Friday, 19 August 2016

App Review No. 102 Pokémon Go

Strong Points:
Great conversion of Pokémon
Gets people moving
Great community tool
Pacing is good
Pokéstops encourage exploration
Gyms and Teams encourage competition
Nostalgia blast
Good use of AR
Has scope to grow even more
Nice remixes of music from the main series...

Weak Points:
Incredibly plagued launch
Buggy, with server issues
No trading
No friendly battles
Battery drainer
Difficult to judge distances in AR to throw Pokéballs
A Pokéball can roll and bounce off a Pokémon and still not open to catch said Pokémon
Very limited tutorials
Can't transfer multiple Pokémon at once
...not that they needed to be remixed

In-depth Review:

Release Dates:
Australia: July 6th, 2016
North America: July 6th, 2016
Europe: July 13th, 2016 (had a staggered release over a few days)
Japan: July 22nd, 2016

Tap menus/Pokémon to access them
Swipe Pokéballs/Razzberry to launch at Pokémon
Tap to attack in gyms
Hold to use special move (when bar is filled) in gyms
Swipe to collect Pokéstop

I don't think you can walk 10 feet without hearing about Pokémon Go. To be honest, you're probably walking those 10 feet for Pokémon Go. And then another mile or so. Ooh, but the eggs nearly hatched! Maybe another 5 miles...

Yes, Pokémon Go, the global phenomenon, the unintentional health fad, the community bringer togetherer, the... Pretty good game actually.

An augmented reality Pokémon game where you catch Pokémon in real life is a natural fit really and something fans of the series have been campaigning for, for quite some time. The concept is just so great and teeming with possibilities and in the most part the game pulls off the concept nicely, making you really feel like you're surrounded by Pokémon. The attention to detail and homage to the original series is very well done with well-placed Easter Eggs like a Pikachu starter and the ability to evolve Eevee into your wanted evolution by naming them one of 3 nicknames which are the names of the 3 Eevelutions from the original TV series.

The actual Pokémon have been rendered well in another 3D iteration (you've got to hand it to the artists - these Pokémon have seen some changes) and all have nice, if few, animations. The draw, of course, is the ability to see these Pokémon superimposed against the real world, which again, is done very well, and seeing photos of people holding these Pokémon is a great sight to see.

Actually catching the Pokémon, after figuring out how, (the tutorials are very limited for all mechanics) is relatively simple and intuitive, especially for veterans of the series but for a game series which ALWAYS has a tutorial for catching Pokémon, not having one this time around is just a bit odd. Using AR can also sometimes make it difficult to judge how far to throw the Pokéballs so I'd recommend going off AR for important catches.

The pacing of the game is good, with you normally always having enough Pokéballs to catch Pokémon, provided you find Pokéstops of course and new Pokémon are always around the corner. That is, however, if you can get through the waves of Pidgey which seem to have built up everywhere. Levelling up is also relatively quick and you're always getting something, even if it's just more Pokéballs.

Musically, this game is great, with clever remixes of themes from the main series (although the evolution theme is a bit far removed). Not that they really needed remixing, but I guess it was used to differentiate between this game and others. The music, combined with the general mechanics and fan service all make up for quite a nostalgia trip for many which is always nice although features like trading, friendly battles etc. will need to be added to keep the game fresh for the wide audience the game finds itself in front of.

But it has great scope to do just that, with at least 571 new Pokémon which can be added (excluding the upcoming gen) and many, many gameplay features it could invest in from all across the Pokémon series' spectrum, spin offs and all. For example, a Pokémon Snap function where the Pokémon's photos could be taken for points.

Finally, I must mention how great the game has been for getting people up and moving. I personally have made a route around my village which I try to walk whenever I have the time and I know people who have taken their lunch breaks to walk and explore and catch Pokémon. It's also been a great communication tool with conversations started when someone asks if you caught that Electabuzz.

Conclusion: overall, this game is really good, for both veterans to the series and newbies and should only improve as time goes on (which shouldn't be hard given its extremely buggy launch). Time to catch 'em all. Again.

Rating: 80%

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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