Pokémon GO - Review

I want to go where I go ...

…. And don't stop here - sang Giorgio Vanni in the theme song of the first series of the anime dedicated to the number one title of GameFreak: Pokémon. A game that has certainly marked a generation (maybe even 2) with its iconic monsters and that has led us to dream of being a coach since its first release. Now the dream comes true! The release of the mobile app Pokémon GO made everyone's dream possible, getting as close as possible between the game we already know and what we have always imagined and wanted: have the monsters next to us.

Beyond the skies of adventure

Pokémon GO, released by Nintendo and Niantic as a free app for iOS and Android devices, allows us to be coaches ourselves; after entering our date of birth we will be able to access a customization menu for our character. After this we will access the actual game, where a very cool looking professor will introduce us to the fantastic Pokémon world (you know, someone may not know them) and will lead us to the most difficult choice ever: Squirtle, Bulbasaur or Charmander? Why on earth these 3 Pokémon? Well, said fact: since there are ONLY 721 (without considering those that will be part of the Sun and Moon), the creators had the right idea to limit the game to the first, and wonderful, 151 Pokémon that made history and they stole our hearts.

One last check before leaving

As soon as you have passed those introductory steps, the game turns out to be very simple and intuitive, thanks to the fullscreen map, where our avatar will move, and three buttons on the bottom that we will analyze together. Let's start from the first on the left, that is the icon of our coach: by clicking on it we can access the complete avatar of our character, his experience bar, our Pokémonete counter (we will see later how to get them) and our Team (this part will also be well explained in the following chapter). The central button, the one in the shape of a Pokéball, will make us access the list of our Pokémon, the Pokédex, the shop and the section dedicated to objects. The third button instead, with a rectangular shape, will help us understand which Pokémon are nearby and, thanks to the number of footprints close to their icon that vary from three to zero, we will be able to understand the real distance that separates us from our Pocket Monster area.

Let's go back to deepen the icons that we will find in the Pokèball, starting from the Pokémon GO Pokédex: here we will be able to see the Pokémon we have caught, the ones we have only seen in battle but which unfortunately escaped us and of course, by clicking on one of those in our possession, we will be able to see its basic characteristics (name, height, weight and type) . The bag of objects it will help us to bring with us everything we need for our adventure such as Pokéballs, Potions, Revitalizers, Berries and so on and so forth. The shop is the part dedicated to the exchange of Pokémonete, obtained during our journey as a coach, with goods of all kinds starting from simple Pokéballs and then moving on to Fortunuovo, Incubators and so on. Of course this is the part where those who want can buy with real money to speed up some steps but, fortunately, this game is not a pay-to-win, so rest assured players, the time you dedicate to the game will not be ruined.

Gotta catch 'em all!

Of course in Pokémon GO the pillars of the game remain the same: catch all Pokémon and raise them to be at the top during battles. As for their capture, all we have to do is click on them and throw the Pokéballs at them with the help of our fingers; once we enter the sphere and have waited for the three fateful vibrations, we will have a new partner in our team e he will give us some candies dedicated to his evolutionary branch and some stardust. In this game, however, the characteristic of Pokémon will not be the level, but a new statistic, the Battle Points, which we can raise using candies and stardust; when they increase our friend will increase his Health Points and, at a certain point, he will also be able to unlock his evolution, which can also be obtained thanks to a greater amount of candies. Unlike the original title, here our monsters will have two moves at their disposal and this is where we come to the second pillar: the fights!

Coach Marva wants to fight!

The fights… finally we come to the fights! Remember earlier when we were talking about teams? Here it all will make sense now: reached level 5 we will finally be able to access the fights in the gym but before this the professor will ask us to choose between three teams: Wisdom, Courage and Instinct. In Pokémon GO, once you have taken the second most difficult choice ever, we will be able to access the PokéGym and take possession of it by inserting one of our monsters inside every twenty hours; by accessing the shop we will be able to collect a prize of 10 coins and 500 powders for Pokémon, by clicking on the button at the top right in the shape of a shield. But now the fun begins, as the other teams will be able to storm our gym and, of course, us theirs. Here we can choose to conquer / regain the gyms by having a team of 6 Pokémon available or to reinforce ours by increasing their prestige level and allowing our companions to also enter their Pokémon to create more difficult gyms to defeat.

Ok Free to Play but ...

I understand very well that Pokémon GO, being a Free to Play, does not have to have a huge amount of features, but here maybe we are going to reach a really strong level of minimalism of visual and sound elements: there are no characterizations of melodies given by other areas or states and the very nice graphic sector goes into oblivion since we will have always the same scene, both in the map and in the fights; the only difference is in the change between day and night, with some changes to the colors of the map, but nothing special. There are other games of the genre that in a visual or auditory creative sector are able to give us great emotions and I can say without problems that this game, from this particular point of view, is very weak. Another flaw is the quantity of bugs present at launch, defects that still give us problems, for example, with the identification of the distance of the Pokémon, without considering the countless crashes of the game during the capture or conquest of gyms and / or Pokéstop that makes the game from fun to the personification of frustration in its pure state.

Mobile is the Word

Before coming to the conclusion I would like analyze Pokémon GO in a more in-depth way on a social level. Leaving aside the usual story about letting branched nerds out of the house in their armchairs, this game now presents itself as a value of the person and the community who love Pokémon and not only: the arrival on mobile of the monsters in fact has relaunched the brand very strongly. taking all that target the players from App (even of a certain age) who have snubbed the little monsters with the thought Nintendo + Portable Consoles = Games for children. This maneuver of the cabinet meant that anyone who owns a cellphone, even not of the latest generation, can approach Pokémon at no cost and I am quite confident that this move will greatly enhance the sales of Sole and Luna, titles for Nntendo 3DS due out in November.

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