BY:  TIM ABRAMS

Pokemon Go! Is a huge phenomenon, causing more people to be on the game than on any social media app. It is also getting people out of their houses, and traveling around their local towns and cities. But is the artificial reality game made by Nintendo and Niantic really as good as people say?

As always let’s start with the graphics. So the game is very colorful, but the palette for day and night are barely descriptive enough to know when the game is changing. The use of blue, yellows and greens help describe areas such as roads, rivers, and fields, but it could have been expanded on more. But for a mobile app and what can be seen as a small game, it is miles above its competition. The app also has a mode which you can use in-game backgrounds instead of the real world AR ones, which is a nice feature for those who have older phones.

The game mechanics are fairly good as well. To catch a Pokemon you first need to find them. By either walking around or by using a lure or incense you can attract Pokemon to your screen and then select them to try and catch them. Once you have a Pokemon selected, you will be able to swipe up on your screen in order to throw a Pokeball. If you throw a ball within the white circle you will be able to catch the Pokemon, if you throw it into the other circles, you have a better chance of Pokemon staying in your Pokeball. This mechanic is flawed, however, as you get to a higher level the balls seem to curve for no reason, as well as Pokemon breaking out of balls easier. This seems to be put in place to make sure the game does not get stale as you get higher levels, but it could also be seen as a way for the company to make you use up your Pokeballs, so you would potentially have to buy more.

The gyms in the game also have a lot of potential. When entering a gym, you can either fight the Pokemon there to try and own the gym or if your team owns the gym already, you can train at the gym to help your team build a better team. Owning a gym right now is kinda pointless, though, seeing as it only gives you so many items and your gym will be beaten out before you get a defender bonus or any items.

Finally, there are Pokestops; which are public landmarks that a person can go to in order to get more items like Pokeballs and potions. These stops can also be used to catch Pokemon when a lure module is used on them.

Evolving Pokemon is easy in Pokemon Go. Having enough candies of a certain Pokemon and stardust is easier than in the game’s predecessors. But, to evolve rare Pokemon players need to traveling to new places and hatching as many eggs as possible. Eggs are items that you can potentially get from Poke Stops and hatch after walking a certain amount of Kilometers. The eggs can also give the player Pokemon that are not specific to their region – meaning a Pokemon that is only available in Asia can be hatched right here in the United States.

So is the game perfect? Not at all. For starters, the GPS the game uses does not always work, it may sometimes register you in the middle of an ocean. Which is weird since I live in almost the exact center of the United States. The game servers also crash every once in awhile, and during the day go offline for about 3 to 4 hours at a time. This can be frustrating since many people only have a few hours to play on any given day.

Finally, the community surrounding this game is becoming… monstrous. Most of the players that belong in the Pokemon Go! community are nice people – they don’t bully others, they clean up after themselves and they do not try to do things that would get the game banned in certain areas. But within every community there is always a few that up to no good – desecrating monuments, loitering around frequented spots, beating people up because of what team they are on and even vandalizing parks! Luckily, most of these people will most likely not stay with the game past the first few weeks.

So is Pokemon Go! really worth your time? Yes, and it will take up a lot of your time. Although the servers are not the best, the game is really fun for being one of the only AR games available. It will most likely make the gaming industry grow in a more mobile way, incorporating cities and communities in a way that no other industry has before. It has also been so successful that Nintendo’s stock has risen exponentially over the last two weeks. That should be an indication that this is not a fade, but a new market that many companies will consider being a part of.

Pokemon Go! gets:  8.5/10

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