to use from the start. No, not because I’m a Pokemaniac (I’ve played maybe a handful in my life; I’m not an RPG guy myself) but because it sounded so weird, yet genius, that I had to try it. So, how has my time with Pokemon Smile gone?

My initial impressions were… poor. The biggest problem with Pokemon Smile, hands down, is the camera. I use a Pixel 2 XL as my daily driver, and for some reason, the in-game camera is really dark. Like, I was just a silhouette in my living room dark. I tried the app out on my spare Nexus 6p (I’m a Google boy) and lo and behold, the camera’s lighting worked just as it should. The only problem is that it turns my picture upside-down, so it can’t recognize my face. I have never seen such bizarre compatibility issues before, and I think it goes without saying that your personal experience will vary.

Turning on all the lights in my small bathroom thankfully produced enough light for it on my Pixel, so I was off to brushing… sort of. The next hurdle to overcome was the motion tracking. Pokemon Smile tracks your toothbrush to make sure that you’re doing a good job brushing your teeth, ideally. In practice, it doesn’t work as well as it should. It often doesn’t pick up your brushing and tells you that you need to brush faster. I followed it’s instructions my first time (which led to the most tiring teeth-brushing experience I’ve ever had). Eventually, I realized that brushing faster doesn’t help at all. It all depends on whether the tracking cooperates with you or not.

Judging from what I’ve written thus far, you’d probably expect me to say to stay far away from Pokemon Smile, but I found myself actually enjoying the app after a few days. Yes, these issues make the experience less than ideal. Still, once I figured out angles for holding the brush that make the sensors pick up my brushing a bit more reliably, I really enjoyed brushing for Pokemon.

So there’s a huge conundrum here. Pokemon Smile’s main audience is kids, but I seriously doubt there are going to be many kids who will want to work through all the issues present. And even less who love Pokemon so much that they’re going to want to use this. On the other hand, I now genuinely enjoy it and have noticed my teeth feeling much cleaner since using it. That being said, I’d say give it a shot; you may find it becomes a new part of your routine.