Pokemon Go is the Pokémon game for smartphones that we’ve all been longing for. Here’s our Pokemon Go preview.
UPDATE: This preview was posted at the end of 2015. Fast forward to July 2016 and Pokemon Go is now live and available to download and play, in the US, Australia and New Zealand. Despair not if you live elsewhere, however, as we’ve compiled a handy How To Download Pokemon Go guide for anyone in the UK, Europe, India and other parts of the world.
Original Pokemon Go Preview
Cast your mind back to April 2014 and you may remember Google Maps’ incredible partnership with Pokémon/Nintendo that required users to scour the globe in search of 151 pocket monsters.
The challenge was launched by way of a highly produced live-action video that saw users interacting with Pokémon in the real world via an augmented reality experience on their smartphones. In actuality the game required that you search Google Maps for icons of different Pokémon and tap them in order to catch them – it was still fun, but fell short of what the teaser video supposedly promised.
Jump to a new video posted on the official Pokémon YouTube channel near the end of 2015 and the promo footage for Pokémon GO bears a striking resemblance to the 2014 Google Maps challenge footage, although this time the promise of augmented reality Pokémon catching is actually real.
Pokémon GO will have players hunting for Pokémon in the real world and capturing them using pokéballs, great balls and even the odd master ball. Whilst this early trailer doesn’t go into specifics we’d be curious to find out whether or not each ball’s characteristics mirror that of the GameBoy and DS games.
As well as capturing Pokémon, the trailer shows players trading wirelessly and even battling each other using their smartphones, which in our eyes ticks all the necessary boxes for a perfect Pokémon mobile title in 2015.
Interestingly it also only appears to only feature first-generation Pokémon like Charizard, Pikachu and Mewtwo whilst the players on screen are in their late 20s and early 30s, the appropriate age range for gamers who would have been children during generation one.
To round off the Pokémon GO experience the video also showcases a distinctive new wearable. A small device called the Pokémon GO Plus that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and can alert you to events such as nearby Pokémon using vibrations and an LED indicator.
Part of Pokémon GO’s development comes from Niantic Labs – the Google-born startup that previously developed a location-based game called Ingress which required players to ‘capture’ points of interest for their team using their smartphone – as such we can see why they’re involved on this new project.
Pokémon GO will arrive sometime in 2016 for iOS and Android, and frankly we can’t wait.