Pokémon GO has swept across the globe as the hottest mobile game this summer, appealing to fans and Poké-noobs alike. People are wandering all over the place in search of various Pocket Monsters, with the aim of maxing out their Pokédex, but something feels off. The Pokémon in Pokémon GO just feel more disposable.
Fans of the ‘real’ Pokémon games and the television series may know what I’m talking about. In previous games, you’re encouraged to catch them all whilst building a small team of six to battle against other trainers, gym leaders and eventually, the Elite Four. This same idea also features in Pokémon GO, in a simpler fashion. However, the bond that we see develop between us and our favourite Pokémon just seems absent in this mobile version of the game.
To be honest, I feel less like Ash Ketchum and more like Team Rocket: obsessed with catching everything, in huge volumes. For example, I started the game with a low level Bulbasaur, which I proceeded to name Bulba (very original, I know). Fast forward a few weeks and I’ve caught a handful more and have just hatched one with level 509 CP. Due to the way in which the game operates, I’ve been unable to do anything with my starter Pokémon since receiving it on my first day. It has therefore remained in my storage awaiting an inevitable transfer, despite standing by me through every crash and bug that Niantic has thrown our way. There’s no question, really. If you find a Pokémon with a higher CP level, you will immediately want to transfer your previous one in order to obtain the candy that you need to power-up and evolve it. I found that I promptly stopped naming my Pokémon as I knew that I probably wouldn’t keep them for long. I’ve also found that rather than having six different Pokémon in my top slots, I’ve actually got multiples of each species. This is simply because they are incredibly common in my area and are also the highest level Pokémon that I possess.
Moreover, if you’re playing the game with the intention of levelling quickly and efficiently, you will have found that Pidgey is your new best friend. With Pidgeys being so common and cheap to evolve (just 12 candies), catching large numbers of them and then timing their evolutions for when you have a Lucky Egg, appears to be the optimal way to rack up lots of XP. Consequently, on a number of occasions, I’ve found myself evolving my Pidgeys and then simply transferring the Pidgeottos straight afterwards: rinse and repeat.
Overall, I wouldn’t say Pokémon GO is bad. Far from it. I just find it incredibly interesting how the game conditions players to care less about individual Pokémon and more about numbers: whether it’s the numbers relating to combat power, or the number of entries in their Pokédex. At worst, I’ll have to wait for Pokémon Sun and Moon to satisfy my need for Pokémon companionship.