Niantic has just released Pokémon GO to Android and iOS users in China, Australia, and New Zealand. This release marks the start of a new era of social Pokémon trainers. Never again will there be a gathering around a pair of handhelds plugged into one another! Every 13 year old and their cats will walk around the neighbourhood terrorising their parent’s savings accounts with micro-transactions for Pokécoins. Perhaps the parents too will be terrorising their own savings for said Pokécoins, and battling their children for the best Pokémon.
An unnamed reviewer from BLOT Gaming saw the news of this release upon waking and instantly searched through the App Store. Unable to really judge people on micro-transactions, as (the unnamed reviewer) has already purchased Pokécoins. You can check out the pricing screenshot below! (Note: Prices are in AUD)
Pokémon GO so far has been a smooth experience, and surprisingly fun. Keep in mind that this is heavily opinion-based since this reviewer has never been a “fanboy” of the series, but holds no dislike toward it either. Pokémon GO is heavily affected by low-density populations, and small towns. It still works in a small town, but there are obviously very few landmarks or “Pokéstops” in which to collect items from. Items which include Eggs and Pokéballs.
The random encounters make walking around the neighbourhood more interesting. Unfortunately, the battery usage is off the charts, so unless you have constant access to a charger, you won’t be able to use it for more than 5-6 hours a day. Providing you don’t use if for other things too, such as messaging and calling, in which case, 4 hours maximum battery time!
Pokémon trainers in higher population areas and cities will have a considerably easier time finding and catching Pokémon. Also, they will have a better chance of finding battles. No need to worry if you are in the small towns, you won’t get as many opportunities, but you won’t be left behind. Pokémon GO will still provide a new and exciting experience for new and old Pokémon fans alike.
It’s a new age of social gaming that promotes exercise and actually getting outdoors. Seeing the surroundings instead of just jumping on the spot (looking at your Wii Fit). Not taking anything away from the idea of exercising in the comfort of your own home at all. Actually getting gamers outside is not a new idea by any means, but Pokémon GO might just be able to pull it off.
The Pokémon GO Verdict
A fun and fresh experience that will breathe new life into the Pokémon franchise. We may well see the start of the new wave of Augmented Reality smartphone games thanks to this. The micro-transactions are quite a turn-off, unfortunately, when Niantic could have charged up to $30 for an app like this. Provided that it had richer content in low population areas too. Luckily there is enough free content to keep it being fun. Being so early after release, the experience may wear thin unless Niantic has plans to bring more content in future updates.
Overall, the game is quite interesting, surprisingly accessible for more isolated fans, and a fresh idea. Pokémon GO receives a 7/10 at this early stage. Augmented Reality has been nothing more than a gimmick with smartphones, but it’s a nice touch onto the game, despite it not being perfect. Anybody interested in the Pokémon series will enjoy this for what it is, but it won’t replace the classic games. It’s little more than a well-made gimmick, but it is definitely worth picking up while it’s popular and spending a few dollars on through micro-transactions.
Interested in picking up Pokémon GO? It’s available on the iOS App Store, and Android’s Play Store now in Australia, New Zealand, and China! Check out more screenshots below!