Pokémon Go review

Pokémon Go review

Augmented reality (AR) is a great gimmick. There's something incredibly cool at looking at a normal room you hang out in every day - and seeing a real, moving Pokémon.

Kind of.

Pokémon Go review

Yes, that really is a Squirtle in the Newshub studio

Pokémon Go is free to play, but there are, of course, in-app purchases. For a mere $149.99, you can buy 14,500 Pokécoins! Or if that's a bit rich for you, the cheapest purchase is 100 Pokécoins for $1.49.

You need Pokécoins to buy more Pokéballs (100 coins for 20), as well as boosters like incense (attracts wild Pokémon to your location for 30 minutes, for just 80 coins) and Lucky Eggs (double XP for 30 minutes for 80 coins each).

But this is a team game where you wander around the public, right? So you can also get Lure Modules, which attract Pokémon to a Pokéstop for 30 minutes.

Currently, it doesn't look like there's a way to get Pokécoins without paying real money. The good thing is you can get free Pokéballs and other items by levelling up and at Pokéstops.

The game only launched at noon on Wednesday and it's clearly been popular. For example, you need a unique username - easy enough, right?

Pokémon Go review

Okay, what about -

Pokémon Go review


Pokémon Go review

At least this is a different error.

I created my account a little after an hour after the game launched. If this was my struggle, I pity anyone who's installing it on Thursday or later.

Moving on, as a New Zealander, it's awesome to see how much time was put in to making the Pokéstops. When it was announced they'd be around landmarks, I wasn't expecting much.

Instead we've got local parks, murals, and bars, all sorts of little things that Kiwis are being encouraged to visit. On my way to work yesterday I saw someone loitering by a painted power box, phone in hand and app already loaded - at a Pokéstop, just hours after the game launched.

But that's one of the downsides of the app. There is simply no way to look cool and casual when you're stopped in the middle of the footpath desperately trying to catch a Zubat, and oh my god, get in the ball because this is starting to get embarrassing.

Pokémon Go review

We have a minor Zubat infestation at Newshub

Another downside is that if you put your phone into sleep mode just after having successfully caught a 'mon (say, if you're playing this at work), it glitches out and won't count it - but it will count the balls you used trying to get it. The app also chews through your battery.

You can't trade with or battle other trainers yet - once you're level 5 you can start challenging nearby gyms, but there's nothing live.

Pokémon Go review


For now, Pokémon Go is fresh and exciting. Whether that continues once the hype wears down remains to be seen.

But we had a Squirtle in the Newshub studio. That's pretty hard to beat.

Pokémon Go review


Pokémon Go is free to download and now available for both iOS and Android devices.

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