Never before has a video game seemed to bring people together this much whilst having a ton of fun at the same time! Pokémon Go Mania has arrived and with swarms of Pokémon Trainers flooding every local park imaginable it seems fair to suggest that Pokémon Go Mania isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. M questions are simple: Are you one of the people that are avoiding it? Do you think you are too old to play Pokémon Go? Think again ladies and gentleman because this game has reached the hearts and minds of all ages and from many different backgrounds. I have friends on my personal Facebook list that are well in to their fifties and are loving Pokémon Go as much as I am. But why has Pokémon Go taken the world by storm? What is it about Pokémon Go that is so damn luring?
Back in the day as a sixteen year old I totally missed out on the original Pokémon craze. I was still hiding the fact that I played video games back then as it was not cool for girls tone playing at all. Ultimately I missed the classic Pokémon start. With the recent release of Pokémon Go however, I feel like I’m getting a second chance to relive the hype and I am absolutely loving it and for someone who does not play games on mobile phones Pokémon Go has me glued to my iPhone like never before.
What do we have here?
Pokémon Go is a location based Augmented Reality game by Niantic Labs but Pokémon Go is not their first game by any means. Field Trip and Ingress are two other prominent titles that you may have heard of. It has to be said that Pokémon Go is their most influential to date and rightly so as that franchise has always been incredibly strong.
We know that the overall aim to catch as many Pokémon as possible, level them up and evolve them. That’s the nuts and bolts of the game. We also know that a lot of walking is involved. In fact walking has a lot of advantages in Pokémon Go as there’s scope to hatch eggs and gain brand new Pokémon! Popular Youtube Boogie 2988 reportedly lost over 15lb already just by playing Pokémon Go. That is a real Stereotype breaker for gamers. The notion of Lazy Gamers cannot possibly apply when it comes to Pokémon Go. On launch day I ventured out on my lunch break and found myself locked in conversations with strangers all over town. On a normal day this would be unthinkable but it’s a true testament to how Pokémon Go is hunting gamers from all walks of life. It is a truly gripping experience.
After launching Pokémon Go (for the first time and beyond) there’s a short load screen before launching you in to the game (assuming you’ve signed in). From there the whole experience is relatively simple. Pokémon Go uses Google Maps to pull data in reference to your location and from there you can breeze around catching Pokémon. Poke Stops can be seen as well as Poké Gyms. The distance in which they can be viewed is surprising. Both Gyms and Stops can be seen up to half a mile away which is pretty neat. I’ve very cheekily opened Pokémon Go if I’ve been stuck on traffic as it’s been particularly useful to scout the area given the generous draw distances. The overall gameplay mechanics are startlingly simple. Launching a Pokéball, spinning a Pokéstop and tapping the screen in gym battles formulates players’ basic experience. In any other game I would think this felt unrewarding but in Pokémon Go it’s all you need.
We are expecting a big update soon which will include a Battle option as well as a Trade option. As it stands Pokedex, Items, Shop and Pokémon are all the main gameplay functions that can be accessed in the Pokéball Menu. I really love the handy Pokémon organiser options. Pokémon can be arranged in order according to either the most recently added, favourite’s number, name, hit points or combat points, needless to say I use HP as my preferred method of organising as it is easier to choose Pokémon to battle with in Gyms.
There are some definite kinks to iron out in Pokémon Go. The Game can crash at the time of catching crucial Pokémon which leads to having to restart the app. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and that Pokémon will be sitting in your Pokédex but sometimes you’ll lose it. To me this is a minor issue. The fun is not overridden by the game crashes so it is bearable at present. Should the game start to fail more consistently though… that will be a whole new Pokéball Game!
Raging over Pokémon Server Issues
At the time of writing this Pokémon Go was released less than one week ago (in the UK). We’ve had one weekend with the official release and on that weekend the servers were down for over 90% of the time. I was extremely disappointed to say the least. I question wether Niantic underestimated at how popular Pokémon Go was going to be during development? I would argue that they did.
It is pretty clear when servers are down as the loading screen will not progress past 25%. I use this (http://cmmcd.com/PokemonGo/) website to log any server issues and I’ve found it super useful. You can click to rank your server experience at any time. I’ve used it to decipher if I’ve been unsure that my app is buggy or the servers are genuinely down.
Since the beginning of the week the servers have been a lot more stable so perhaps it’s just the weekend that causes an issue? Let me know how the servers have been for you?
Catch Pikachu first
What would a Pokémon Go review be without a few important tips? The classic, lovable yellow little dude; Pikachu is available from the get go. Once you start the game you will be surrounded by three Pokémon: Squirtle, Charmander or Bulbasaur. Do not catch any of these at this time. Instead, walk away. As you continue to walk the three Pokémon will begin to respawn and on the fourth respawn the famous Pikachu will respawn with them. Voila! You can now capture your first Pokémon and it is Pikachu!
Here is an absolute life saver for your phone battery. You can download Google Maps for your chosen area direct from the Google Maps app. That way your phone will not be using data to pull maps. Simply launch Google Maps, go to settings and download maps for specific areas. Your battery will be incredibly grateful.
The Pokémon Revolution
Pokémon Go has lifted Nintendo’s shares to the highest they’ve been since 1983 with the launch of the NES. That speaks volumes in terms of its importance as a franchise. Fans from every corner of the earth have been coming together to Pokémon Go. People are leaving their houses, talking to one another and coming together and it’s all down to this amazing game. I’m excited to see what the future holds!
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We're well in to the Playstation 4 and Xbox One and more recently the Nintendo Switch eras of gaming. Graphics had never looked so smooth and gameplay had never flowed so fluently. Let's not forget the triumphant last Generation of gaming with the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii; all of which I have a lot of time for.
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