Just a couple of months old as of this writing, Pokemon Go is shaping up to be one of this decade’s most important games. It’s a lot of fun to play, easy to get into (even non-Pokemon fans who can’t tell a Pikachu and a Charmander apart want to join in on the Pokebandwagon), and it has a nice and welcoming community that other online games can only hope to strive for (yes, and we’re looking at you DOTA2, League of Legends, CS:GO, and Call of Duty). Also, a big plus is that it got everybody out of their homes and socializing and exercising and all of the other normal things that a lot of gamers usually don’t take part in.
The Pokemon Go revolution is here and absolutely no one can stop it.
But is it a good game?
The answer depends on what your definition of a “good game” is. The Pokemon games are not really known for having a deep engaging gameplay or mind-blowing graphics. People play these games because the idea of owning pet monsters of their own and training them to become the very best that they can be is fun.
Which brings us back to Pokemon Go. As far as graphics go, Pokemon Go’s are at best, rudimentary. The Pokemon animations and icons are cute, but that’s about it. Gameplay is pretty basic: Just chuck a Pokeball at a Pokemon in the wild, pray to the heavens that it doesn’t escape, and wait for the result. It’s that simple. You get to “train” the Pokemon by earning experience points and using candies on them, but these are practically useless until you get to a higher trainer level. If you do manage to get strong enough, you can try taking on one of the gyms that are scattered around your area.
Since it was only recently released, the game is riddled with game-breaking bugs such as server disconnections and GPS failures. There are also reports of captured Pokemon suddenly going missing. It can be quite disconcerting to find a rare Pokemon like a Jynx or a Lapras out in the wild, only to be booted out of the game because the servers have been overloaded.
However, despite these setbacks, Pokemon Go is still a very fun and community-oriented game, probably the best of its kind on the mobile market today. It plays on most millenials’ fantasy of becoming a real-life Poketrainer (especially those who have played the first generation Pokemon games back in the 90s), and it does it well.
If Niantic can add a PvP mode (and iron out the server-side kinks while they’re at it), then this game can probably become this decade’s pop culture icon and usher in a whole new Poke-era.