Are you ready for a new Pokémon game? Pokémon GO has been announced by The Pokémon Company, and it’s coming to a mobile device near you. This isn’t some mere match-3 spin-off or a re-release. It’s something quite special.
Pokémon GO uses augmented reality to make the iconic Pocket Monsters appear in the real world. According to the announcement trailer, players will be able to see the likes of Pikachu, Charizard, Caterpie and many others wandering about when they look at their screens. It’s been achieved through a partnership between Nintendo and a company called Niantic, Inc., who previously worked on another AR game called Ingress.
Besides the smartphone app, the game will utilise a snazzy device called the Pokémon GO Plus. This gadget, stylised to look like a Poké Ball, will vibrate when a Pokémon is near, and will allow players to catch it by pressing its button. It seems like the device isn’t essential to play Pokémon GO, and it hasn’t been mentioned if the game will be compatible with other Nintendo devices like the 3DS or the Pokéwalker.
According to the trailer, gameplay will involve wandering around your area following AR signs on your phone until you have located a Pokémon. It seems like you need to battle wild Pokémon (like in the games on Nintendo handhelds), and battles unfold in an appropriately cheesy manner. Captured Pokémon can be traded with other players, and timed group challenge events look like they will feature. The example shown in the trailer is of a Mewtwo appearing with a ten-minute countdown, urging groups of players to unite to take it on.
What isn’t shown is the training process of Pokémon, nor the actual battle options, such as techniques and items. Also, only Pokémon from the First Generation (the first 151) are in the trailer, although it’s likely that others will be patched in if the game is a success. Be prepared to temper your expectations about the graphics, because two short clips at the end of the trailer (pictured above) show that gameplay will not be exactly like the trailer shows.
Pokémon GO will launch for Android and iPhone devices sometime in 2016. The app itself will be free, but supported by microtransactions.