Over Eid holiday Pokémon Go was officially released in the U.S. For the uninitiated, Pokémon Go is an augmented reality (AR) mobile game, released both on iOS and Android. The point of the game is to walk around your environment to find and catch Pokémon. When you reach level 5, you’re able to fight at Pokémon gyms that are scattered across the country. The first time you do this you get to choose the faction you want to be a part of, Team Instinct (Yellow), Team Valor (Red) or Team Mystic (Blue). Once you choose a faction and beat the gym boss, that gym belongs to your faction. The game is a massive hit in the U.S. and is about to surpass Twitter in daily active users. It seems to be encouraging adults and kids alike to go outside and walk around, and in some cases make new friends. There are a lot of great stories coming out thanks to this game.
Sadly since we are in Kuwait we can’t really go out for long walks at the moment because it’s super hot outside. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t still play it. I’ve noticed that the game works in our malls and other places we spend a lot of time in. My wife was shopping and I decided to try out the app indoors and I ended up catching Jigglypuff and a few other great Pokémon while she was doing her thing. I’ve also used the app at traffic lights but please don’t use it while you’re actually driving unless you’re on a Pokémon date. Mark had a power cut at his apartment over the weekend so he was forced to leave the house and ended up killing time by walking around his neighborhood looking for Pokémon until the power came back on. Kuwait has loads of Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms scattered throughout so we aren’t missing out on anything really.
Here are some quick tips for first time users:
– In the bottom right side of the screen you’ll find icons of Pokémon that are in your vicinity. If you click on the icon you’ll find up to 3 little footprints under each Pokémon. 3 footprints means the Pokémon is in your area, but not close to where you are, while no footprint means the Pokémon is right next to you.
– When you try to catch a Pokémon you’ll find an AR slider on the top right. Switch this off to switch off your camera, which makes catching Pokémon easier.
– As you’re trying to catch Pokémon, hold the Pokéball and twirl it on screen to add a curve to it which will give you more experience points if you’re successful at catching the Pokémon.
– If you have duplicate Pokémon, click on the ones you don’t want and transfer them over to the Professor to get items necessary to make your Pokémon stronger.
So how is the quality of the Pokémon Go app itself? Well, to be honest, average. The UI is badly designed and the game is known to crash for a few users. The “game” itself is pretty thin, besides walking around and trying to catch Pokémon, there isn’t much else to do. The only time you ever battle is when you find a gym. There is no way to interact with friends, no way to trade Pokémon and no way to challenge a friend to a battle. But ultimately, the quality of the app itself means little when the experience of using the app is making people happy. At the end of the day, Niantich can update the app some time in the future to add the features that are still missing from this game.
If you’re interested in trying out the game it’s available to download in the U.S. iOS App Store and Android devices. You won’t find it in the Kuwait store since it hasn’t officially launched worldwide.
Posted by Patrick