Be right back, gotta go and catch ’em all

By Candece Kenrick

“I wanna be the very best / Like no one ever was. / To catch them is my real test, / To train them is my cause. / I will travel across the land, / Searching far and wide. / Each Pokemon to understand / The power that’s inside.”

Countless numbers of kids would have sung that song back in the day, dreaming of the day they became Pokémon trainers like Ash Ketchem. Little did they realize that, as of July 6th, their dreams were (somewhat) realized with the release of Pokémon Go.

If you haven’t heard about Pokémon Go yet, despite the countless news reports of the game, where have you been? Released in Australia and New Zealand on the 6th of July, Pokémon Go has quickly taken the world by storm.

The location-based augmented reality game does require you to go outside and explore your neighbourhood to catch ’em all, but whilst that might be daunting, reports are emerging of the positive effects of the game – helping people overcome social anxiety and becoming more active.

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Here at Teensoul, we’re a little obsessed with the game. Heck, even the Colosoul office has been known to have someone express loudly “There’s a Squirtle around here … somewhere, I’m going the head outside to catch it.” Or “My battery’s run out just as I was about to catch a Pokémon!!”

The game does require you to sign up using a Gmail account, and even though you can customize your character, there is still limited range of variety for customization.

The gameplay is essentially just a large animated version of Google maps without all the pesky road names and street signs. Riddled with Pokéstops, Pokémon gyms (which are identified as extravagant blue, yellow or red Pokéstops with a Pokémon on top) alongside wild Pokémon jumping out at you from the (imaginary) grass, the game utilizes your GPS signal to track and move your avatar within the game.

Within the game, you’ll be able to catch various different levels of Pokémon, including the original starter Pokémon (fire-type Charmander, pokemongo2water-type Squirtle, and grass-type Bulbasaur). Although according to a rumour, if you walk away without capturing Charmander, Squirtle or Bulbasaur four times, you can catch Pikachu as your first Pokémon.

Capturing a Pokémon has the same mechanics as the Pokémon games on the DS – throw the Pokéball and with luck, you’ll catch it. Even though the game doesn’t entitle you to battle it out and take turns while capturing a Pokémon, the Pokémon are able to attack and some even get away.

TIP: In order to have a better chance of your Pokèball succeeding in catching your Pokémon make sure to wait to release your Pokèball when the colored circle around your Pokémon gets as small as it can get. These colored circles indicate the different strengths and how hard the Pokémon will be to catch.

As you progress through in the game and visit Pokèstops, you will collect more items, which can be used at a later date. These include Pokéballs, egg incubators (be warned, these break after three uses!), revive and potions.

TIP: The longer you walk when incubating an egg, the better the Pokémon will be. Need more XP? Spin your Pokéball when capturing a Pokémon. Need more candy? Transfer your unwanted Pokémon to the Professor.

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One of the interesting things that have come out of the Pokémon Go game is how the incense and lure modules are being used. Both only last 30 minutes, but are dependent on how you use them. Incense will attract Pokémon to where ever you are located, however lure modules will attract Pokémon to Pokéstops. Interestingly, companies have being using lure modules to increase sales, especially seeing if they are near a Pokéstop.

One of the main problems with the game I found is how much the game uses your battery. There is nothing more worse than your phone dying, just as you are about to catch a Pokémon. But a few things I’ve learned to make your battery life last a little longer:

  • Enter the settings in the Pokémon Go app and enable battery saver mode.
  • Lower the brightness of your phone and turn off app refresh.
  • Download your local area or the area that you want to go and explore from Google maps so that you don’t keep using your battery life.
  • Turn off Augmented reality (the AR sign in top right corner when battling a Pokémon)

Overall, the game is great. Despite the few minor glitches (like the game shutting down when you’ve captured a Pokémon and servers being down due to high traffic), I’ve enjoyed playing the game. I’ll continue playing the game and waiting for the bugs to be fixed.

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One of the things I’ve enjoyed was the exercise I’ve received walking around the neighbourhood and meeting likeminded players. Pokémon Go has definitely changed the landscape of mobile playing apps. I’m looking forward to it, and until then, I’ll be catching ’em all.

 

Photo source: Supplied
Video source: Niantic via YouTube

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