The location-based mobile game Pokemon GO recently released on July 6 and so far it’s been quite popular. So popular in fact that their login servers have been having issues. Is it even that good of a game or is it just another game taking advantage of its already popular brand and nostalgia? I wasn’t sure myself how popular it was until I saw kids and adults alike everywhere gathering around virtual monuments to capture Pokemon and battle at virtual Pokemon gyms.

I’ve been a fan of Pokemon in the past and I still have my copy of Pokemon Red with a Gameboy color to be able to play it and I loved that game. This title is something entirely different though from your standard Pokemon game. It requires that you actually go out and  capture Pokemon hiding throughout the world and sometimes this can lead to into awkward situations. It’s great that it gets kids out in the real world opposed to most games but there still glued to their devices.

I remember when I first saw some leaked videos of the game in development and as excited as I was for the game, they weren’t that impressive. Sadly I don’t feel like the game’s actual release has progressed that far from the leaked video. It feels like another game that was rushed to release and has been pretty prone to bugs and glitches. Although thankfully those bugs for me haven’t led to any lost progress or Pokemon in the game.

iOS Glitches:

  • Music stops looping
  • Freezes during Pokemon capture
  • Background augmented reality view flips upside down
  • Server login issues
  • Delayed use of inventory items such as revives and health potions
  • Character doesn’t move while connected to Wifi
  • You can only click on the ground location of a game object and not the 3D object itself.
  • Save battery feature causes issues when waking from sleep mode (won’t wake unless phone upside down)

I still like the game and think it has a lot of potential but it doesn’t feel like a finished product and it could really use some extra attention to become the great game it could be and fulfill the hype. The character customization is nice but seems to fall short of making your game avatar that personal. You can’t change anything afterwards either, so make sure you like the look. Hopefully, they’ll add more customization features later but so far you’re the only one who sees your Pokemon trainer anyway. The game world render, in general, looks very plain and flat. I understand its a representation of the real world but it would great if it had a little more to it  then some lighting changes, floating white orbs, and the occasional grass rustle from Pokemon here or there.

I think one of the biggest issues that may add to the fun mystery that is learning how to play the game is the extreme lack of any real game tutorial or information how to play at all. I’ve been able to find information online on how to play but its almost completely absent in the game. It turns to the game into an adventure of trial and error which can be fun and frustrating at the same time. Its oversights like this that make the game feel unfinished.

If there’s one feature I was surprised to not have in the game yet it was the ability to trade Pokemon.  You can’t battle other players without a Pokemon Gym either. The social features in the game are limited to Pokemon Gyms and taking pictures but you never actually battle another player in real time. You only battle the AI of the Pokemon left behind by another player at a Gym.

If you decide to play the game I have a few pieces of advice to give you.

Tips:

  • Hit monuments up every 5 min for PokeBalls
  • PokeBalls are limited so try to take the time in throwing your shot
  • Turn off augmented reality to stop Pokemon from moving around
  • Include friends and family to make you experience a social one
  • Duplicate Pokemon can be transferred to Professor Oak for items
  • Force quit the app when it freezes
  • There’s no PokeCentre to heal or revive your Pokemon

Conclusion

Pokemon GO is a fun game but it feels unfinished and has quite a few bugs. It’s a free game but like most free games it has an in-app purchase model that could easily break the bank if you’re not careful with the kids. If you going to play have patience, make it social by playing with a friend, and go on a hike or bike ride. I still recommend the game because of its nostalgia and fun factor but hopefully, it improves over time.