IFComp 2016: Pogoman GO!

Spoilers follow the break.

This starts out as exactly what it sounds like: a Pokémon Go parody in text-adventure form. Cell phone in hand, you explore a small, minimally-implemented, gridlike city, capturing the virtual “Pogomen” that pop up at random and spinning “Pogostops” to obtain more supplies. There are obvious jokes to be made, and it makes them. The rules are simplified somewhat from the original — for example, the whole notion of “candy” is discarded, with the result that you can just evolve your Pogomen at will without having to pay for it — but it nonetheless plays a lot like the real thing, down to the occasional crashes. (In-game simulated crashes, that is.) I got to where I was moving around a small set of stops in a cycle that would bring me to each shortly after it replenished, just like people do in real life.

You can spend as much time as you like playing this minigame. I personally hunted enough Pogomen reach experience level 12, although I didn’t complete my Pogodex, because I eventually got worried about exceeding the Comp’s two-hour judging limit and decided to move on. But if I’m not mistaken, all you really need to do to make progress in the plot is to attain experience level 5. This grants you access to the Nyantech HQ building, a Pogoman-free zone where you spend the second chapter on wacky office-building adventure hijinks, snooping around in an attempt to access new beta content. Said content forms a third chapter, in another gridlike zone where the virtual intermingles with the physical and randomly-encountered Pogomen can fight back and even turn the tables by capturing you in Pogoballs of their own. Somewhere along the way, Elon Musk gets involved for some reason. It’s all very silly.

It’s also really two games smooshed together, and I imagine this will be a problem for some players. At the very beginning, it’s not clear how much content there is beyond the Pogoman game, or even if there is anything else at all. If you don’t care for the minigame, will you be motivated to play long enough to discover the adventure game?

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