Game Review

Pokémon GO (2016) [v1.55.1]

“A world without Pokémon would be less stable and more dangerous for all of us.”



*NOTE: This review is for the current version of the game (version 1.55.1). You can read about the launch version of the game and its fundamental features here. This review emphasizes the changes made to the original game.

FF3-NES-Dragoonbasic  “The following is a guest post by the Wonderland Dragoon Mage.”

There have been two brand new features added on the date of publication. I want to show them to you guys really quick. One is a whole bunch of new Pokémon have been released and are available to catch.

Also there is a new feature that during certain types of weather certain Pokémon will be stronger and give you extra stardust if you are able to catch them.

I grew up in the 1980’s so when Pokémon was first introduced as an animated series in the 90’s I was the perfect age to get into it. Back then there were less shows imported from Japan to the United States but there were already a few that I had watched and enjoyed and I think this was one of the best I had seen up to that point. I didn’t have a Nintendo Game Boy at the time so my initial exposure to Pokémon was solely through the TV show. Pokémon GO sparked a surprising enthusiasm in me that I didn’t expect.

This is my avatar.

The approach I take when writing a blog about Pokémon GO is quite a lot different than the approach that I would take when writing about any other video game. Pokémon GO has been a journey over the last year and oftentimes there are as many real life experiences that correlate to the total experience as there are in game experiences.

I remember back when the game first launched, groups of us would go to the park and we would see all these other people playing as well. There would be groups of 6 or 10 people and in total there were probably 30 to 50 people that we would encounter playing the game. They were all so excited. I remember someone driving by in a car yelling something about tracking a Pikachu.

The big moment that we all really got excited about was when a Snorlax appeared at the park near one of the ponds. At the time this one of the rarest Pokémon in the entire game. We were all so excited to get it and of course all of us who were able to catch it had our hopes up for catching one with a really high CP. We didn’t know all that much yet about what the best skill sets were.

I remember when the initial popularity started wearing off. Niantic tried various approaches to get people more excited about the game. One of the first ones that I can recall was the 7-day streak making the first spin of the day yield an especially large number of items and day 7 at this point gave you a rare evolution item.

Of course the addition of the catch of the day gave us considerably more stardust and was a nice touch. When the second generation of Pokémon came out, it ignited some of the same excitement that we had all experienced the first time around.

I remember seeing people in my neighborhood out walking around hitting the Pokéstops and trying to catch the new Pokémon and how excited I felt too see them on my nearby list and have ones spawn that I had never even seen before.

I have developed a number of strategies over the last year that I feel have been beneficial. I will discuss some of those strategies with you.

When I very first started playing the game, someone recommended that I catch a whole lot of Pidgeys. It takes very little to evolve a Pidgey and every time you do it will get you 500 experience points. You can get 1000 XP by using a lucky egg. If you evolve a whole bunch all at once and hatch your eggs at the same time you can level up your character considerably faster which allows you access to a number of other items the higher you get and allows a higher cap on the CP for your Pokémon. Sometimes there are double experience events and if you use a lucky egg during those you get 2000 XP per evolve.

One of the most recent updates added super incubators which decrease the distance you need to walk to hatch the eggs.

I found that this game is still really great even  if you do not want to pay extra money for it. I believe the first time that I ever actually spent money on the game was after I had already hit level 20 and I wanted to hatch a number of eggs at one time. For the most part now I just get all of my coins from defending gyms.

All screenshots were taken from my game.

When I run low on items there are a few things I do to get more. The local University in my hometown has a dense number of Pokéstops all within a very small area. I would say about 70 or 80 Pokéstops within maybe one square mile. Additionally my church has two Pokéstops so I can spin them a number of times during the hour and a half I am there and there is one gym which of course also has a Pokéstop now thanks to one of the updates. One of the great things now is that most of the time at church they encourage you to use your Bible app during the sermon so it is not rude to have your phone out during the message anymore.

Another really great place to find a good number of Pokéstops is the local Zoo. You may also find a number of Pokéstops downtown if you have a number of artistic areas.

One of the great additions recently in a list of never-ending updates has been the ability to do gym raids. Obviously certain events don’t directly correlate with when an update happens. A lot of times we do an update and the code is introduced but not made active until a while later. I wish that Niantic had introduced gym raids a little bit earlier in the game because it is a bit harder now to find large groups of people to go and Pokéhunt with you at a gym.

For a while there was a migration of legendary Pokémon that were available here in America. Ho-Oh is the current legendary Pokémon that we are able to capture during gym raids.

If you have played the game for a while you probably know that there are long periods of time where you don’t find any new Pokémon and you don’t evolve any new Pokémon. There have been a number of months where I have gone very long periods of time and not caught or evolved any new Pokémon at all. In this day and age a lot of people have gotten used to everything being instantaneous and so they haven’t had the patience to play a game like Pokémon GO over the long-term. I certainly understand where they’re coming from yet I am also glad that I have stuck with it so far.

One thing that I almost missed was another whole series of Pokémon that have been introduced.

After the special Pokémon that were introduced for Halloween event I noticed that a number of new Pokémon have been added to the Pokédex. I do not believe that most of these are available in the wild or are hatchable as eggs as of yet. But the fact that they are here right now indicates that they are going to be available soon and I would speculate that it is most likely that sometime near Christmas there will be a special event or a number of new Pokémon will be made available for catching. In fact the newest Pokémon update today on the date that this article was released just popped up when I logged on. Here is the new load screen blow.

I love this guy. He seems very much like a Christmas Pokémon especially with the name.

