Pokémon Go is here!

Now this isn’t necessarily a post on programming, but I’m so excited about this new game that I just had to post somewhere.

As an ardent fan of Ingress, I was very excited when they announced that Niantic Labs who built Ingress would be taking one of my favorite franchises, Pokémon, and building an AR game based on the same principles.

Managed to download and install the Beta testing version of the game today, and try it out. So here are my first impressions:

  • The game follows the same premise as the beloved games from GameFreak; there’s a Professor who gives you a started Pokémon (Squirtle, Charmander or Bulbusaur) and sends you on your way to catch Pokémon all around the world. That’s where the similarities end.
  • You find yourself in an AR world based on Google Maps and very heavily on the locations tagged as portals in Ingress: Some of them are Gyms (You can’t do anything at a gym until you’re Level 5 as a trainer; I’m still Level 4 so don’t know what’ll happen here), and the others are Pokestops, which follow the hacking mechanism in Ingress and give you items when you’re in range; although the item spawn doesn’t seem to be randomized like in Ingress: the Pokestop next to me right now just gives 3 Some Ingress portals are Gyms, others are Pokestops which follow the hack mechanism in Ingress and give items (the item spawn doesn’t seem to be randomized though, the Pokestop right next to me seems to only give 3 Poké Balls).
Some Ingress portals are Gyms, others are Pokestops
Some Ingress portals are Gyms, others are Pokestops
  • So I chose Charmander as my starter Pokémon (ah, the nostalgia!). Pokémon show up on the Pokédex and the Pokémon menu, and seem to have a few stats:
Charmander!
Charmander!
  • So there are two options, Power Up and Evolve. Each Pokémon gives you candy for that type of Pokémon when you catch it (and presumably, when you battle with it). I managed to catch enough Pidgeys to evolve it to Pidgeotto (needed 12 Pidgey candies):
Pidgey evolves!
Pidgey evolves!
Pidgeotto
Pidgeotto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Evolving my Pidgey seemed to give it new moves but did not improve its stats, which was rather disappointing. CP, or Combat Points, seem to be needed for battles as explained here. I can’t battle until I’m Level 5 though, so I don’t know yet.
  • Catching a Pokémon is pretty exciting, it turns on the camera and shows the Pokémon on screen where you have to throw Poké Balls at it by flicking balls towards them. You can actually miss: I ended up throwing about 10 Poké Balls at a pesky Zubat.
Catching Pokémon in bed
Catching Pokémon in bed

Catching Pokémon gives you trainer experience too! And I managed to level up to Level 4:

Level 4!
Level 4!
  • Like in the console games, you can use Incense to attract Pokémon to where you are; this didn’t seem as effective as the incense in the console games tho, I only got two extra Pokémon and the spawn rate doesn’t seem to get increased much.
  • There is also an Egg mechanic where you get eggs to carry around for a certain distance and then they will hatch:
Eggs
Eggs (screenshot credit: https://kulendra.net)
  • There’s also the good ol’ Trainer Card (which tracks Trainer Stats) and Journal (which tracks activity):
    Journal
    Journal
    Trainer Card
    Trainer Card

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • There is also a store where you can buy items: Monetization strategy! 😀

 

Pokémon Store
Pokémon Store

And that wraps up my first impressions on the game. Will post more once I can actually get in to a battle with someone. Until then, Gotta Catch ’em All!!!