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Pokémon Go review: incorporating fantasy into real life has never been this much fun

|July 12, 2016 |Mobile Apps, Games, Reviews, Mobile Games, Mobile, App review

"Nintendo's Pokémon game for Android and iOS has been an instant hit across both platforms"

“I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was. To catch them is my real test, to train them is my cause”. We are sure that several of you can attest to the nostalgia that just hit you. If not, and you are suddenly wondering why your Facebook feed is full of posts about these things called Pokémon, keep reading. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest buzz across the web!

The Basics

Let’s start by answering a simple question - what is Pokémon? Pokémon is a combination of the words pocket and monsters, which are adorable game creatures with a particular type (water, fire, grass etc) which can be caught and trained to battle. The Pokémon franchise was (and still is) a huge success, from back when the original games were launched in 1996. The games (Pokémon Red and Green) were followed by an animated series, a card game and several other iterations of the original versions on numerous gaming devices like the Gameboy and Nintendo DS. The animated series told the story of a young trainer by the name of Ash Ketchum who embarked on a quest to be the best trainer and catch all the Pokémon. Now that we have gotten you up to speed, it’s time to address the elephant in the room – what is Pokémon Go?

A dream come true

Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game developed by Nintendo and Google’s Niantic labs. The game requires users to travel across the world to capture Pokémon much like the protégée in the original saga, level them up and then fight in gyms. The game has not yet been launched in Asia and the UK, but the moment the Android APK was available, we jumped the gun and installed it on our devices. 

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The User Interface

The game starts with an apparent warning on the screen asking users to be aware of their surroundings at all times. After all, you wouldn’t want to be caught playing this game at work. The game is GPS-enabled which means you’ll have to walk around to find different Pokémons. When near one, the game activates the phone's camera, allowing users to either snap a picture of the Pokémon or throw a Pokeball at it to catch it. Users will be presented with options to select Pokedex, view their captured Pokémon and shop for various items upon tapping the Pokeball in the centre of the screen. The players level and the experience points are listed on the bottom left of the screen.

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Time to catch 'em all!

The process of catching a Pokémon is fairly simple. Once they appear on your screen, just flick the Pokeball towards them. This is where Pokémon Go sets itself apart from its predecessors, as there is no battling involved whilst capturing a Pokémon. After a Pokémon has been caught, its data can be accessed from the Pokédex. Catching a Pokémon will award you with XP or experience points which will help you level up in the game. Levelling up is important as you can take on gyms only after you have reached a certain levelm and you get free goodies too. In the game, Pokémon’s with different CP (combat power) will be available for you to catch. Higher the CP of the Pokémon, harder it will be to catch. The type of Pokémon you see around you is also ascertained by the environment you are in. For instance, if you are in a park, you’ll be more likely to see grass or bug type Pokémons, and similarly, you'll see water-based Pokémons near a lake.

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Battling and Levelling

Pokémon battles have also undergone huge changes with the “strategy” element being absent from Pokémon Go. Combat in the game no more involves a set of four moves to choose from in a turn-based battle. Instead, it now depends on a single stat of your Pokémon – their CP or combat power. When facing a trainer, you have to tap the screen constantly to attack and swipe to dodge your opponents attacks. Levelling the Pokémons to make them stronger is also different now as you have to use special items obtained while catching Pokémon or fighting trainers. The game consists of two generic items – Stardust and Pokémon candy. You’ll get stardust every time you capture a Pokémon, and Pokémon candy by catching duplicates of the Pokémon you are trying to level up.

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What are Pokestops and Gyms?

Further thinning the boundaries between real world and fantasy in Pokémon Go are the presence of Pokestops and Gyms. Pokestops are essentially real-world locations that are displayed in-game where you can go to stock up on Pokéballs and get some other goodies, while Gyms are places where you can go after reaching a certain level and challenge other trainers. 

 

In conclusion, Pokémon Go is like a breath of fresh air for the 20 year-old franchise. The game can get monotonous after a while but it is still extremely fun as it revives the childhood nostalgia of many. The mishmash between fantasy and reality has been captured beautifully by the game, and although it isn’t perfect when it comes to accuracy, the idea of exploring different parts of the world to capture Pokémons has been on the bucket list of many since the original series. Now you can mark that off and go catch 'em all!

Related read: 7 things you need to know about Pokémon Go



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