Niantic labs rolled out its most awaited game Pokémon Go the first week of this July. I guess everyone has already known about it, and lots of you might be already roaming around playing this game. If not, at least you might have heard about it. The response that the game got, is simply overwhelming. It became the highest grossing mobile game ever in the US. The internet became full of memes relating to Pokémon Go. There was news about gatherings and road accidents as well, all crediting to Pokémon Go. However, only few of us know that there was already a massive online multiplayer AR game, Ingress, developed by the same Niantic Labs. Niantic released Ingress for Android in 2012 and for iOS in 2014. Though it got widely popular and received very encouraging response worldwide, it couldn’t do the same in Nepal. But still, there was a small group of geeky people playing and trying their best to bring out AR community in Nepal through Ingress. Through the response I’ve seen and my personal experience of playing both games, I’ve brought out some points connecting both games, and making them different as well to help you choose your AR game in Nepal, Pokemon Go or Ingress.
The Basic Gaming:
Talking about Ingress, the whole game revolves around places called portals. Portals are the places like temples or any other places of social significance. There are two factions in the game, Resistance, and Enlightened. You join one of the factions and then compete to gain control over the portals. You have to move around the portals, and capture them for your faction deploying the “Resonators”. If you find a portal of the enemy faction, you destroy it using XMP Bursters. The gaming interface, however, looks a bit complex for a new user. You need some time with it to understand the things completely. The game is based upon the back story of a super exciting and mysterious Ingress comics.
Talking about Pokémon Go, most you might have already known the basic gaming concept. You move around catching the Pokémon. Oh yes! The same Pokémon that you watched in the animes and were the part of your “growing-up”. You have to move around locating the Pokestops and gyms. The concept of these places is same as of the portals in ingress. You go to Pokestops and collect the necessary items. But the things get interesting at gyms. There are three factions in the game, and each of them are trying to gain control over the gyms. You go to the gyms and control it keeping one of your Pokémon that you had already collected to guard it. If enemy faction approaches, he brings up another Pokémon to battle with your Pokémon. If his Pokémon wins, he owns the gym. If your Pokémon wins, it’s still yours! So this is based on the Pokémon cartoon series basically.
So, if you see the things we get to do, certainly Pokémon go has more to do than ingress. In ingress, we have pretty much nothing to do if we are not around portals. The only thing that goes on out of the portals is that you collect XM (exotic matter) which you can use later for hacking, capturing and attacking the portals. So it might seem boring if you are not around portals. But in Pokémon Go, the scenario is different. You have chances of finding Pokémon wherever you go, making you attached to game anywhere you go. But in order to use them and battle others, again you have to locate the gyms. No matter Pokemon Go or Ingress, you must walk if you want the fun.
If we talk about communities, of course ingress is better. It is obvious as ingress has been here since 2012. Pokémon Go right now? Well it’s pretty vague and disorganized. It might get organized later, but talking about right now, ingress has an awesome community. The people in ingress meet all around the world and organize events naming them anomalies, FS (First Saturdays) every month and Mission Days. It’s a great platform to meet new people and make new friends. However, in Pokémon Go, this seems to be difficult in coming days too as the game lacks any sort of built in chat or information system. Ingress has this system called COMM which lets you know who is playing around your area and you can chat within the game itself. We can at least expect meeting people and making new friends if we are playing a game outside, can’t we? And Ingress seems to beat Pokémon Go on this system.
In a multiplayer game, teamwork is always a must. As far as I’ve understood, you can organize your team for your faction in Pokémon go to gain control over gyms. You have to co-operate with other players if you want your faction to be in control of more gyms. You can trade Pokémon which is a great sign of an awesome teamwork.
In ingress too, teamwork is inevitable. Besides just gaining control, there is much more teamwork needed in Ingress which is a plus point. You can create links and control fields to gain control over a wide range of area. You need to plan a lot if you are thinking of a massive field in Ingress. You might need to clear cross-links over an area, which is not possible alone. So, Ingress needs a great teamwork as well.
Pokémon Go seems to have undoubtedly better user interface than ingress. The animations are great, maps are colorful and of course, our fun filled Pokémon are there. The new AR camera feature while catching Pokémon has brought the fun to whole next level. However, the interface in ingress doesn’t seem to be this much interactive. The mysterious looking gaming visuals make it interesting though.
Now if I have to talk about my personal views, my experience with ingress has been better. I’ve played both the games and I guess I’ll stick with ingress. This sort of gaming is certainly a new experience for most of us. So give it a try. Choose yourself which one you’d like to try, Pokemon Go or Ingress. Get on the move.