Pokemon GO was one of the most hyped-up mobile games, as well as one of the most hyped-up Pokemon games.
The reason is simple. Everyone’s number 1 fantasy since 1996 (when Pokemon began) was to have Pokemon in the real world. Pokemon Go would come to fulfill that fantasy, but did it actually hit that mark, or did it fall short?
Being a mobile game, this review will have a general, gameplay and finally, personal thoughts section. Without further ado:
Table of Contents
Though the Pokemon franchise belongs to Nintendo, most of their side series games are developed by different companies in collaboration with Nintendo.
Niantic is the company behind Pokemon Go, and they used the tools from their previous game called Ingress to build it. The game belongs in the small augmented reality subgenre, which is what it implies.
The game was so hyped up (due to the popularity of the Pokemon franchise) that, on release, millions of non-Pokemon fans downloaded and continue to play it to this day. Perhaps its simplicity as a game helps, but what is for sure is that the game is extremely popular to non-gamers too.
Being a virtual reality game, Pokemon GO utilizes the real world. It uses an internal GPS signal to generate the landscape around you and some points of interest/gyms based on real-world locations of interest. Close to points of interest (called Pokestops) spawn random Pokemon.
They are not fully random of course, there are some Pokemon that are more common than others, and their type is loosely based on your location (you’ll find more Water Type Pokemon near ports and beaches).
Every continent has its own exclusive Pokemon too. There are different exclusive Pokemon for different areas on the same continent too!
Your purpose is… well, to catch ’em all. Pokestops give you essential items to help you with your cause (mainly Pokeballs).
There are other items that can be used too, like potions for healing or berries that help you with catching wild Pokemon or might give you bonus rewards after you catch them.
To actually catch a Pokemon, you just need to flick a Pokeball at it and hope you catch it.
To move from one Pokestop to another, you must actually move, as in, use a vehicle or your own two legs.
This aspect of Pokemon GO helps with local businesses, as they can have a Pokestop. Some local businesses use an item called lure module which attracts Pokemon to that Pokestop, and offer free internet should someone buy something from them.
When you catch Pokemon, you earn some stardust and that Pokemon’s evolutionary line candy (i.e. Eevee and all of its evolutions will be using Eevee candies). stardust and candies can be used to strengthen the Pokemon, but you can collect the candies in order to evolve the Pokemon instead.
Pokemon have different strengths and potential (similarly to the main games) and there is a lot of micromanagement involved, which is why I recommend a guide if you want to play seriously. There is also a buddy system, which allows you to earn a specific Pokemon’s candy by walking.
You can also find (usually) rare Pokemon from Pokemon eggs, which can be found randomly from quests and Pokestops. There are 3 tiers of eggs, with each tier giving you more powerful and rare Pokemon.
There are the 2K eggs, the 5K, and the 10K eggs, which all imply the amount of walking you must do to hatch it.
To hatch an egg you need an incubator. You are given 1 basic incubator for free and you can find more from quests and level up rewards, or buy some.
By leveling your Pokemon, catching them, or evolving them you gain player experience. As you level, more and better items become available to find in Pokestops, and you gain some rewards.
After a specific level, you must choose which team you want to be a part of. There are 3 teams to choose from:
- Team Valor, which is the red team, with Moltres as their mascot. Team Valor believes that strength should be above all.
- Team Mystic, which is the blue team, with Articuno as their mascot. Team Mystic believes in knowledge and how it can be used for benefit.
- Team Instinct, which is the yellow team, with Zapdos as their mascot. Team Instinct relies on… instinct and intuition.
The teams won’t affect your gameplay too much so don’t worry about picking one.
However, every Gym is controlled by a team, and if it’s not your team, you can go fight the Gym Pokemon left behind until you take the Gym for your team.
If the Gym belongs in your team, you can leave a Pokemon behind to defend it if there is enough space to do so (and heal it if it battled).
Leaving Pokemon in a Gym will give you gold which is the game’s currency. You will get more gold if the Pokemon stayed there for a lot.
Gyms have raids periodically. There are super rare (and sometimes exclusive) Pokemon. These usually need 5 or more powerful trainers to defeat, and once defeated, you have a chance to catch it.
Raids are announced an hour beforehand (but not the Pokemon, just its strength) so you can plan accordingly. Every player has only 1 raid pass per day, except of course if you pay.
There are also battles, either Gym battles or trainer to trainer battles. Both work pretty much the same, you tap for your basic attack until your strong attack meter fills up and den you tap and hold to do the powerful move. Niantic will try to shake things up a bit but there won’t be much difference.
I have been a long time fan of Pokemon. I will really try to be objective about this since it involves one of my all-time favorite series even to this day.
I really think that Pokemon GO is… meh. The fantasy of catching Pokemon in the real world
Plus, the combat system is really dull, it gets monotonous after 2 or 3 battles. The changes won’t help much. I also dislike the power creep, where some Pokemon are generally going to be optimal.
I always thought that in the real world, Pokemon could be as strong as the trainer makes them (with the exception of legendaries and maybe pseudo-legendaries).
But, there are positives too. First things first, Niantic tries very hard to deliver new and exciting events, separately to the release of every generation, and to great success might I add.
If you are a working adult and don’t mind your cellular data, you will have a great way to pass the time if you are just walking.
Honestly, while it shouldn’t be supported as it is illegal, the most fun you can have is to use a tool that allows you to move your character without moving, i.e. a hacked or cracked version that allows GPS manipulation.
You will probably be caught for it and Niantic is extremely strict with them and rightfully so.
General Rating: 4.5
It’s not that the game is a disappointment, but if you are a hardcore fan of Pokemon, you know how great their games can be, so this rating is compared to the general franchise.
Do you play Pokemon GO? Do you like
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