At first I was hesitant about the Pokemon GO app. To me an app where you’re going out and exploring your own world to find Pokemon wasn’t attached to the original games at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love Pokemon. Ever since I was a child I’ve been playing every generation and I pride myself on knowing almost all of the names of them (get stuck on the 2nd gen pokemon)! I’ve played at least one game from each generation and have currently gone back to Black/White 2 as a game I missed. Completing Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, Silver, Ruby, Pearl, SoulSiver, Black, White, X, OmegaRuby, I believe exploring through the different regions is the true experience of Pokemon. An adventure through a map that is unknown to you but you learn with time to find the best route around. Even with the Mystery Dungeon games, you have the same exploration that makes the game interesting. Granted I’ve played Pokemon mini games that have nothing to do with exploration: Snap, Link, Picross, the Trading Card Game, and they’re all brilliant and not trying to be the ultimate game, but something different. I just felt Pokemon GO was taking too much limelight in being this big new Pokemon game and comparing to the generational games.
Pokemon GO is a bit too much like a phone app, and it has to be to work, but that’s partly why I didn’t like it. The aspect of buying coins to get more items, I just hate in-app purchasing. Luckily as an Android user as long as I answer enough Google Surveys, I can get some free coin purchases! But even so, it’s that marketing technique that works with other apps that put me off it. Secondly, the usage. Battery draining, heated phone, it required you to constantly be staring at your phone whilst walking around town. An act that is not only dangerous around towns and cities but also zombie-like. People are constantly on their phones, and yes I’m one of those people, but sometimes I put my phone away and notice that horrible crowd of people with curled backs, hinged necks, and try to enjoy the space around us. Selfies and Snapchat, it’s all just phone-orientated now, which is great for connecting but not great for community. I didn’t want to play a game that requires me to be constantly staring at phone waiting for something to happen as I walk around.
Then Pokemon GO Plus came, and the price of it, is about the price of the generation games. It is worth it. It makes it less of a game and more like an app. I keep mine in my pocket. I feel a vibration and I press the button. The distinction between the different types of vibrations gives me an indicator of what happened, not that it matters to me either way. The app runs in the background and doesn’t use much battery. It records my steps, it notifies when a Pokemon is worth catching and it tells me how it went. It’s absolutely brilliant and certainly makes the app more enjoyable. When I’ve reached my destination, I open the app to check what I’ve caught. New Pokemon are displayed with a slightly green background so it’s easy to catch-up. I only keep 2 of each Pokemon so I send some of them off to gain some candy to evolve them. I don’t need to spend a lot of time on the app, I can just check and close it (and turn off Bluetooth too) then return to it later.
It works. And better yet, it makes me like the game. At first I was hesitant but now, I’m enjoying the game. I’m not staring at my phone, I’m not constrained by sharing with others in the street what I’m playing by have an attachment or my bare wrists on clipping onto my tshirt. I can get on with what I need to do without using one hand to hold my phone and crane my neck to see what’s happening. This system works. And if it costs that much, then so be it. Pokemon GO Plus turns the game into an app where I can focus on what I’m doing rather than focusing on where a virtual monster is hiding. Pokemon means a lot to me, so it’s worth it.