I promise this is the last video game review that I will do. I simply could not pass up this new phone app that has taken the world by storm. While I was not sure if I wanted to play it or not at first, the simple premise of the game sucked me in very quickly.
Its no secret that ever single person who grew up with the Pokémon series has dreamed of catching their own Pokémon in the real world. Pokémon GO takes this concept to life, allowing us to become one step closer to virtual reality. The game itself forces you to go out into your local area in search of Pokémon. Depending on the geographical location, different types of Pokémon appear with different frequency. Going to a local lake or beach usually results in a surge of Water Pokémon while mountains has more rock types. Of course though, Rattatas and Pidgeys appear everywhere. Once a Pokémon appears, you tap it and your phone camera activates, displaying the Pokémon in the immediate vicinity of yourself. By flicking on the touchscreen, you fling a Pokéball at them with the same shake rates of the handhelds. Pokemon can dodge your balls, break out of them, or you can simply miss the Pokéball, all of which wastes a ball. Capturing them rewards the player with candy of that Pokémon line that can be used to either power up that Pokémon evolutionary line or evolve them with a certain amount.
Aside from capturing Pokémon, the app uses local landmarks to establish Pokéstops, places to collect resources such as Potions, Razz Berries, and Pokéballs. These are usually important landmarks like statues, murals, memorial sites, and parks. Some places have a high concentration of these, others may not see one for miles. There area also gyms where you can either capture and defend for one of three teams that you decides to declare your loyalties to at level 5 or battle and take down their leaders to establish it as your team's territory. Sadly, this is the only method to battle your Pokémon and it is a much more watered down version of the handheld combat system. There are type advantages and even the possibility to take down defending Pokémon with much higher Combative Power (CP) than yours, but with proper management of attacks, it can be overcome. That aside, keeping in mind that it is an app, it accomplishes its task in the most simplest of ways.
The beauty of this game is that you need to go out and explore. You may end up going to an old park you haven't been to in years. It is almost a given that any place that has a Pokéstop has a handful of people there also playing the game as well. It is by far the easiest conversation starter I've had when socializing with other Pokémon GO players.
I cannot say for sure how long this app will last. There is not much to do in long stretches of time, but that is not the point of the app. If you are not capable of freely going out and/or are stuck to a limited area, the game quickly wears out. Frequent drops in GPS connection and laggy servers are also an issue from time to time, as the sheer number of players have slowed down the system dramatically, though it has improved over the past few weeks. Problems with the Pokéstop algorithms have caused issues with people trespassing and most people have gotten careless of their surroundings, getting hurt in the search of Pokémon. For this, simply be aware of your surroundings and play smart. With promises of more features and even increasing the number of potential future Pokémon, it certainly has more in store for us in the future.
Nonny's Rating: 7/10. For what it is worth, it is fun in the short spurts apps are known for. Just from the sheer local and global impact the game has had for many communities, Pokémon GO is worth trying out, even if you are not a Pokémon fan. I recommend playing it while it is still a hot topic.
Nonny's Tips: Since capturing is the core aspect of the game, you need to have a steady supply of Pokéballs. This means checking out local areas with Pokéstops to ensure your supply is strong. Remember that Pokéstops refresh every 5 minutes, so use it to your advantage if you are nearbly.
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