Pokemon Go! has been released in the US now, and of course I just had to download it. I’m really looking forward to going out and exploring my neighborhood, and catching as many Pokemon as possible. If I just so happen to get some exercise in the process, so be it. I need the exercise, for sure.
I hear the game is similar to Ingress, made by the same company, Niantec. In Pokemon Go, the goal (as with any Pokemon game) is to catch as many Pokemon as you can, and use those Pokemon in gym battles. What makes Go so unique, is that you actually have to travel to different areas, using the app’s GPS tracking to follow your position at all times. You can catch wild Pokemon in various locations, with the type of area you’re nearby determining what type of Pokemon are available to catch. Walk next to a river, and you’ll get some water types. Walk through a park, and get some forest types. Pretty much anywhere else will get you very common types. Even the time of day determines what you catch.
You can use items as well, but once those items run out, you’ll need to rest at a PokeStop – special landmarks all across the map that usually contain valuable items, experience, and ‘stardust’ to help you on your journey. They can be things like statues, firehouses, bridges, or anything else that stands out. I’ve got a few stops nearby my house that I’d like to go to so I can restock at some point.
Unfortunately, due to the extreme popularity of the app, the game’s servers are severely overwhelmed. This means that you’d be lucky to even be able to log in, much less play the game. Niantec should have definitely foreseen this level of traffic though, given how popular Pokemon as a whole is. If you do happen to be able to log in, it’s also possible that the location-specific assets won’t load, since those are not saved locally, and can only be retrieved from Niantec’s servers – which are unstable to say the least.
Hopefully the servers won’t be so bloated this weekend, as I have plans to walk all over my neighborhood as much as possible so that I can catch every damned Pokemon that I can!