If you have any interest whatsoever in the gaming industry, you undoubtedly know about the phenomenon that is Pokemon Go. For those of you who weren’t swept along the crazy, you may wonder if the game really lives up to the hype. Here’s your answer.
Pokemon Go attempted something truly ambitious in that it aims to bring the life of a Pokemon trainer into reality. The short answer is that it succeeds perfectly. Whether you are hardcore or just play a few minutes a day, checking your surroundings for new Pokemon is a consistently fresh experience that will keep you coming back for years. Additionally, the augmented reality makes your home feel like a new place full of adventure and makes travel feel somehow even more meaningful.
As with any micro transaction game, there is the fear that a money-for-power model will hurt the integrity of the game, but that is not a problem here. It is easy to play the game competitively, and even fanatically, without ever spending a dime.
Far and away the biggest complaint with Pokemon Go is server downtime. Failed connections have been a regularity since launch, but perhaps a pass is merited, as the developers did not anticipate that it would be the most downloaded app of all time, within only a few hours. Niantic and Nintendo have strived to improve server stability, and they are making regular progress. Every day the game feels more stable than before.
The other major complaint is the grind. If you just want to collect new Pokemon, this problem doesn’t apply, but if you want to be the local gym champion, you have to spend hours catching the same Pokemon on repeat. Expansions are incoming, which should help with this, and traveling outside of your hometown adds variety in spades, but for now, having to travel just to enjoy a video game to its fullest is pretty constricting.
There’s little reason not to download the game. For anyone who enjoys the Pokemon series, RPGs or competitive environments, it will provide a unique flavor of fun. Collectors and casuals will also have a good time, and it is sure to put you in situations you have never been in before, often making new friends along the way.