Pokemon Go was a bit of a phenomenon when it first got released in 2016. An augmented reality game mixed with the real world, that took your favourite Pokemon from childhood and placed them right in front of you – who wouldn’t want to be a real life Pokemon trainer like Ash Ketchum?
Nearly everyone I know ended up downloading the app onto their phones – whether out of love and nostalgia for the game, or pure curiosity – and they played religiously.. for about 2 weeks.
Unfortunately, Pokemon Go was released a little before its time. There were bugs and features that just didn’t seem to match people’s perceptions of what a game of this calibre could be. And so, people stopped playing after they caught all the Pokemon they could, because quite simply – it got boring.
I’ll admit, I was one of those people. I seemed to be putting a lot of effort into a game that offered little in the way of reward, and I lost interest.
Time heals all wounds though, and about 6 months ago I logged into my old account to find a ton of new features, so today – which just so happens to be Pokemon Day (the day Pokemon was first introduced into our lives by Nintendo back in 1996) – I’m going to try and convince you why you should re-download the game and start playing again.
10 REASONS TO START PLAYING POKEMON GO AGAIN
There are close to 500 Pokemon available now
When Pokemon Go was first released, only Gen 1 Pokemon were catchable – the 151 Pokemon from the Kanto region – and you couldn’t even get your hands on all of them. A few creatures, like Farfetch’d, Kangaskhan and Tauros were Region locked, and none of the legendries were making an appearance at all.
Now, four generations of Pokemon are available, and more are being released every other day. You can catch Legendries by fighting in raids, hatch Pokemon babies from eggs, and if you’re aim is to complete the Pokedex, but you don’t really travel, then you’re in luck because you can occasionally hatch a region exclusive as well.
Over the next couple of days you’ll even have the opportunity to catch the eagerly anticipated Smeargle from Gen 2, who only appears once you catch him in photo form. How? Pokemon Go have introduced a new in game camera, so get a littlesnap happy and you might find one of your pictures has been photobombed.
There are daily tasks and bonuses
Another way to get your hands on new Pokemon is by completing the daily tasks. Every time you spin a Pokestop you will be given a new task to complete, and they can be anything from ‘hatch an egg’ to ‘throw 5 great balls in a row’. They’repretty fun, and the rewards can be quite good, ranging from a few rare candies, to a Pokemon – some common, some not so.
Every day that you complete one task, you get a stamp, and it you collect 7 stamps, you get the opportunity to encounter a legendary Pokemon. At the moment there are about seven different legendries that could pop up. It’s the best way to get your hands on rare Pokemon without having to battle them in raids.
You can walk with a buddy
Originally, the only way to evolve the Pokemon you were catching was to catch even more of them and collect their candies. This was fine if the Pokemon was common, but if it was rare, you might never get the opportunity to evolve it to it’s second or even third form. Luckily, Pokemon Go introduced the buddy system.
You basically pick a Pokemon you need candies for, set it as you buddy, and you get a surplus just for walking – which is kind of the point of the game so it’s not a difficult task. Each Pokemon is a little different – some only require you to walk 1km for a candy, and others may require 5km – so as you can imagine, the rate at which you evolve varies. But there are also Rare Candies available now, which you can give to any Pokemon to top them up.
You can sync your step count
One thing that always drove me crazy was that you needed to have the Pokemon Go app open for it to count the distance you were travelling. This meant that the only way to hatch eggs and walk you buddy was to physically walk around with the game in hand. Any other time you went for a walk or run didn’t count.
Now you can sync the game to your in phone step count app – the one that counts the distance you have walked automatically. Better yet, you can sync it to your fitbit so you don’t even need to carry your phone around. When you next log into Pokemon Go it will just look at the fitbit total km and add that to the total. You can easily hatch an egg just by walking around the office – just remember to put your next egg into an incubator.
