VuePoint: What Sets Pokemon Go Apart From The Competition?

It isn’t often that games encourage the player to head outdoors. Hell, 99% of games rely on the gamer being afraid of the wide world outside, and much prefer them to remain trapped in the virtual world that has been painstakingly created for our amusement.

Enter Pokemon Go.

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock with Patrick Star for the last couple of weeks, you’ll no doubt have heard of Nintendo’s latest release – a free app that uses your camera to place Pokemon out in the real world, sending gamers out hunting. With a brand new app now on the streets I thought it seemed like an ideal time to talk about the world of mobile gaming. We’ve come a long way since using the number pad to play Snake on our Nokia 3410s.

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More often than not, Mobile games now have in depth RPG mechanics, daily rewards, and (for those of us who are willing to pay) many, many micro-transactions. The first game that springs to mind here is the mobile edition of Injustice: Gods Among Us. Yes it’s a fairly old title (although with a sequel to the console game coming soon, who knows what the future of the App Store holds…). The main game on consoles was a DC Reskin of Mortal Kombat (sorry but it was). I’m not hating on the game, it was incredibly fun to punch Lex Luthor in his smug face, before carrying him into the outer atmosphere for a game-changing super move, but weirdly enough, I had more fun on the mobile app.

The gameplay was far more restricted, that’s pretty much a given, but what kept me hooked was the number of upgradeable characters. Multiple versions of every DC character you can think of, updates with each movie that came out with a whole bunch of new characters, card packs to purchase (with in-game currency for me), and every character had gear to equip, a level cap of 50 to reach, skills to unlock and upgrade, booster cards, there was just so much to play with.

I played the console version for a while, but it quickly became stale for me. Fighting games aren’t really my thing, no matter how much superhero flavoured icing you sprinkle over it. I can’t help but feel however, that if the main game had as much to give as the mobile app, I would probably still be playing it today.

One thing I love in any game – mobile, console or otherwise – is when your character levels up, and you really feel more powerful for it. Some games offer skill points when you level up to purchase new abilities, which is fine, but it doesn’t compare to having your base stats increased, and being able to go back and decimate foes who previously caused you trouble.

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This might just be me, but it’s one of the main reasons I love the Injustice mobile app, The Witcher 3, and a game called Marvel: Future Fight. I mentioned this in my first BearSleuth article as my favourite mobile app, and I definitely still stand by that decision. Similar to Injustice, Future Fight has a whole roster of marvel characters to choose from. There are some notable exceptions – none of the X-Men or Deadpool are anywhere to be seen – but given the likenesses of the characters to their MCU counterparts, this was probably a licensing issue.

Again, every character can be levelled up, equipped with gear, have their base stats enhanced by upgrading certain items, upgradeable skills, and can even increase in rank to give them a higher level cap. It’s crazy to think how much time can be spent on these mobile games, and things like check-in rewards and daily quests make me go back every day.

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It seems to me that it’s the draw of the strategy more than anything else. As I mentioned before, the gameplay is quite limited, seeing as how you have one small screen to work with, but I can never seem to get enough of levelling up my characters, carefully choosing a team for a mission based on their stats and equipment, or just going back and bombing through previously completed levels to grind for XP or smugly watch as a troublesome boss is annihilated in a few hits.

And so we move to Pokemon Go. I may not have played it yet, but I have seen lots of footage about what it’s like, and I feel like if (or when) I download it, my life will be sucked into a world of chasing Zoobats through the park. The sheer number of available Pokemon to collect looks staggering, and each seem to be customizable in their own way.

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I’m going to end up with no time to make videos, no time to write articles, no time to do…well…anything really. But one thing is for certain…


…That was this week’s VuePoint!!! Check back tomorrow for a new BearSleuth Opinion Piece!!!

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