Pokémon Go or Pokémon NO?
With Pokémon Go seemingly taking over the world right now and quickly becoming one of the biggest mobile-based apps in gaming history, we thought it was about time we talked about what makes this game so popular. Is it Pokémon Go? Or Pokémon NO? Take a look at the facts and decide for yourself!
So let’s GO and explore the various aspects of this game that make it impossible to put down…
Map & Navigation
Those of you who can remember the days of Pokémon Yellow, Red and Blue on a Game Boy Color, will know that these guys are famous for their ability to take simple graphics and make them magical! 2016’s Pokémon Go is no exception to the rule. When we first downloaded this app and excitedly opened up the map, we were a tiny bit underwhelmed at just how simplistic it was! Inspired by a traditional geographic approach (think Google maps) there is little to note about the map screen at first glance, aside from the pretty impressive recognition of various terrains and roads.
Once you’re used to the kind of barren look of the map, you realise that this game is a lot more interesting than it first appears. Beyond the 2D green and blue screen, there are plenty of things to grab your attention including Pokéstops, Gyms and of course, Pokémon; all of which we will talk more about later!
Perks: Simple to navigate, reliable and not very prone to glitching
Drawbacks: Could be a lot more interesting with some visual landmarks or 3D pointers
It wouldn’t be a Pokémon game without the ability to battle other Pokémon, and Pokémon Go has stuck to their roots with this one! You can fight rivals in the same way you always have, choosing your strongest Pokémon and using various styles of attack to take down your opponent and claim victory.
In terms of fighting, not only does this app have much better graphics than its Game Boy predecessors, but you also have the ability to actively seek out a battle when you want to. This is great news for those that DREADED walking through a patch of grass on their Game Boy for fear that you would have to face 100 battles and lose all of your best Pokémon for the sake of a bloody Metapod! (Totally hated that part!)
Perks: Fun & simple to play, can choose to seek out a gym to battle
Drawbacks: For now, you can’t choose to battle with your friend wherever you are, you have to attend the gyms to battle other Pokémon fans
One of the most vital components in the Pokémon Go games are the Pokéstops! These are marked on the map, often at places of Historical and Cultural interest. Pokéstops are not only a necessary part of game-play, but also a very clever way of encouraging children and adults alike to go and visit points of cultural interest that they may never have taken the time to see before.
As well as being beneficial to people’s education, these markers are of course seriously important to being able to catch ’em all! At these Pokéstops you can pick up all sorts of goodies like Pokéballs (because you’re going to run out pretty quickly!), healing potions and eggs that you can hatch into new Pokémon by walking certain distances, which encourages you to get more exercise; let’s face it, Niantic‘s main motivation for making this game was to get kids out and about and it’s working!
Businesses have now cottoned on to the Pokéstop idea, and are using it to their advantage. By putting out lures to draw lots of Pokémon to their pubs and cafes, business owners then advertise themselves as somewhat of a makeshift Pokéstop; encouraging customers to come and enjoy a drink whilst catching Pokémon! Whilst this is pretty clever, we don’t think anyone could beat the girl featured in the image above, who is capitalising on Pokéstop popularity in the best possible way by setting up her own snacks & drinks stall at a registered Pokéstop; this little girl is going to go far in life!
Perks: Pokéstops are easy to identify and find on the map
Drawbacks: There is not a huge amount of Pokéstops around, meaning that if you’re regularly running out of Pokéballs you’re going to be travelling to them a LOT! Also, one of the Pokéstops we found was situated in a graveyard, which is just a little too Poké-creepy for our liking!
One of the most exciting aspects of this game is also the thing that frustrates us the most! Not all Pokémon are readily available everywhere, with some being more commonly found and some being incredibly elusive. This unpredictability gives the game a real exciting feel when you go on a Pokémon hunt because you really don’t know what you’re going to get! We would liken this design to the same feeling as Pokémon card collectors would have had when they peeled back the wrapper on their latest pack to find out whether they were lucky enough to have a shiny Charizard or if they were stuck with yet ANOTHER Venonat!
As exciting as it is not being able to predict whether you’ll find a new or rare Pokémon, it’s also pretty annoying. You always have to travel to new places and in the couple of weeks we’ve been playing this game we have lost count of how many Pidgeys and Zubats we’ve caught without even so much as a GLIMPSE of a Pikachu…
The strange thing about this game is also the varying levels of Pokémon availability in different areas. It’s not uncommon for a vast woodland or field to be almost completely empty of Pokémon whereas you local supermarket car park might be packed with them! So with this unpredictable nature, the game sure does keep things interesting.
Perks: The game keeps you guessing and there seems to be very little cheating or manipulation available to catch the rarer ones
Drawbacks: It can become a little bit annoying and dull catching the same few Pokémon over and over, we’re not sure we could commit to another six months of catching Pidgeys…
There are three teams in the game which are referred to as Instinct, Mystic and Valor. You can choose to join whichever team you like, but you have to reach level 5 first which is done by capturing and evolving Pokémon. Once you’ve chosen a team, you will be free to battle at gyms and if you are on the top spot at a certain gym, your team colour and Pokémon Go handle will be visible to passers by! Which is pretty cool for bragging rights.
There are different mottos for each team and all three have a different Pokémon that represents them.
Team Instinct (The Yellow Team)
Team Instinct (Yellow) features Zapdos as their mascot and is led by ‘Spark‘, with a focus on hatching and breeding Pokémon with awesome instincts.
Team Mystic (The Blue Team)
Team Mystic (Blue) features Articuno as their mascot and is led by ‘Blanche‘, with a focus on scientific intelligence on Pokémon behaviour.
