Monday, 26 September 2016

Game: Ingress (Android and iOS app)

So with all the hype recently I downloaded Pokemon Go – mainly because some of my friends were playing it and I was asked to do some investigation into it, after playing a while and then doing some research online the wiki led me to learn about a game called Ingress which pre-dated Pokemon Go. Ingress was made by the same company  and that's Niantic  and that's what led me down this rabbit hole...

Immediately reading the wiki and the talk of aliens had me intrigued, I researched a little more and a few days later after finishing my Pokemon project (I got bored with Pokemon Go in a week or so) I decided to download the Ingress app to see what it’s all about. Straight away I thought hmmm this is definitely interesting and I wondered why had I never heard about it before, but thinking back to 2012 I think I did but at the time had a shit mobile phone with no data so wouldn’t have given it a second thought.

Anyway yes, Ingress, what’s it about…

In 2012 it was discovered that Exotic Matter (or XM as it’s called) had flooded the world, with portals of energy and exotic matter mainly appearing at historical landmarks and places of interest. All this stems from the Shapers, an alien race which is influencing the earth…dah dah dahhhhhhh. On the discovery of XM and people learning of the existence of the Shapers, humans divided into two factions…well kind of three because you have normals…ok not normal but the generic population who don’t play.

So yes the factions…there are the Enlightened which a pro-alien and believe that the Shapers and the XM energy will bring about a great positive change for humanity and help it reach its potential and evolution. Then there are the Resistance, those who believe the energy and aliens are not quite what they seem and basically think they’re out to screw us over and do what aliens do in most movies – dominate the earth.

So the concept is these two groups or teams are trying to capture as many portals at the landmarks all over the globe, the more portals captured, linked (you can link them together) and control fields (basically if you link portals in triangles which creates fields) established does good things for your faction. The more area your team controls reflects how many people (or as they are known Mind Units) you are protecting or swayed to your cause. Then the fun part beings which is that enemy Agents will attack your portals, take down your links and control fields and try to capture them and set up their own…so it’s basically a secret battle for power that’s happening in the real and virtual world.

In the game you need items to capture locations, protect them and of course attack enemy portals, you do this by hacking any portals you come across, so the game involves lots of moving, walking, cycling, driving which help keeps you active as well as to be able to build up your stores and help your team.

As this is an MMO game you do have links to your team or faction, so no doubt soon after tinkering with the game your faction will send you a message to join their chat. I highly recommend this, so far everyone I’ve spoken to online has been lovely, they’ve been very welcoming and helpful, which is great! It’s always good to play with a good community.

I haven’t however come across any enemy Agents IRL yet – I’ve read some things online that it can be an intense experience but others say it’s just all for the fun of it. I have to admit now at locations when I’m playing I’m staying alert and looking around to see if I can figure out if anyone else there is an Agent (or if they’re people just playing Pokemon Go – as it was developed by the same company it uses the same locations).

Anyway yes, a lot of the game is played solo in the real world but the teams do meet up locally and at larger scale social and sponsored Anomaly events. I have yet to be able to attend any of these but I hope to get to do so at some point in the future, as it’s always good to meet other gamers. I can understand not everyone would want to but yeah it gives some good real life interaction.

So that’s the concept of the game, man that was long, sorry I got a tad carried away there.

Oh but I should mention the app was released on Android in 2012 and then released on iOS in 2014 so you can get out there and play if you have a mobile device – but make sure you have enough data allowance though as its required!

So now I think it’s about time to note a few things about the app….

When I first opened the app I thought it was quite dark and maybe a little dull looking, well compared to Pokemon Go which is bright and colourful and kiddy. This game however is mainly black and white, with the portals indicated in either blue (Resistance) or green (Enlightened) or white (neutral). As I’m a pretty dark individual I settled into its design very quickly as I don’t really like things too cartoony or bright – they hurt my eyes.

The app itself is easy to navigate and use, you just click on the portals and then select things from a menu that pops up, you can also look at other Agents details if they have portals, find missions to do in your local area, communicate on various in-game chats and check your own Agent status. It’s pretty cool in that it notifies you with any alerts such as when you’re under attack, things that you are doing, achievements/badges gained or what others are doing in the local area.

Yeah in all the app is pretty good and stable – it’s not crashed or glitched out once since I started playing (well apart from losing signal and me screaming nooooooo at it – but that’s my phone and not the game). I’ve adjusted to the look of it and got used to it now and am pretty happy with how it runs and plays. As I’ve said it’s pretty simple looking but it does what it needs to and doesn’t overwhelm you when you’re on the go.

One thing to probably note is it does drain your battery within a couple of hours – as you’ll need your location enabled and then the app to play, so make sure you have enough charge for emergencies, a spare battery pack or your charger handy.

So that’s a bit about the app…now onto my thoughts on the game and my experience so far…

Well at first I was like this is cooler than Pokemon Go – you know me anything with aliens automatically sparks my interest. Yeah so I picked my faction and started to wander about – I had an idea of some of the locations where I’d been doing the Pokemon stuff. I wandered to the nearest portal and it was an enemy portal. At this point I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing so I hacked it and got some stuff and it bit back. Then I got paranoid – was I supposed to do that, omg what next – was someone going to jump out the hedge at me or was my phone going to explode. Yes there is a tutorial but I didn’t do it right away – come on that involves instructions lol and you know me I’m a yeah I’ll just wing it kind of person. Anyway that evening whilst I was stuck at a location I watched some helpful guidance on Youtube which set me up nicely.

After that and with an idea I set out again the next day, hacked some portals and then captured my first portal which was nice…it was very nice. I was a bit excited but not really that fussed still. I then returned to the first portal I came across that bit back and saw there was only one resonator and it only had a little power so attacked it and destroyed it and took the portal for my faction *evil laugh*. I then went on and hacked and captured some more portals in the area – and at this point I admit I was starting to get a little engrossed.

I then got attacked! Omg I thought – I’m getting attacked! My portal! So I snuck out cautiously to go and investigate what was going on. I was careful after reading some stuff online which made me very paranoid that I might get beaten up and have my phone stolen (I don’t think this would actually happen but better to be safe than sorry). I decided at this point to only attack other portals when I was with other people or able to perform hit and run tactics. Anyway it looked pretty safe so I recharged my resonators and then snuck back into the night.

So as time went on I started playing more and getting more hooked, looking out for and hacking any portals I came across. When visiting different places turning the game on to see if there were any portals in the area to hack, claim or attack. Paying attention to people and wondering if they were Agents…and of course recruiting more Agents and wandering around playing with them.

…can you see a pattern forming here???...

Yep I admit it I’ve found myself pretty much addicted to the game! I never thought a mobile game would ever capture me as much as this – usually I’ll just play them casually for a bit and then get bored or not be too fussed as I’d rather play a PC or console game – but this game is great! It’s got to the point now where I’ve found myself wanting to check on my portals all the time, arranging different routes to walk to and from locations so I can pick up portals on the way. My Elder God I actually want to go outside and explore!!!!!!

Yep I’m addicted! I admit it! Send help!

So yeah I think that covers it and it’s about all that needs to be said right now so short and in closing – it’s most definitely an addictive game and is really fun to play. I’m very much enjoying my time in Ingress and I can see me sticking at it for quite a long while. I would highly recommend this app to everyone – go on give it a try! Do it! Do it! DO IT!!!!!

…man that was a really long review – you’d think I must really love this game or something haha haha hahahahaha – right that’s it, time to go and visit some portals! J

Catch you later!

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