Of course one of the most outstanding features of the game was developed by 9th dimensional physicists at Niantic who realized that Pokémon have the physical presence in our reality just as much as any of us do but they are simply outside of the visual spectrum that humans are able to see. Have you ever noticed your dog barking at seemingly nothing? It was probably a Growlithe or Rattata. Sometimes after I get my truck washed and go into a store I come out and there are prints on my nice clean truck as if cat or squirrel jumped up there and was practicing the polka dance. Now I realize it is just as likely that it was a Pokémon all along.

I like the fact that there is a physical tie in with the rest of the world. It encourages you to walk and go different places. I like the fact that the legendaries have been introduced and you can get groups of friends together to try and catch them. Pokémon GO can be very frustrating and can get dull at times but the overall experience for me has been a positive one and I enjoy and appreciate a lot of the aspects of it.

If you have never played the game before, there are so many Pokémon out there available at this time that you will be able to add tons of new Pokémon to your Pokédex.

One of the interesting new additions to the game has been that as you defend a gym your Pokémon drops in CP considerably over time. This makes it easier for someone to defeat it and prevents the gym from getting locked up and remaining undefeatable if there are a number of really powerful Pokémon in it. Overall, it’s actually been a very positive addition although it is kind of funny how once you get the maximum amount of coins from defending the gym you hope someone will actually come in from another team and boot your Pokémon out of the gym.

In one of my favorite updates we gained the ability to pick a Pokémon to be our buddy and walk with us so that they can get more candy. This is especially helpful for Pokémon that are very rare that we are never likely to catch again or hatch again. This way we have a chance to level them up or evolve them even if they are very rare. There are a number of new items now available in the shop from when the game started. I find it helpful using the new incubators to hatch eggs because they work faster. There are some great items that you can get now when you win raid battles. It is also now possible to revive a Pokémon and power them up to full health instantly.

I feel like the updates and special events have helped to keep the game fresh. That the game keeps getting larger and larger seems like it would be hard for most people if they find that their phone is starting to get full.

This game really has brought me a lot of joy over the year that I have played it even though I jumped in a couple months late into the game. I would love to hear any thoughts, stories, tips or insights you have had while playing Pokémon GO.



The 8-bit Review
Visuals: 7/10
The look of the game reminds me a bit of Home Star Runner. It is no Skyrim but it is adequate for what it is.

 Audio: 4/10
With most games I consider the sound to be very important but in Pokémon GO I often leave the sound off entirely. This is a rare exception for me with video games. I almost always like to have the sound on but I don’t feel like it’s all that necessary in general with Pokémon GO after playing for a while. It is not bad but it is not really needed. They could have done better on the sounds each Pokémon make.

 Gameplay: 7/10
It is a fun game to play. There were a lot of problems when the game first came out with the GPS and logging on but most of that has been fixed.

Narrative: 3/10
There is rich lore backing up the Pokémon games but Pokémon GO does not go into it much.

 Online play: 7/10
The interaction with other plaers is limited because you do not directly battle them. The game is online only and its use of GPS is creative.

 Family Friendliness: 10/10
It is very clean and a great game for families to play together.

 Uniqueness: 10/10
This game is not the only game out there that uses AR and GPS technology but it is one of the first major games that did and there is still nothing else quite like it.

 Personal Grade: 8/10
It is not a perfect game but it is very fun and it sparks a deep enthusiasm in me that is different from the way any other games do. I am really glad that I was introduced to this game and it has continued to bring a lot of fun and joy into my life.

Aggregated Score:


This is a quick shout out from the Wonderland Dragoon Mage! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review! I would love to hear your point of view. I love both gaming and writing so this is a great place to be. I see beauty in the mundane things. I never want to lose the sense of wonder that I have for life. I recently started a new video blog on YouTube:


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7 replies »

  1. I think in a lot of ways there were a lot of missed opportunities with this game. I would have loved to see something like the raid battles where you can capture legendaries introduced when people were still really excited about the game. It was interesting getting such a big update right on the day that this was published. It was not intentional but it was pretty good timing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This game is my abusive relationship 😛 I want to love it so much because of the concept. I DO love it… Until it bugs out on me in some stupid way. Then I hate it. And delete it. And then re-download it because “how could I stay mad at you?” And then I love it again.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’ve built a love-hate relationship with Pokémon Go that is mostly negative at this point. I was so excited when the game originally released, and caught the full Pokedex available at that time. However, Niantics inability to adequately communicate with the community made small problems even worse. It also hasn’t helped that we get cold winters here.

    However, the concept and initial hype was a fun time to be playing. Despite the shallow gameplay, the newness and social aspect was truly unique. I don’t follow it anymore, but I’m glad Niantic is finally adding some updates that add depth.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I sort of had a similar experience. The initial hype explosion was unlike anything I’d ever seen on such a scale since every kid in school played Pokemon Red or Blue on their Game Boy. I am in a relatively small town outside of Los Angeles and this game changed the economy. Stores opened at new hours and closed later. They sold new products. Business members mentioned increased sales, expecting the bubble to burst. It did for me before they introduced too many new Pokemon when advancing in the game turned into basically grinding. Then I wasn’t able to log in, I assume due to the fact I was using third party internet scanners that they told me not to. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      • I dabbled in scanner myself, especially when I went dedicated to catching new Pokémon instead of just incidentally catching whatever was on my stroll to the store. The grind became very real as you mentioned, esp given the lack of feedback by Niantic as to what direction the game would go and at what pace.

        Liked by 2 people

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