Nintendo’s foray into mobile has caught the world by storm. Pokémon Go is about to surpass Twitter in numbers of daily active users on Android. Pokémon Go is the product of a collaboration between Nintendo and Niantic Labs, the makers of Ingress, which is an augmented reality based mobile MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Game).
Building upon the base that the players of Ingress helped set up, including crowd-sourcing various points of interest in order to turn them into “Pokéstops” (portals that gift free items), and gyms, Pokémon Go is all about heading to the great outdoors.
First of all, how do I install it?
Unfortunately, Pokemon GO is only out in Australia, New Zealand, Germany and US at this time, however, the more adventurous of our readers can install the APK on their Android phones.
What got the Pokéball rolling?
Interestingly enough, the game’s earliest form was showcased all the away back in 2014, as an April Fools joke on Google Maps, of all things. Now, just over two years later, the much hyped finished product is here.
The game itself is pretty simple, it fully embraces the franchise’s motto of “Gotta catch ’em all”, offering players opportunities to catch various kinds of Pokémon, hatch eggs, train at, and even control gyms. Most importantly, though, it offers people of all ages a chance to play some Pokémon.
I have my running shoes and a fully charged phone. Now what?
You start the game by creating and naming your character, following which, you are greeted by a Pokémon Professor, also named after a kind of tree, just like in the mainstream games. He then offers you a choice among the three iconic starters from the Kanto region, Charmander, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur, and this experience doubles up as your introduction to catching Pokémon.
The process of catching a Pokémon is extremely simple, you flick a Pokéball at it, and if it hits, you have a chance to capture it. If it misses, or the Pokémon breaks out, then it may even flee, though usually, you get at least a second chance.
It is important to keep in mind that Pokéballs are exhaustible, and you need to pay real money to buy more. Alternatively, and this is what most players do., you can just head over to your nearest Pokéstop to get more. Pokéstops also give out other items, like Potions, Revives, and even eggs, which you can incubate, and then walk around to hatch.
Catching Pokémon grants the player character levels, and at every new level, you receive a gift of Pokéballs, and some other randomly selected items. At level 5, the player character is offered a choice between three “teams” by Professor Willow.
Niantic haven’t been very clear about it, but so far, it can pretty much be taken for granted that this choice cannot be changed. The three teams are “Instinct”, “Valor”, and “Mystic”, and their colours and logos are based off of the three iconic legendary bird Pokémon native to the Kanto region, Zapdos, Moltres and Articuno respectively.
It’s a good idea to take a look around you, and see what the gyms around you are coloured. This will help you make your decision, as you can only fight gyms belonging to other teams. If you try to fight a gym in the possession of your team, you can train your Pokémon, and also garrisson it, to protect against a challenge.
Stations, mosques, restaurants and actual gyms are now Pokémon Gyms
Scattered throughout the world are numerous towers, called gyms. Each gym is claimed by a team, and players get to battle them, and even control them.
Prestige is like health points for your gym, and when they get to zero your gym resets, and can be claimed by another team. When the gym’s prestige gets high enough, it’s level increases. The higher the gym’s level, the longer it takes to take it down.
Defeating Enemy Gyms
You can use up to 6 Pokémon to challenge an enemy gym. Defeating enemy Pokémon on the gym lowers that gym’s prestige points, and managing to defeat all the defending Pokémon will lower its prestige by a significant amount.
Once the gym has been defeated enough times, its level will decrease, causing it to kick the lowest ranked defending Pokémon. Once the gym is left with either 0 Pokémon or 0 Prestige, you can capture the gym for your team.
Training Friendly Gyms
You can only use one Pokémon to train at friendly gyms, and the more Pokémon you defeat, the more prestige the gym gets. I’ve noticed that using a Pokémon with similar Combat Power as the defending Pokémon will award a lot more prestige points.
Adding Pokémon to Friendly Gyms
You can only have one Pokémon per person per gym. If you’re unable to add a Pokémon to a friendly gym, you need to train the gym until it levels up and gains an empty slot.
All in all, Pokémon Go is a rather fun game to play, however its long term existence and success remain to be seen. Go play it, if only for the sheer nostalgia value it provides.