‘Pokémon Go’ Review: A Flawed But Magnificent Experience

8.5
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Open World
2016-07-06
pokemon go logo
The logo to Pokemon Go Nintendo

Pokémon Go is a phenomenon, there’s no better way to describe it. It has taken over social media and quickly become the number one app for both iOS and Android. It’s even helped Nintendo’s plummeting stock prices .

But is the mobile game worth your time? In short, yes, but there’s a lot you should know heading in.

What makes Pokémon Go a success is its simple approach and mechanics. You start the game and you’re thrown into the world of Pokémon. Niantic, creators of Ingress , use their signature Augmented Reality technology to bring Pokémon into our world using your mobile device’s GPS.

Using this technology, Pokémon Go players are encouraged to go outside and find Pokémon, just like in the games and anime. It’s a perfect mix of nostalgia (for those Pokémon fans who always dreamed of going on their own Pokémon adventure) and simple gameplay to bring in any casual players or anyone not familiar with the franchise.

The mechanics of Pokémon Go consists of walking around until you find a Pokémon and flicking your Poke Balls on the touchscreen. Those are pretty much the basics and it allows for anyone young or old to get into the game.

But Pokémon Go can be surprisingly deep if you choose to look into it, which stems from the random movesets given to captured Pokémon and certain evolved Pokémon.

This little mechanic will lead to hours of grinding and finding the perfect mix of Pokémon and moves.

Unfortunately, battling is probably the biggest downside of Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go battles include locations that act as Gyms where teams collaborate to bring down its members. Once it's taken over, you can put your own Pokémon there and become a Gym leader.

Sounds fun, right? Well, battles include players tapping at the screen and swiping left and right to left to avoid attacks….that’s pretty much it.

Of course, this is a very simplified explanation, but it’s not far off from what really happens. You have a secondary attack that puts holding down the screen for some variation but that’s all there is to it.

Pokémon Go incorporates type advantages and resistances to make it like the console games, but it’s a slog to take over Gyms. Even wild Pokémon (which normally need to be weakened by fighting) are caught just by flicking at random, making even the most experienced player frustrated.

But… for some reason, Pokémon Go just gets the Pokémon-catching experience right. It encapsulates that child-like joy of finding and catching Pokémon that you first felt 20 years ago.

Yeah, the interface and character customization is bare-bones. Yes, the battling is grindy and overly simple. And you’re considered lucky to actually get on the server and not be kicked off after 15 minutes but Pokémon Go is one of the most addicting and fun experiences on mobile devices.

The possibility of future updates that include trading and more Pokémon just sweetens the pot. If people continue to support the app, Pokémon Go will have a long shelf life as there is so much Niantic and the Pokémon Company can do.

There’s a lot to love about Pokémon Go , despite its flaws and shortcomings, and none of that detracts from the overall experience. And that’s exactly what Pokémon Go is, more than an app or mobile game, it’s an experience and opportunity to connect with friends.

When’s the last time you made plans with friends to just take a walk? How about take a walk when you have some downtime?

Pokémon Go has begun to revolutionize mobile game experiences, and everyone should get in on it.

REVIEW SUMMARY
Pokémon Go
8.5
A Flawed But Magnificent Experience
Pokémon Go has swept the country but is the mobile game worth an install? Despite its flaws, Pokémon Go really delivers the Pokemon-capture experience.
  • As Close To Living Pokémon Fantasy As It Gets
  • Active And Engaging Experience
  • Lots Of Mon And Events
  • Battles Aren't What Fans Expect
  • Very Grindy
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