The Pokemon GO game hasn’t even been launched throughout the globe but it seems to already have more active users than Twitter on Android alone and Nintendo shares rose 25% after this new game came out.
The app is free-to-play (with in-app purchases) and is based on the GPS augmented reality setting developed by Niantic. Pokemon GO is currently available for the iOS and Android and it involves the capturing as well as the training of virtual Pokemons than you can then put to battle with other players.
You start the game by creating an avatar which you can customize a bit and you need to have the mobile data and GPS connection activated at all times for the Pokemon GO to function. Once you get your first Pokemon (A Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle but if you don’t like those a Pikachu is also secretly available) you will have to start exploring your surroundings to find more of them.
The map will also show you different PokeStops or Pokemon gyms and they are usually set in meeting places. The geography of the area might influence the type of Pokemon you find so if you want to find aquatic Pokemons you have a much higher chance to do so when you go near water. The wild Pokemons don’t have to be defeated to be captured, you simply throw a Poke Ball at them to catch one and you get stardust and candies from them.
Candies are used to evolve a Pokemon and you get different ones according to the evolutionary chain of the one you caught. If you have too many Pokemon you can transfer some back to the professor for candy and this will leave room for new ones. The stardust can increase the combat power of a Pokemon.
Some of the actions in the game will give you experience that rises your level and once you reach level five you can go to the Pokemon gym to do battles and join one of the three factions: the red, blue or yellow. These gyms will have leaders and if a player manages to lower the prestige of a gym to zero through fights then he will take control of the gym, putting one Pokemon there as a defender. The members of the same team can increase the prestige by battling the gym leader, bringing many competitive elements into the game.
We didn’t want to call this article a review since the game just got out and the developers are promising many more additions that will probably make it better. There were many things that were problematic when Pokemon GO was released and so far only the server issues were made more stable, there is no trading and the introductory tutorial is way to short.
One thing that is certain is that it managed to deeply affect the way we use our phone in only a few days after its release and for now the novelty is still there. Difficult to say how much it will last but since so many people are playing it already the social aspect will only make it more popular in the future so it’s certainly a noteworthy phenomenon. Instead of staying at our computers all day we have a reason to go for a walk while we are gaming and this isn’t something that should be taken lightly.
The game experience can be improved with the Pokemon GO Plus device which is a low energy Bluetooth gadget that will alert the player when a Pokemon or a Pokestop is nearby with vibrations. You can then simply press the button and the Pokemon will be captured. These devices are probably coming out at the end of July and they will cost $34.99 even if they were quickly sold out and you can now only find them at triple prices on eBay.
The initial release of the game was on the 6th of July 2016 and it already proved to be a goldmine for the company which made $14 million from in-app purchases alone. More features will be released in the future such as a trading system, more customization options and versions for augmented reality devices like the Microsoft HoloLens.