Pokemon Go: How to Battle Jessie and James in the Meowth Balloon
The balloon needs to show up first...
Jessie and James made their Pokemon Go debut in July 2020. They appeared in the sky above trainers in a Meowth-shaped hot air balloon, and players could tap the balloon to challenge them to a battle. However, the duo from Team Rocket was only around for a limited time as part of the game’s ongoing Team Go Rocket storyline.
Now, Jessie and James have returned to Pokemon Go as part of the game’s Secrets of the Jungle event, which actually focuses heavily on the pair. Not only do Jessie and James guide players through the event’s Special Research (called “Distracted by Something Shiny”), but their Meowth balloon has also returned, giving players another chance to battle these characters (the duo can also appear as a Go Snapshot encounter).
Part 3 of the “Distracted by Something Shiny” Special Research asks trainers to defeat Jessie or James a total of four times. On paper, this is a pretty simple task to complete. You simply need to wait for the Meowth balloon to appear twice, and then defeat Jessie and James both times. However, many players have run into a snag that’s stopping them from completing this task: the Meowth balloon isn’t appearing.
According to users on The Silph Road subreddit, a hot air balloon can appear in Pokemon Go a maximum of four times per day (under normal circumstances): Once between midnight and 6 a.m. local time, once between 6 a.m. and noon local time, once between noon and 6 p.m. local time, and once between 6 p.m. and midnight local time. The first time you login to Pokemon Go during each of these four time windows, a balloon should appear (you may have to wait a short time for it to appear after you open the game).
During this Secrets of the Jungle event, each time a balloon appears, it has the chance to be the Meowth balloon containing Team Rocket. Otherwise, the balloon will contain a member of Team Go Rocket. While the Meowth balloon is technically appearing in the game during the Secrets of the Jungle event, it’s not appearing as often as players had expected, given that the event focuses on Jessie and James, and that its storyline specifically asks players to battle these characters. (We’ve personally only seen the balloon once.)
The Secrets of the Jungle event technically ends on December 17 at 10 p.m. local time. With such little time left in this event, players may be worried that Jessie and James (and their Meowth balloon) will also leave at this time, making it (at least temporarily) impossible to complete the event’s Special Research.
Thankfully, that isn’t the case. Niantic, the developer of Pokemon Go, confirmed that Jessie and James will be available to battle after the end of this event. In fact, on December 25 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, the Meowth balloon will appear more frequently than normal.
So, is there anything players can do to force the Meowth balloon to appear? Unfortunately not. Since the Meowth balloon will only appear by chance, your best bet is to make sure you login to Pokemon Go during the four six-hour periods each day (or during as many as you can), to give yourself more chances to encounter Team Rocket.
Have you completed the Distracted by Something Shiny Special Research in Pokemon Go? Let us know on Twitter at @superparenthq.