Team Valor (The Red Team)
Team Valor (Red) features Moltres as their mascot and is led by Candela, with their main focus being battles and conquering the gyms.
There are no real differences depending on what gym you choose and you won’t receive any bonuses or items for picking a certain team. So just go with which one you like the sound of and remember, you can’t change your team once you’ve chosen one so make sure it’s one you can be proud of!
Perks: Being able to choose a team is pretty cool and we love the fact that you can get your handle attached to a public gym when you win!
Drawbacks: It would probably be better if you could switch teams, call us disloyal but we don’t like that level of commitment! Also, there should totally be some incentives to join teams, if you join Team Instinct, SURELY you should get a free Pikachu??? (Okay, okay, this isn’t really a drawback… we just really want a Pikachu.)
The whole reason behind joining a team is to battle other users, and the only place to battle is at a gym! These babies are littered all over your map screen and can be seen as a large object that rotates. The gym will also show what colour team is currently winning and which Pokémon is on top, so you can easily see who the best Pokémon trainer in your town is!
If you’d like to see your best Pokémon floating on top of a gym, you’ll need to work pretty hard. You can’t access the gyms until you have joined a team, and you can’t join a team until you’re up to level 5. To up your levels, you will need to capture and evolve different Pokémon, so you must be willing to put in a certain amount of hours before you’re fit to face the gym. This is good news really, because if you show up with the first Pidgey you catch that probably has a combat power of about 10, you’re going to lose. Badly.
The interesting thing about the gym battles is that because you are not playing at home sitting on the sofa, and you actually have to travel to a designated gym, it’s unlikely you would be able to coordinate a battle in real-time with another player. To remedy this, the app has designed it so that the strongest and winning Pokémon is left at the gym to battle other Pokémon all on its own (awwww!) until a stronger one manages to knock it off the top spot. Once this happens, it will return to its owner feeling pretty worse-for-wear. So if you win the title at your gym, you don’t have to spend the next few weeks sitting on the pavement defending your honour (PHEW!)
Perks: This is one of the most fundamental features of the game and we love the way Pokémon have stuck to the traditional fight-style!
Drawbacks: You can’t battle anywhere other than the chosen gyms, which isn’t great if you can’t get there…
Because of the innovative way Pokémon Go allows you to use the camera function to find your Pokémon, this gives the illusion that they are wherever you are! If you are in a park or by a river, it looks pretty authentic and kind of cool to see a Charmander running through the grass or a Magikarp bobbing in the harbour, but things don’t always work out quite so smoothly..
There have been lots of hilarious pictures and stories of people finding their Pokémon in odd places, so above we have included a few of our favourites!
Perks: This feature is one of our favourite parts of the game, it will never stop being funny to see a Pokémon in your bathtub.
Drawbacks: Because they could literally be ANYWHERE, you always have to resist the temptation to go Pokémon hunting at inappropriate times!
The thing we rate most about this new game is the way it has got us all out and about. Released just in time for the Summer holidays, Niantic have achieved what many parents have been crying out for for years, a way to get their children out of the house! Admittedly, they might still be glued to their mobile phones, but the clever design of Pokémon Go means that if you want to carry on playing the game (and you will because it’s totally addictive) you can’t avoid getting out in the fresh air and exercise those legs!
There’s a definite trend of young people and old people alike getting out and hunting Pokémon, which is great news for your health (and your dog!) but there have been some
lazy sneaky people who have tried to cheat the design by driving around to catch Pokémon. Not only is this ridiculously dangerous and illegal, but it completely destroys the spirit of the game, so Niantic aren’t having any of it! The GPS tracking is programmed to stop working if you are travelling over a feasible amount of MPH, so you can’t use your wheels to kid the software! Unlucky couch potatoes!
Perks: This feature is the biggest perk of all to us, and we are loving being able to get out in the sun and take our favourite game with us.
Drawbacks: For younger children the biggest obstacle might be trying to convince someone to come hunting with you!
As much as it pains us to end this review on a negative note, when there are so many good things about this game, we can’t ignore the one big drawback.
Due to an absolutely astonishing amount of people downloading the app (apparently over 75 million), not only has it reached the top spot in the charts but the sheer volume of people using it means that naturally, there is a negative effect on the Pokémon Go servers. There have been several instances of the servers going down for hours, leaving millions of needy Pokémon hunters feeling lost! The biggest of which happened in the US where it was first launched and actually delayed its arrival in the UK.
Despite a rocky start, we believe the creators of Pokémon Go should be given a break. After all, this game has been a huge success and nobody could have anticipated just how large the scale of users would be, including the servers! Even though this game has had a few teething issues, they have resolved them at every turn so we believe they’ve done a pretty cracking job. Besides, we all know who’s to blame for any trouble where Pokémon are involved… DAMN YOU TEAM ROCKET!
Perks: Whenever the servers have gone down, Niantic have made it clear and even post a lovely message to let you know it’s not your phone that’s the problem! Plus they’re pretty speedy at resolving crashes
Drawbacks: We didn’t really like having our gaming interrupted, server crashes aren’t cool.
So There We Go!
Overall we think this game is great, and we’re awarding it a well-deserved 4 out of 5 stars! Our favourite features are definitely the fact that unlike traditional video games, Pokémon Go allows us to get out there and socialise, and of course, the hilarious and weird image captures of Pokémon ending up in strange places!
The only way we think this game could be improved to earn them a chart-busting 5 stars, is if they include the ability to trade and battle with your friends in the next update, so fingers crossed!
That’s about all you need to know about this fab new game, so the only other advice we can give to Pokémon lovers is to get out there and try it (if you haven’t already)! If you have been playing Pokémon Go and have any awesome pics or stories you want to share with us, hit us up on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the tag #BBPOKEMONGO