With Pokémon Go, Even You Can Be A Pokémon Master

Do you want to be the very best? Like no one ever was? These are almost certainly the words that you imagine Pokémon Go asks of you, but it’s up to you to follow through and catch and train Pokémon. You will travel across the land, searching far and wide, each Pokémon to understand, the power that’s inside.

Starting out is relatively simple. Signing up with a Google Account, I was instantly transported to a hub where “The Professor” explained the concept of the game. I was then given a choice of starter Pokémon to capture. Naturally I went with Squirtle and I was on my merry way.

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The idea is remarkably basic in nature. By using your phone’s GPS, landmarks and Pokémon will appear out of nowhere as you play. Once you encounter a Pokémon it will be visible on your camera, and you then have to capture it by swiping your finger to throw Poké Balls at it. Depending on how accurate or how well you time the throw, you’ll get a bonus that makes capturing Pokémon slightly easier. Rarer ones do run so you need to be on your A-game when throwing those balls.

Once you capture Pokémon, you can raise their CP (combat points) by using points earned throughout and candies for that Pokémon, which are earned whenever you capture and transfer duplicates. You can also evolve Pokémon this way.

Micro transactions seem to play a part in the trainer’s endeavours as you can purchase not only Pokéballs, but also items to make encountering Pokémon that little bit easier. Balls and other items can be obtained whenever you visit a point of interest that isn’t one of the many gyms scattered throughout the world, including items micro transactions can’t buy, such as Ultra Balls.

My time with Gyms has sadly been minimalistic as nobody in my area was in the Beta. With that said, I’m still very unsure of its purpose. I was able to deposit a Grimer at the local train station, but that was about it. Nothing happened to it, aside from it getting a bonus each day it was “ruling the gym”.

One common complaint I’ve heard about Pokémon Go is that it’s occasionally very difficult to find Pokémon in the wild, or indeed any new Pokémon. Sure, you can use incense to increase the number of Pokémon you will encounter along the way, but more often than not you have to wander out of your way to find new Pokémon.

Isn’t that the point of Pokémon though? If you recall in the original Pokémon, you don’t find all 151 Pokémon on Route 101. You as a trainer journeyed around the world, finding and collecting all the Pokémon in the Pokédex. It just so happens that it’s a self contained world where you need only play the game to explore. Pokémon Go puts you in the trainer’s shoes and has you explore the world and collecting Pokémon as you travel.

If I had any major complaints that should be addressed as soon as possible, it would be for some more music options. Just including original tracks from the main games would be very welcome, as the music that was on offer during the preview was limited to a few tracks and was especially maddening when on loop.

So who is Pokémon Go for? I deeply suspect it’s for globetrotters, journeying across the world to not only see the sights, but also putting a little fun when actually going from A to B. Maybe they’ll discover a new cafe in the real world because a wild Electabuzz was sitting there having a cup of coffee?

At this point, Pokémon Go is relatively barebones and designed merely as a companion to walking around and exploring your surroundings. With the Bluetooth device that will accompany it coming soon, that will make it easier to motivate one to get out and explore the real world. Even then, for those with a routine, the meta-game of the gyms and rivalries between colours just wasn’t enough to entice me, but maybe this will change when more people have the app and I have more time to explore what the app has to offer.

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1 Comment

  1. I think our whole family is going to play this!

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