Pokemon GO Gets Invaded!

One of the things that has been sorely missing from Pokemon Go since the beginning is NPC Trainer Battles. I mean sure there are the training battles that you can have with the team leaders, but those skirmishes do not carry any stakes. This is why I feel that the introduction of Team GO Rocket (ridiculous name aside) is a step in the right direction for Niantic’s AR Giant.

As it stands the encounters are pretty straight forward. While playing, be on the look out for a PokeStop that is doing its best impersonation of a Silent Hill Nurse. Once you walk up to the twitching item pole it will turn black and a Team GO Rocket grunt will pop out to indicate that you can have a battle here. This encounter is made all the better by the comments that the grunts make when you approach them and beat them. Each grunt seems to have three Pokemon that all center around one. (Charmander, Charmeleon, Charizard). Each of these Pokemon will be rocking a shadowy aura around them. This makes them stronger than their average counterparts, so you might need to pour some stardust into your team in order to stand a chance against some of the tougher battles. Shadow Snorlax is a sleepy demon from hell and deserves all of the punishment it gets.

Once you finish the battle with the grunt you will have the chance to catch the first form of the Pokemon in question. You are set up, much like after a Raid battle, with a certain amount of Premier Balls based on your modifiers. It seems like you can get more by finishing the new Purifier and Hero badges that released with the encounters. The Purifier badge is filled out by how many Shadow Pokemon you purify, while the Hero badge is filled out with how many Team GO Rockets you defeat. So far I have only gotten 4 Premier Balls, but after a couple more battles this will most likely change. Once you catch the Pokemon you are able to leave them in the shadow form or purify them. Purifying your shadow babies makes them stronger, however it does cost candy and stardust.

It also looks like this event is just the start of a bigger story. The grunts seem to allude to a boss type figure pulling the strings from the shadows. This boss wants Team GO Rocket to take over the PokeStops for some evil purpose that is sure to be explained in time. I do find it funny that, what started as a Pokemon catching/walking simulator, has turned into a living world with its own lore that defines it. If this is how the next few years of Pokemon Go are going to play out than I am excited to see it unfold.

Nexomon – Review (Mobile)

The mobile arena has a lot of Pokemon rip off games. Like a lot of Pokemon rip off games. Serious, stop reading this and type in Pokemon into your app store and start scrolling. I’ll wait. Are you back? Great! The main problem with the market over saturation is that a lot of them aren’t actually any good. The stories are either generic or nonexistent, the characters are carbon copies of existing characters, and the monsters are kinda boring. Things is the biggest reason for why I wanted to tell you about Nexomon, a Monster RPG that I have found to be actually quite good. So good I bought it, with my own money.

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Nexomon starts off like  almost every other Pokemon game. After a brief encounter with the bad guys who have stolen creatures called Nexomon from the population you embark on an adventure to stop their evil plan once and for all. I was prepared for the standard affair. Enter an area, capture a few creatures, beat some baddies, and then fight a boss all before moving on to another area to do the same thing. I wasn’t however prepared for the amazing story that was going to follow. Nexomon does a great job of not only making fun of itself but the genre of monsters catching as a whole. It has no problem calling out the stupidity of the main character as well as the characters around them. (One of my favorite parts talks about how a fishing pole is still called a fishing pole when “fish” don’t actually exist, the world only has Nexomon.)

The plot is so good that I’m not going to spoil it in this review. All I can say is that it is something that I have wanted a Pokemon game to do for a long time. Nexomon has shown that is isn’t afraid to take a slightly gritty and realistic view to a world that is populated with literal monsters. Its this feel that separates this game from the other piles of games like it.

