The Pokemon series, which made its debut on the Game Boy in the 90’s, is back in the spotlight thanks to the success of the new “Pokemon GO” game. In the series, gamers ‘capture’ creatures known as Pokemon and use them to battle against one another.  There is also a storyline that involves defeating characters such as Team Rocket, who want to use Pokemon for power and greed. You also collect badges to master all of the gyms where creatures battle. Not much of a story, but great gameplay and a massive community brings it all together.

“Pokemon Go” is a smartphone app that mimics the gameplay of the Pokemon series. The user walks around and catches Pokemon in their vicinity. You can then train, battle or evolve your Pokemon to raise their power.

Niantic, the company that designed the game, teamed up with Google Maps to help design the game mechanics for walking around in real time to play the game. The user is able to see their avatar walking around the world, as well as ‘PokeStops’, special locations where digital items such as potions, poke balls and eggs can be found. Players also search for ‘Gyms’ where Pokemon are trained and battles take place.

In the game there are 3 different factions that a player can join. The purpose of these is to control major points around the world. So if the yellow team controls a specific point, red could gather up some friends and challenge them.

“Pokemon Go” is a free-to-play game. However, if you don’t want to wait to collect certain items in the game, you can buy them via in-app purchases.

While “Pokemon GO” is proving to be a cultural phenomenon, there are a lot of bugs and issues that come with the early stages of its release. The game, for example, can freeze or crash every now and then. Lag can be a major issue and if you live in a suburban area there will be a fewer  “PokeStops” and that means less items.

The app is very fun to play and can be quite addicting for people interested in the series. With the company already releasing patches and tweaks to help improve the gameplay, the game’s popularity could grow even more. “Pokemon GO” has already garnered a lot of attention, and I believe it’s only the beginning.

Score: 7/10