It’s been everywhere! From the internet to mobile phones to news channels worldwide. Pokémon have taken over every park, street corner, and even businesses. Because we got to catch them all! For an app that is still on rollout (somewhat. Has Japan got the game yet?), it has been doing some spectacular numbers on many fronts. So I thought to throw my hat into the ring and give my first impressions on Pokémon Go!

First off, quick disclaimer: I actually don’t have Pokémon Go on my phone. As I have an “older” phone (iPhone 4) my iOS won’t update to the point I can download the game. Even on a work around. So I have been playing with my partner on his more updated Android phone. We have been playing together most days, so I have gotten a hang of the general concept but still quite a newb. (And if I can, I borrow his phone to go on “dog walks” aka egg hatching missions.)

Moving on…

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Zubats are everywhere! 

Let’s go over the negative’s first. While some games have super detailed, step by step walk throughs, Pokémon Go doesn’t quite explain everything up front. Some things do become apparent as you play, such as how to catch a Pokémon or use a PokeStop, others such as how to gym battle are a little more fickle. Gym battles aren’t turned based, like in the Gameboy versions (Silver is my choice!), so that right off the bat is different. While not bad, it would be nice to have Professor Willow pop up and give an explanation of how to do it before starting.

Second, Pokémon Go is a huge drain on battery power. This is pretty common knowledge of players now, and a couple times we’ve been out catching Pokémon we have actually seen players with external power sources hooked up to their phone. This seems like the best option/work around as of current, and we are looking into a cheap option ourselves. Niantic (the apps developer), says they are working to make the app better, but that may be a while, so a good work around is the best option right now.

Third, as expected with any new games, there are a few glitches. The big ones I have noticed are either not being able to connect to a server and GPS glitching a bit. Not being able to connect to the game is very annoying, but not entirely surprising. I doubt this many people were estimated to have downloader the app so quickly, especially with the rollout. My Facebook feed was flooded by my friends and groups in Canada listing work arounds on how to download the app before the official launch in country. So who can fault a game that was being flooded worldwide when only 3 countries were expected to join? The GPS issue is annoying, as your trainer suddenly moves sporadically around the map, but if all those “extra” kilometers go towards egg hatching, I might be okay with it.

Now for some of the good stuff!

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Catching a Pidgey

Pokémon Go is first of all fun in a very nostalgic way. I grew up with the Pokémon trading cards, from the Jungle expansion. I am pretty sure this is where most of my allowance when for at least a few years. So the original 151 Pokémon are an integral part of my youth. I know that I am one of many who are now enjoying actually going on a Pokémon search in the real world, because this is a conversation that most of us had at some point while being into Pokémon. Because how cool is it to actually go down to the river to catch a Magickarp or to the park and catch a Pidgey? So cool!

Next, Pokémon Go get you out and about! I like the fact that PokeStops are point of interest of varying degree. I’ve found things that I would not have really looked at if it wasn’t for Pokémon Go like a line of memorial trees in Kings Park (there is about a dozen all in a row!) or a crinkled cow (it’s a metal art cow piece thing). So huge plus in my mind! Further, anything that gets people moving and physically active is a win! I love the idea that each egg you need to hatch has a kilometer meter attached to it. Because who doesn’t like a reward for going for a walk? So my inner personal trainer is loving something that makes physical activity fun, productive, and rewarding. (Plus the higher egg actually give good Pokémon. Ponyta for the win!)

Lastly, Pokémon Go is a free to play app. Yes, I know there are in app purchases, but the overall game is free. Because I like free, and I like a good game for free. (Here’s looking at you Candy Crush.) So everyone and anyone can play, so can we hurry up on the Pokémon trading going?

Overall, Pokémon Go is a great idea and a fun game. While it still has a few hick-ups, if Niantic continues to work on it, it can grow into something pretty fantastic. And with tons of room for growth (even more Pokémon, trading, etc.) I think Pokémon Go is worth checking out.

These are my thoughts, what are yours? Love it, hate it, or are over hearing about Pokémon?

Happy Pokémon hunting!

-SB

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