It's almost time to step into your destiny as a Pokémon trainer.
With the Japanese beta of Pokémon Go recently started, we are closer than ever to finally getting to play Pokémon Go. Niantic, the ex-Google company who gave us the glorious gift of Ingress are closer than ever to delivering the dreams of being a real-world Pokémon trainer to gamers everywhere. While there aren't a ton of details out about the game quite yet, there is still plenty to sift through.
There have been several leaks surrounding the game, but because this game is in beta right now we won't be focusing on the type of Pokémon in the game, or any other information that is obviously subject to change. Instead, we'll focus on the highlights that have been made official so far.
The awesome folks over on the Pokémon Go subreddit have put together a list of Verified info which gives you a breakdown of who has said what about the game. We picked out ten nuggets of information about this awesome game. Keep scrolling to check out what's in store.
While we don't know all the details on how you'll be finding Pokemon, this is what we do know. Using the app on your phone, you'll have a map which shows Pokémon out in the wild around you. After you know where they are, you just need to get to them and try to catch them. This seems pretty cut and dry, and for any Ingress players, it probably also sounds a bit familiar. There's no word yet on how detailed the map, or the indicators of Pokémon on it will be just yet, but it's only a matter of time. The other thing to remember is that different Pokemon will be living in different areas, so you probably won't be able to fill out your Pokédex just by walking around your town or city.
Once you've found the Pokémon that you're looking for, the next step is to capture them. We know you'll be able to do this whether your live camera is on, or not. You'll need to aim with your touchscreen, and then tap the screen to throw a Pokéball. Looks like capturing Pokémon may end up being just as frustrating as though you were playing on a Nintendo DS, because they can run away when you try to capture them. Down the road, better items like Great Balls will make it easier to catch more difficult Pokémon.
Pokémon Go Plus
Unlike in the games, nobody really has the time to devote their entire life to finding catching every Pokémon available. The Pokémon Go Plus will connect to your phone via bluetooth, and notify you of in-game events like nearby Pokémon by vibrating and flashing an LED. This accessory isn't going to be necessary to gameplay, though for the hard core players it will probably be super handy. For the time being though, there is still no word on how much the Pokémon Go Plus will cost.
From early on in development, Niantic was telling us that you'd need to go out and wander the world to find all of the Pokemon living within it. One of the new additions they've added are Pokestops. These will be located at places like historical markers, art installations, and monuments, and will let you find Pokeballs and other items in the vicinity. You may also find Pokémon eggs, which will hatch after you have walked a certain distance.
While the details haven't been released yet, we do know that there will be a system for you to level up as a Trainer during your journey with Pokemon Go. As you level up you'll get access to better items — like the Great Balls we mentioned earlier —and have the ability to capture more powerful Pokemon. If this game is anything like the handheld versions, you won't be able to completely fill out your Pokedex until you have levelled up enough to take on the tougher Pokemon hiding out in the world.
As anyone who has ever played a Pokémon game will tell you, it's impossible to actually catch every one. That's because many Pokémon need to evolve, by levelling up. While we don't yet know exactly how evolution will work in Pokémon Go, we do know that it isn't going to work quite the same way. After you have caught several of the same breed of Pokémon you will have the opportunity to evolve one of them. For now we'll just have to wait for news to see precisely how this feature will work.
If you've gotten used to the brief thrill from picking up achievements while playing a game, then you're in luck. There will be a series of challenges within the game that span multiple categories. When you complete a challenge, you'll unlock achievement awards which will appear in your player profile. It is possible that the challenges will work like Ingress Global events, but at this point that is just speculation. There aren't a lot of details about the challenges, just that they will involve actions like catching Pokemon, or exploration.
When it comes to playing with other people, one of the big ways that you'll be doing that is by joining a Team. There will be three teams that you can choose from, and after you have joined one you get access to some new features. You'll be able to send one of your Pokémon to a Gym or location owned by your Team to help defend it. Each player can only send one Pokémon, so defending these locations requires teamwork. If, and when you come across a gym or location owned by one of the other two teams, you can attempt to wrest control of it by fighting against them with your personal roster of Pokémon.
Fun no matter where you live
One of the concerns with Pokémon Go was whether it would be fun for those who live in smaller towns, or remote areas. It looks like Niantic put a lot of thought into making sure that your location won't hinder enjoyment of the game. While you won't be able to snatch up all the Pokémon in your Pokédex by haunting your backyard, you can trade with other players. They are also hopeful that Pokémon Go events will crop up, similar to the ones we've seen for Ingress.
With a free-to-play game, one of the big questions that is inevitable, is whether In-app purchases will be a thing. Well, they are going to be a part of Pokémon Go. The model they are hoping to implement will have a lot of players making purchases, without spending much money unlike models that focus on making a lot of money off of a small group of people. That's encouraging to hear of course, but it's another thing we're all just going to have to wait and see about.
The truth is that it's only a matter of time before Pokémon Go becomes available for everyone, which is wickedly exciting. The Japanese beta opened on March 29th, 2016 which means that we're closer than ever. So are you excited for Pokémon Go? Make sure to let us know in the comments!