Pokemon Smile is a brand new mobile AR game specifically designed to help kids have fun while brushing their teeth. And it works…or at least it did for my two and a half year old son! Just look at that smile in the featured image up top.
Thankfully my son has never had much issue with teeth brushing. When he was an infant he giggled at it tickling his gums and never minded at all, it’s always been a bit of a game for him. So, he may not be the most pertinent use case (the trailer is clearly communicating that Pokemon Smile is designed to entice kids that hate teeth brushing) but it still got him smiling and having fun all the same. So I’ll count it. And it’s not like I have any other kids I can test this on right now.
When you first launch Pokemon Smile you’ll customize things like picking a starting Pokemon (either Pikachu, Eevee, Charmander, Squirtle, or Bulbasaur) and then customize your settings like how long you want the timer to last during brushes. You can also setup mobile push notifications to remind you up to three times per day to brush.
Each time you brush your teeth (or, ideally, have your kid brush their teeth) it sticks a cute Pokemon-themed hat on your head using your phone’s camera and counts down while their Pokemon is fighting off purple plaque clouds all around a mouth. In the bottom right corner is a map of teeth, highlighting areas to focus on. My kid is too young to understand all this or read, so he just kind of went crazy and it seemed to work fine.
While brushing his teeth, his Eevee (best starter Pokemon, prove me wrong!) was fighting off the clouds while I encouraged him to keep going and to scrub faster. On-screen prompts do the same for kids that can read on their own.
After the battle was over he was rewarded with: a digital sticker, a new AR hat, and also with the opportunity to try and catch a Pidgeoto (or maybe it was a Pidgey? It’s hard to tell with this chibi art style) but it failed. Maybe if he had been able to follow the prompts more he could have caught it? We may never know.
All in all this is barely AR — it’s just a camera filter like Instagram — but it’s still at least interactive and targeted at something positive and fun for kids. I’ll keep using it and see what else we can unlock over time.