US field tests for Pokémon GO now live
Users who signed up for the field test at Niantic's website are now being sent invitations to join the Pokémon GO field test. With the opening of the US field test, now it is open to users residing in Japan, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. This is only a beta test and not the full version of the game, and not all users who sign up will be given the chance to participate.
Additionally, a number of features for the game have been revealed. The new features as well as some previously known features are detailed below.
Pokémon GO will feature more than 100 catachable Pokémon.
When a player approaches a Pokémon in the wild, their phone will notify them and give them the opportunity to engage and catch the Pokémon using the phone's touch screen to throw a Poké Ball. Some wild Pokémon will appear only in certain places; for example, some Water-type Pokémon may appear only near lakes and oceans. If the player catches the same species of Pokémon enough times, they will acquire enough Evolution Shards to evolve a Pokémon of that same species.
In Pokémon GO, the player will gain levels as a Trainer. At higher levels, the player can catch more powerful Pokémon and access more powerful items (such as Great Balls).
Poké Balls and other special items can be found at PokéStops, which are located at interesting places such as public art installations, historical markers, and monuments.
Additionally, players may find Pokémon Eggs at PokéStops. Eggs hatch after players walk a preset distance, and may hatch into Pokémon the player has never seen before. Incubators can be used to help with the hatching process.
During gameplay, Pokémon GO players will be encouraged to join one of three teams and engage in Gym battles with other teams. After joining a team, players will gain the ability to assign their Pokémon to Gyms. Like PokéStops, Gyms can be found at locations in the real world.
Empty Gyms are claimed by a team when a Trainer places a Pokémon there to claim it. Players can place their Pokémon in friendly Gyms, but each player can place only one Pokémon at a particular Gym. When a team has control of a Gym, team members can increase its Prestige and level by training their Pokémon with other defending Pokémon. As the Gym gets to a higher level, the defending team gains the ability to assign more Pokémon to defend it.
Rival Gyms can be battled using the Pokémon the the player has caught. Groups of players can work together to challenge rival Gyms. By using their own Pokémon's two attacks and dodging incoming attacks by swiping left and right on the screen, Pokémon GO players can defeat the defending Pokémon to reduce the Gym's Prestige. Once the Gym's Prestige reaches zero, the defending team loses control of the Gym, and the victor's Pokémon can be assigned to defend the Gym.
There a variety of challenges available that highlight many different categories, such as catching Pokémon and exploration. By completing these challenges, players unlock achievement medals that appear on their profile.
The player's avatar's appearance can be customized by choosing from a variety of different clothes and accessories. The customized Trainer image will appear on the map as the player moves around, on their profile page, as well as in Gyms under their control.
A portable device called the Pokémon GO Plus will enable Pokémon GO players to participate in the game even without looking at a smartphone. The device connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth and notifies the player about events in the game—such as the appearance of a Pokémon nearby—using an LED and vibration. In addition, players can catch Pokémon or perform other simple actions by pressing the button on the device.
Pokémon GO will be free to download on the App Store and Google Play, with in-app purchases that are supposedly optional. Players can spend real money on PokéCoins, the in-game currency of Pokémon GO, which can be exchanged on the App Store and Google Play for power-ups and extra items.