I’ve managed to tear myself away from my recently downloaded Pokémon Go in order to bring you the news that Pokémon Go is now available for download. After going public in Japan earlier this week, the game is now open to the American market via iOS and Android devices.
Despite early accounts asserting buggy design and frustrating microtransactions, I snagged the game within moments of hearing about its arrival in the States. Downloaders will be offered the opportunity to engage with the game by way of one of two memberships: one that syncs with the player’s Google account, and the other that
After being introduced to the Poké-world by a strapping new take on the franchise’s traditional expositive academic, Professor Willow, the player will be given the opportunity to customize his or her avatar before launching straight away into the game…after being assigned to allow access to your camera and GPS, that is.
In keeping with the inceptive entry in the Pokémon series, you’ll instantly be shouldered with the decision between Charmander, Squirtle, and the dangerously underappreciated Bulbasaur. But the novelty of Pokémon Go is your device’s camera transplants whatever Pokémon you find yourself in battle with to your immediate location—trying to catch a Squirtle on the city bus or a Charmander in your Laundromat is about as endearing as you might imagine, as is the fact that the game’s world map is an exact replica of your surrounding area—seeing a digitized version of the dog park down the block from my apartment was quite a trip.
Although it took me a few tries to get the hang of the game’s controls (I tossed a couple of spare Pokéballs at a projection of my roommate before snagging my leafy target), and probably longer than the average gamer to understand that your avatar’s movements sync up directly with yours (he or she moves up and down streets at the same pace you do, and can only advance on nearby Pokémon when within a few feet), the game quickly melded into second nature, allowing a simplified, expedient take on an old favorite. It may yet prove as glitch as rumored, but I’m enchanted enough to find out for myself. As should you!
And please, spread some love to the unloved—go for Bulbasaur. He’s the best.
Images: The Pokemon Company/Nintendo/Niantic