Game: Pokemon GO
Platforms: ios, Android
Pokemon GO has been Live for close to twenty-four hours as of writing this, and I’ve spent a few hours driving around with friends searching for Pokemon and Pokemon gyms to challenge. It’s been a fun, strange afternoon. I’ve learned quite a bit during my time with the game, for starters, it’s incredibly humid on Long Island. Also, I need a better data plan.
So let’s break down what exactly Pokemon Go is. Pokemon GO is a mobile game for ios and Android devices; that uses GPS to track the players movements on a map screen as they discover and capture Pokemon in augmented reality. What does all that mean? To be honest, It’s all relatively straightforward. The player character is represented on the map by an avatar you design at the start. As you walk the avatar moves and can encounter random Pokemon. In order to engage with the creatures, you tap them. At this point it’s time to attempt and capture the little guys, no actual battling takes place here like in a typical Pokemon title. Instead, you only throw Pokeballs with a quick swipe.
While catching Pokemon is the main focus of the game, that’s not the only thing on the map. You also have Gyms, and Pokestops to worry about, I know what you’re thinking, “what the hell is a Pokestop?” well I’ll tell you. Pokestops are represented by a blue icon on your map, it’s usually a local landmark of some sort, for example, one of my stops is a local comedy club. If you’re close enough to one of these stops, you can tap it to spin a small icon to get some free items such as Pokeballs, potions, or eggs. These stops refresh every five minutes.
Pokemon Gyms, however, are shown with a much larger silver colored icon, just like Pokestops they’re usually placed at local landmarks a whole lot of churches are gyms oddly enough. If a gym is unoccupied, you can set a Pokemon there to defend it and gain bonuses every twenty-four hours for doing so. If the gym is already controlled by your own team you may add a Pokemon if they gym has an empty slot, this is determined by the gyms level. A level four gym can hold up to four Pokemon at a time while a level two can only hold, you guessed it, two. You can also raise one of your own team’s gyms level by battling it yourself. If a gym is controlled by an enemy team, however, you’ll have to beat the gyms leader before you can take it over, this is easier said than done as you’ll have to beat every Pokemon in that gym using only one of your own. On top of that, the battling isn’t quite as refined as your usual Pokemon game. It isn’t turn based so the best advice I can give is to tap as fast as you can and hope for the best.
I spent a long day, beginning at around one in the afternoon and ending at about two in the morning searching all over with this game. I found some pretty neat Pokemon along the way and lost server connectivity more than a few times. In between the breaks to recharge my battery and grab food, I can say at the very least I enjoyed my time with a phone game, which is shocking for me. Pokemon Go isn’t really a full game; it’s more like an experiment in augmented reality and for a free phone app that’s ok.It may not have the refined battle systems of a 3DS game, and it may not be incredibly fully featured and be having it’s fair share of server issues at the moment but if you have any love whatsoever for the Pokemon franchise, download it. You’ve got nothing to lose. Just don’t expect to find anything if you aren’t willing to get up and move.
Thanks for stopping by to read and let me know what you think in the comments. What features would you like to see added to Pokemon GO? PVP? A campaign or sorts?
Score: 6 out of 10