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Battles are fought one on one with you being able to switch out if your Nexomon takes to much of a beating. The creature designs are actually really cool, with the art work taking a slightly more realistic tone to that of Pokemon. Each Nexomon can only use four moves, but here is the kicker, every move your Nexomon learns it knows forever. So, if you switch to a move you end up not liking you can can the moves back to something you are more familiar with. This allows you to take more risk in your team compositions. There are seven types of Nexomon for you to find and when you start your adventure you can pick from one of the seven types. You also have a bag for storing items and a Nexopad with an way more useful database than Pokemon has ever had. The database in the game not only tells you all the creatures stat values but also when it evolves. This makes is super easy to build my team to my liking and know exactly what goal I am working towards.

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Creatures are captured using Nexotraps, which can be found in the game, bought with in game currency, or bought with real money. At first, I was skeptical about this. If you can buy the capture device with real money than it must be hard to get in the game, right? This could not be further from the truth. The in game currency is made increasingly easy to farm considering that every battle nets you money, even the random encounters. Once I got to the point where my main could one hit most creatures I encountered I started farming for in game loot in order to stock up on traps for future fights.

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Now lets talk about something we all love, micro-transactions. Yes, even though the game is $2.99 it does contain micro-transactions in order to obtain an in-game loot called Diamonds. Diamonds can be used to buy different avatar skins for your character, pets to follow them, and Golden Nexotraps which function as the Master Ball of the game. You can also buy game modifiers that help with the overall experience like Skates to move faster and an Exp. Share to level up your party faster. These things are nice but don’t effect the game. What is a little pay to win is the Nexomon Boxes that give you rare Nexomon in exchange for diamonds. This coupled with the PVP that is in beta seems like a recipe for disaster but I haven’t seen it abused yet. Honestly, it is really easy to ignore the store stuff and go about your adventure so it doesn’t bother me too much.

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The most impressive thing about the whole game in my book is the size of the map. After spending about seven hours playing the game I finally got access to the fast travel aspect of the game, and looking at the map shocked me. I figured that I was at least half way done with the game, I was mistaken. The world of Nexomon still has many other regions to explore and sights to see. And with constant updates to the game, the $2.99 admission fee is well worth the ride.

FINAL VERDICT: Worth the Buy

Raids, the Savior of Pokemon Go?

A long time ago, when Pokemon Go was just a secret wish in the hearts of Pokemon fans, I longed for a co-op game based in my favorite monster hunting universe. A game in which I and my friends could go out and capture lightning mouses and annoying pigeons together. Then, as if out of nowhere, Niantic swooped down and graced us with an AR game like no other (if you refuse to count Ingress).

Enter Pokemon Go in the summer of 2016. PKGO was a buggy mess that was mostly used for capturing rats and birds, yet there was something about it that made the game a hit. If I had to give it my best guess, it would have to be the player interaction. Even though we weren’t really playing together it sure did feel like we were. Now, with the launch of Raids and Gym upgrades, I am starting to see some of that magic that I did the first night I went out to play.

Let me start by saying that Raids are a ton of fun. Even though my first one ended up being a Magikarp, (something that made me laugh harder than it should have) I had a great time planning out my team in order to take down the super-powered fish of doom.

The game is set up to where you can only get one free Raid Ticket per day, however, you can buy extra Raid Tickets from the store for only 100 coins. That means that for $0.99, plus tax, you have the potential to score a super powerful Pokemon and some pretty sweet items. I got two rare candies, a golden razzberry, and 3000 experience from beating that fish into the dirt. Then, after ti was all over, I got to throw balls at it until it decided to do my bidding. Great times were had by all.

I can already tell from my short experience with the Raids that they are going to be better with friends. The feeling of taking on a big challenge with fellow players is something that Pokemon Go was missing. Now, I can finally do something with those heavy hitters I have been working on. (Bellossom has now been renamed DeathPlant).

With that being said, the Raid system isn’t perfect. Far from it if you ask me. Battles are way too glitchy and the bosses tend to flop from easy to overwhelmingly difficult without any real middle ground. It would be awesome to see Raids adjust to the level of the player but this seems to be wishful thinking. For now, Raids are a great excuse to get out and play again.