It has been a week since the game got released and it has been hitting the spotlight everywhere. People going outside, business overflowing and sadly also some less happy news with dangerous encounters as crossing a railroad or walking into a bad neighborhood…. The first release was in Australia and New Zealand. But what would stop others from playing right? They found a way, they always find a way. Only recently the game got an official European release. Needless to say that JNL team member Tris joined the bandwagon for science.
I admit my dog was more excited to get out for this testrun than I was myself. Don’t get me wrong but it just hasn’t been exciting me so much. I look much more forward to the new sun and moon games with the brand new ugly ghosty pikachu than Pokèmom Go. And seeing nothing else but all this pokemon go everywhere I went online got me more meh.. but despite feeling meh, I opened myself up and here I go.
So I live in this little town, in the middle of nowhere, so I expected nothing. Maybe some random pokémon but that’s it. I would be lucky if I would have at least 1 stop. Can you imaging my face when I booted up the game and saw not one but three gyms? And a lot of pokestops? Three of them are on my route when I walk with my dog, yay! The others are near the stores, so not that far either.
The game itself is very easy to understand, you get a little intro, can choose your character and name and then you are off into the big bad world. The only thing they don’t really explain are the way how to level up your pokémon by sending them to the professor.
For this moment only the first generation of Pokémons have been released in the game and it’s still unsure how you can catch the legendary Pokémon. The game has various functions, once in battle you can choose to switch your camera to two different settings through the button AR. One setting is the green surroundings the other one is the real life version. In the real live setting, the Pokémon moves around and seems harder to catch, through your camera you can follow, and it will tell you which direction you need to go, to follow the Pokémon and to engage the battle.
The game has some really cute animation, from the Pokémon that swirl around at the top of the gym, to the leaves that seem to indicate a respawn point. Even an Pokéstop with a lure has falling leaves or hearts. Once a Pokémon appears your phone will vibrate and the Pokemon will appear in front of you. The Pokémon don’t move much, they just bounce a little up and down, which is cute. Of course it varies on the kind of Pokémon as Magikarp and Goldeen can be seen splashing around in the grass. Once you engage in battle they have a signature movement, which also varies per Pokémon.
When you wanna catch a Pokémon there are different ways, you can do a trick by spinning the ball (a curve ball) which will get you some extra exp, but it’s harder to hit. Throwing the normal ball is the easiest way, but even then, when you swipe a straight throw, it can curve.. That happens way too often, which costs you your balls. The animation for wiggling of the pokemon is nothing new if you have played the games and it’s nice to see something familiar. Just as the games, the evolution takes a little while and while you can speed it up in the regular games, for now it’s not an option. If you do just one evolve then you won’t be bothered by it, but in case of mass evolving… it will take up more time than you would like.
The first day I mainly played from inside the house, testing how the game worked. Since I was sick that day, I couldn’t really go out to play the game, so I decided to test how well you could play from the comfort of your couch. As long as you have Pokéballs, it’s doable to stay inside. But once you run out, you’re forced to go outside and get new balls. On top of that, the rarer Pokémon won’t show up at your doorstep, so it’s definitely more fun to go outside and find them.
The second day started off a bit better. I might not have been pokestudying in the way of pokemon Go so I didn’t know that you can wait next to a stop and have it use again an few minutes later. So after laying in bed and catching everything that came close enough, I ran out of pokeballs. In the end I decided to get some pokeballs from the stops, because I could sit in between them, I waited for roughly thirty minutes. I didn’t really run into other trainers so it was a lonely sunday afternoon. Either way, at the end I got 38 balls and 7 eggs and some other things like potions.
Day three wasn’t that amazing, since I didn’t have much time to play, but I did catch some new Pokémon so that was great.
On the fourth day I met up with a friend. We did a walk around the town and held breaks at my usual spot. It’s way more fun when you’re not alone. I managed to hatch a 5km egg and got halfway for a 10km egg. We didn’t run into a lot of people, my friend was really disappointed by that. However I managed to catch Eevee, Seel, Jigglypuff and a lot more Pidgeys and Rattatas and later at midnight a Poliwrath. At one point the amount of basic pokemon is annoying however now that I manage to get some lucky eggs, I can mass evolve for more experience and level up. We also tried on a gym, but we weren’t strong enough for the last Pokémon. Later we went again and went to hunt a Horsea with two guys, which was fun.
Overall I like the game, however I do think that this hype will be over as soon as the new idea has worn off, because in order to become stronger you need to keep catching pokémon and trading them to professor Willow, who will give you the candy. And the gyms are awesome, but for new trainers almost impossible without 24 hours grinding. I will use one of my gyms in town as an example. I’m only level six and my highest pokemon is a Poliwhirl with an CP of 163 without training. The lowest level at the red gym which is level six!! is a Pidgeot of a 577 CP. I mean, I don’t have a type advance or enough high pokemon to back it up with. So before I can even consider that kind of playing, I need to grind more. Which also give that higher player more time. The other thing is, once you are out of pokeballs, you either have to get out, or buy from the shop. And of course the lack of new pokemon in your surroundings are annoying.
I know the Netherlands has summer holiday so I think that will keep the hype up for now but after that, I expect less people will be playing the game. Besides the people who in the end get looked at and asked “Are you still playing that game?” to which I’ll proudly point it out and say yes. Even after all this time I still play pokemon. But probably not as intense as I used to.
In the meantime I got to level 10 and will be doing a mass evolve either today or tomorrow~ If you are curious on how I play and what I encounter after this blogpost, I started a new series on my private youtube which you can find here.
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