Platforms: Android, iOS
The latest craze to be sweeping the globe is the same craze that ruled the globe in 1997. It may be hard to comprehend that any brand could make such a huge comeback considering its inevitable drop in popularity over the years but it would be wrong to assume that Pokémon has not broken that record. Pokémon Go has taken over the lives over a huge portion of the world’s population, myself included as I have already put in a serious number of hours, walking almost 5 miles a day in pursuit of these animé critters. However, if Nintendo and the Pokémon brand wish to continue this surge in popularity then the latest game release will need to make some very important changes.
Simple But Effective
The concept of Pokémon Go really connects with fans of the series. The best part of any Pokémon game is catching your favourite monsters and training them to become as strong as they possible can so you can battle other players. It couldn’t be easier to go out and find your first Pokémon in Pokémon Go. Just step outside your house and start walking and you will inevitably meet a variety of different Pokémon in your local area. The game itself is incredibly clever as it constantly tracks your location and this will have an impact on the types of Pokémon you may encounter. Go near water to find more water type Pokémon, walk through a field to find more grass and bug type Pokémon and so on and so fourth. The games simplicity is what makes it so incredibly addictive. I guarantee you will end up activating Pokémon Go on most journies you take, whether by foot or by car.
The game also has additional features that you unlock at higher levels such as choosing your allegiance to a team; Instinct, Valour and Mystic. This will allow you to use your Pokémon to battle at gyms dotted across the world. Win these gym battles and you can earn coins to buy more items such as Pokéballs or earn addtional XP which will ultimately help you improve your general Pokémon experience and find more lucrative Pokémon. If you want to help level up quicker then you can also use lures and incense which helps players to catch more Pokémon and in some cases, rarer Pokémon than you may see on your travels.
There is so much that the game does right but I think it is important to highlight some of the drawbacks for this popular game.
There are 3 main downfalls to Pokémon Go but will these be enough to stop you playing?
Firstly, the servers have caused many Pokémon Goers problems as many cannot access the game at all. Imagine the frustration in dedicating time to go Poké-hunting only to be halted by an issue that is beyond your control. Despite early issues with the servers we have seen more stability recently and this will presumably improve as the initial popularity starts to subside. However, if you find that you cannot access the game then my advice is to just stay at home and avoid the relentless disappointment you will endure by walking around for an hour failing to catch any Pokémon.
If you can access the Pokémon Go app then another issue that players consistently experience is mid-game crashing. This will often happen when you are trying to catch a desirable Pokémon and as you wait for the Pokéball to wobble three times and confirm your ebullience, the game will crash resulting in the very likely scenario that you have missed out on catching your favourite Pokémon. The AR feature has been rumoured to be the cause of this issue but your network signal and location strength could also be as much to blame. Unfortunately, this problem could be unavoidable.
Finally, the biggest downfall of this game is that it lacks purpose as you start to get into the higher levels. Once you have built up your strongest collection of Pokémon and have battled at any number of gyms you start to realise the XP requirements to level up becomes unbearable. Levelling up will allow the player to find rarer Pokémon but there’s only so many Weedles and Pidgeys you can catch before the monotony of the game rears it’s ugly head. You will need 210,000 XP to get from level 1 to level 20 and this is only 1% of the games level potential. To get to level 40 you will need to earn 20 million XP. Considering you can only earn XP from catching Pokémon then you start to realise the grind required to become a ‘Pokémon master’. Good luck making it to level 40!
There are obvious ways to improve the game which may include adding in the next generations of Pokémon but there are some other immediate changes that could massively improve the game as it stands. Personally, I would love to see more opportunities to battle with my Pokémon army, especially with my friends. Increasing the ways you can earn XP would also be welcomed and if battling other Pokémon trainers could help build up your XP faster then the grind in the latter parts of the game could be avoided. There are also badges in the game that currently serve no purpose other than to point out you are playing the game but these should also offer additional XP.
If players could earn XP in these other ways then it would be easier to look past the other pitfalls of the game and help prolong the popularity of this game. It would be more sensible to add the next generations of Pokémon after these changes as there will be more longevity to the game with these changes. I will be very interested to see how Nintendo intend to update this game in the very near future with rumours for an update expected soon.
This game is highly addictive and it is well worth playing if you are a Pokémon fan. You may well get annoyed with some aspects of the game but lets face it, every game has its flaws and this game is possibly the most fun you can have being outdoors at the moment. Maybe we will see some game improvements in the near future to make this game even better and if this is the case, then you may have to accept that you will lose a large part of 2016 to Pokémon Go.
TJSimpsonz Score: 8/10