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Pokémon Go hits the streets!

The idea behind Pokémon Go is as simple as it is brilliant: leverage on the technology of smartphones to bring a beloved Nintendo classic game to life. By using a smartphone’s GPS, camera, and internet connection, players can now catch Pokémon by walking around in the real world, vigilantly watching their smartphones, hoping for a rare-type encounter.

Pokémon Go allows users to capture Pokémons in the real world via augmented-reality. It is available for both iOS and Android devices. For now it is blocked in the country.(2016.mb.com.ph)

Pokémon Go allows users to capture Pokémons in the real world via augmented-reality. It is available for both iOS and Android devices. For now it is blocked in the country.(2016.mb.com.ph)

Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game that works. It has no shortage of fun: you face familiar, cute monsters, there’s always a thrill when your phone vibrates to inform you that there’s a Pokémon nearby, and it actually makes you want to catch them all. You collect your Pokémon, enhance and evolve them, gather items from Pokéstops, and do battle in Pokémon gyms. The wonder of finding Pokémon superimposed on the real world can also make for hilarious screenshots.

Catching Pokémons has been simplified. Unlike the Gameboy versions where you have to weaken Pokémon first before trying to catch them, this time, you just have to throw the Pokéball (swipe your phone) to attempt a catch. It’s not hard, but there’s a learning curve here before you get your cute monsters in one throw.

Personally, I’ve found looking for Pokémon more fun. Walk through a park and there’s a high chance you’ll face bug-type and flying-type Pokémon. My bus passed some old houses and I was able to catch a ghost-type Pokémon. It’s the little things like this that makes the game more delightful than it should be.

Best of all – you can play the game and enjoy it fully without getting robbed by in-app micro-transactions. That’s a statement many games claim, but Pokémon Go actually delivers. The game is generous;you can find virtually everything you need by playing the game as it was intended– by walking around in the real world.

Because the game is fun, it has a wonderful side-effect: I’ve found it to be the best fitness app I’ve ever tried. So many fitness apps try to gameify their program to make it more fun, Pokémon Go does it natively and without making fitness feel like a punishment. You end up walking a little bit further, spending more time outdoors in hopping between Pokéstops and searching for more powerful Pokémon. My second day as a wannabe Pokémon master resulted in more than 21,000 steps – more than double my daily average.

There are Day1 bugs and issues that bog down gameplay, like losing GPS connection even with stable network connection.

Battles continue even when they have 0 HP. And Pokémon Go devours battery life like no other. It makes sense because you’re utilizing so many things in your smartphone simultaneously, but the issue still needs to be addressed.

But these bugs will eventually be ironed out; games like Pokémon Go will be popular for years.

(The author currently resides in Switzerland, allowing him to try out Pokémon Go without restrictions — Editor)MB