There are tonnes of special events
Throughout February there have been a record of special events happening in Pokemon Go – Valentine’s day, Community Days, Ex Raids –and the game doesn’t seem to be slowing down, so expect even more excitement for March. The events range from new pokemon being released, to exclusive moves becoming available for certain Pokemon, and each time you can bet that you’ll either have the bonus of double candies, or triple XP, or even reduced distance in all incubators. It varies.
Today for example, is Pokemon Day, so you can get your hands on a special event Pikachu or Eevee which comes with a flower on its head – and that flower stays even when you evolve it. You’ll also encounter more Pokemon from the Kanto region than normal, and could come across some brand new shiny Pokemon, in the form of Pidgey and Rattata.
Shiny Pokemon appear more frequently
Catching / hatching shiny pokemon was one of my favourite things about the Nintedo DS versions of Pokemon. I would genuinely cycle around on my little Pokemon bicycle for hours, trying to hatch eggs in the hopes that one would be a shiny. Well you can now catch them in Pokemon Go, and it is so much easier.
It is still a game of luck, but I’ve managed to get my hands on 17 shiny Pokemon in total – and 4 of those are the same type. How? The best way is to take part in an event. Shiny Pokemon appear far more frequently when an event is on, which is how I got my hands on the 4 shiny Swinubs. Otherwise, you can go weeks without seeing one, or catch two shiny Pokemon in a single day – it’s random. It is fun trying to catch them though.
There are even more Pokestops
One of my favourite things about Pokemon Go is the fact that the game introduces you to places you’ve never been to, and shows you things you have walked past a thousand times – even in your own hometown. You may think that you know itwell, but the amount of times I’ve spun a Pokestop to find that there’s a plaque I’d never noticed before, or a stunning piece of street art that I didn’t know existed, is insane.
What’s better, Pokemon Go add new Pokestops to the game all the time, and have included a new way for you to tell if you have spun it or not – a white halo. If you come across a Pokestop that has a white ring around it, it means that it’s either new, or you have never been to that area before. Plus you get extra XP for spinning brand new stops, so if that doesn’t encourage you to explore more, I don’t know what will.
It maps the places you’ve been
I don’t know whether this is a particularly new feature, but it’s new to me and it’s one of my favourite things on Pokemon Go. As someone who loves to travel, I get a massive kick out of seeing the different places I’ve been to before, on a map, and the app does this for you every time you visit a new Gym.
Wherever you are, if you find a gym and spin it, it will get added to your own personal world map. Just go to your Gym Badges, select List, and click on the map in the bottom left corner and you’ll see what I mean. It’s quite possibly the worst map in existence, but it’s such a fun way to track the places you’ve visited, especially if you’re in a new country and come across something but can’t remember it’s name. If it just so happens to be a gym – which a lot of special landmarks are – thenyou’re in luck.
You can battle your friends
If you play Pokemon Go with your pals, are a bit competitive like myself, and have always wanted to find out who has the strongest Pokemon, then you’ll love this next feature – battles. It’s as easy as picking three pokemon and tapping on the screen. The system is very simple, and there isn’t really much skill involved, apart from how fast you can move your fingers – but I kind of like that.
The real test is how well you know your Pokemon – and learning is the fun part. Finding out which Pokemon are strong against others is key, like how water types are vulnerable to electric, and electric is weak against ground types. It’s also good to know which special attacks are the most effective and have a small amount of knowledge on IV’s – though that’s another level of geek I don’t have enough time to get into right now.
You can trade Pokemon
You can also trade with your friends now, which is amazing if you have buddies who like to travel the world. The only stipulation is that you must be in proximity to one another to do this – so if you make friends with someone who lives on a different continent in the hopes that you can trade regional Pokemon, it won’t work. If they were to come and visit you though, then you could trade until your heart’s content.
Annoyingly, trading can require a large amount of stardust – which is something you get for general day to day playing of the game – but you’ll need to make sure you don’t run out, as stardust is also needed to level up your Pokemon. The better friends you are with someone however, the less stardust it will cost to trade, so make sure you send your friends gifts.
Have you ever played Pokemon Go in the past, or do you still play it now? What did you think of the game?
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