The latest "Pokemon Go" update is spicing things up with the introduction of the new buddy system feature. This feature gives trainers the ability to designate a Pokemon as their "buddy" and earn extra candies while playing the game. Upon learning this, the next question any good trainer will undoubtably ask is "Can you have more than one "Pokemon Go" buddy?" While I like your optimism, the simple answer is sadly, no. Trainers are only allowed to elect one active buddy at a time, and earn candies for that specific Pokemon type. You do have the ability to switch buddies as many times as you want... but we will get to that later.
For those who are unfamiliar with the new feature, you can choose a Pokemon buddy by clicking on your trainer portrait, which brings up your main trainer profile. Tap on the circle with the three stacked lines in the lower righthand corner to bring up the "Buddy" option. From there you can choose one fave 'mon from your Pokedex and begin an adventure together. Each buddy earns candies for reaching designated distances. Depending on your preferred strategy, these candies can be used to power-up your strongest Pokemon for their next gym battle, or evolve one of your "rare" Pokemon, filling out the ol' Pokedex. You can switch buddies at any point by bringing up your buddy's profile (Trainer profile > Trainer menu > Buddy), and tapping the circle in the lower right hand corner with the two opposing arrows. Be sure to only switch after reaching a distance goal or your progress will be lost!
The more powerful the Pokemon, the farther you have to walk to earn a candy. Lower-tier Pokemon such as Weedles and Pidgeys receive one candy for every kilometer walked. A few coveted Pokemon such as Pikachu, Raichu, Geodude and Clefairy are also included on this level and make excellent buddies for fast candy return. Starter 'mons such as Charmander, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur make you work harder for that sweet candy — earning one for every three kilometers walked. Finally, if you want to evolve a Dratini or power-up your Vaporeon, you may need to invest in some good sneakers, as you will be walking five whole kilometers for one measly candy. Check out this complete list of Pokemon to find out how far your Pokebud has to walk to earn a candy.
While it's true that it will take a lot of walking to see any serious payoff (in some cases, hundreds of miles), many trainers are happy to have another technique at their disposal. Personally, I find it a relief to no longer have to entirely rely on the randomness of hunting Pokemon in the wild or hatching a good egg to get those precious candies. Some have complained that the candy payoff is remarkably low for the amount of walking required. (In order to evolve a Charmander into a Charizard purely using the buddy system I would have to walk 233 miles.) If you think of the buddy system as a way to earn "free candy" instead of a means to an end, then you will feel better about having Pikachu trail along behind you.
Images: Screenshots/"Pokemon Go," giphy