A Week with Pokémon Go
There have been tears, smiles, and a bizarre amount of walking for no reason. I've spent a week with the biggest mobile game in the world, Pokémon Go. There's little denying that it's having a massive effect on the general public, but if you're a Poké-fan or just a general gamer, is there really any point?
Pokémon Go is a nearly impossible game to review, being a combination of the app on your phone and the social aspect of seeing people at Poké-stops, and seeing 100 photos of your friends catching Pokémon all over your Facebook feed. So, the least I can do is attempt to answer the question proposed above and a bit more. I can only make an attempt, because after a week spent with Pokémon Go I still get the feeling that I'm missing the point somewhat.
Pokémon Go is a mobile game from Niantic, Inc that builds on the company's previous game, Ingress, and uses augmented reality (AR) to finally deliver on the promise of Pokémon - you can catch a Pidgey sat on your partner's lap, or scoop up an Onyx in a McDonald's car park. This is, many fans of the franchise would say, the dream.
If you want to be the little trainer from the classic Gameboy titles, then this will scratch that itch. It's just I never remembered quite how much walking was involved. This isn't a game you can play from your desk or dip into on a toilet break, it needs you to be walking around and physically exploring the actual environment around you (although we've heard of GPS-hacking apps that can circumvent this), with you having to walk a fair distance in a lot of cases to catch a Pokémon, visit a Pokéstop or do battle at the nearest gym.
As a mobile game, it plays like garbage. You need to walk long distances with your phone open to get anywhere, with the game demanding to stay active on-screen if you want to catch Pokémon or hatch the eggs you're given, which will hatch only after you've walked a few kilometres, but only with the app open. Because I'm fairly unwilling to walk while focussed on the app in London, in the week I've played I've racked up just 1.2km on my first 2km egg. There are also 5km and 10km eggs that presumably I'd never get to see.
You catch Pokémon using AR (which can be turned off to save battery) and then using stardust and Pokémon-specific candies you'll try to raise their CP (Combat Power) to fight other Pokémon at gyms to try and maintain control of them for your team. This will sound very familiar to players of Ingress, as the portals system is very similar, but the fact you're tossing Pokéballs about goes a long way to inspiring people to invest in the game.