Pokémon Go has become a global phenomenon. Along with millions of others, I have joined in the challenge to become the very best. Now that the game is a week old, I would like to present my honest review of the game.
Pokémon Go is a free to play app in for iOS and Android that augments reality to transform the landscape into the world of Pokémon through the lens of your phone. Upon joining the game, you are walked through a minimalistic tutorial of how to capture your first Pokémon and from there you are on your own again until level 5. At this time, you may approach a gym and a prompted to join either Team Valor (red), Team Mystic (blue), or Team Instinct (yellow). Once you are a member of a team, you can begin your journey of battling other color gyms and adding support to those owned by your team.
Part of what makes Pokémon Go so unique is that it uses real life locations and landmarks as Pokéstops and Gyms. A Pokéstop is a place where you can refresh your stash of Pokéballs, potions, revives, and other goodies. These refresh every 5 minutes. A gym is a designated landmark that the three teams can battle each other over.
At the time of this review, there is no system implemented for PvP battles or Pokémon trading. This is disappointing because the promos and ads for the game had these features shown, but were not available at the time of release. Another disappointing aspect was that absolute terrible servers at the launch of the game. The creators claimed that they did not expect the game to be such a hit, but with the common knowledge of how popular the franchise is paired with the high volume of advertising and promotion, it should have been expected. And even now, a week after release, there are still the occasional server issue.
Gameplay is simple. To move around the map, you must walk
to the locations in real life. When a Pokémon appears, tapping in engages you in battle. At this time you try to flick the Pokéballs at the Pokémon similar to those paper ball to trashcan games that came out with the launch of the app store. The higher the CP (Combat Power) of the Pokémon, the more difficult it is to catch. As you increase in level, more resources become available to assist in your game. Razzberry’s can be given to make the Pokémon lower its defenses, Greatballs have a higher chance of capture than Pokéballs, Incense attracts Pokémon to your locations, and a lure can by placed on a Pokéstop that benefits all players in the area by bringing Pokémon to the stop.
As mentioned earlier, there are no written rules or tips officially released to teach players the mechanics of the game. I feel that this truly embraces the spirit of the original Pokémon games because you have to learn as you go. To learn tricks of the trade, you are encouraged to talk to others you meet while playing, or chat with friends and share tips with them! After all, this is a social game so I appreciate the fact the creators thought that much into it.
Also, I would like to give praise to this game for their micro transactions. What!? I know! In the game there is a shop where you can trade coins for more Pokéballs, Incense, Lures, and some other goodies. Coins can be obtained by holding a gym for 24 hours, or giving the game real life money. This is great for people that live in rural areas that don’t have a lot of stops or chances to refresh these items naturally or are simply too lazy or want to give the developers their money. That isn’t getting my praise though. What is getting my praise is that you cannot buy candies or stardust in the store. These items are necessary to grow your Pokémon and it would be so easy for the developers to add that in! But as Boogie2988 said in his video review, “this means that in a way, every Pokémon out there is legitimate”. I love this and also hope that the developers never implement that into the store as a way to make money. The day that you can pay to have better Pokémon is the day I stop playing the game.
Overall I rate the game as pretty good, but not great. All things considered, it is fun, easy, and the social and exploration aspects are great. They developers really need to get their server issues fixed and roll out the battle and trade features advertised before people lose interest. Should that happen along with adding in future generations of Pokémon as time goes on, I feel this game has the potential for a long life.
So I encourage you to give the game a try if you haven’t already, and try to have some fun with it! It is an easy way to get exercise and meet new people. I am a member of the yellow Team Instinct and look forward to seeing you out in the field!