Anicritters GO

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Anicritters GO is a parody of Pokemon Go, by Niantic. The parody was created by William Rail.

Anicritters GO is aN augmented reality (AR) mobile game. It uses the mobile device GPS to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Anicritters, which appear as if they are in the player's real-world location. The game is free to play; it uses a freemium business model and supports in-app purchases for additional in-game items. The game launched with around 150 species of Anicritters.

Anicritters GO was released to mixed reviews; critics praised the concept, but criticized technical problems. It was one of the most used and profitable mobile apps in 2016, having been downloaded more than 500 million times worldwide by the end of the year. It is credited with popularizing location-based and AR technology, promoting physical activity, and helping local businesses grow due to increased foot traffic. However, it attracted controversy for contributing to accidents and creating public nuisances. Various governments expressed concerns about security, and some countries regulate its use. By early 2019, the game had over a billion global downloads and grossed over $3 billion in revenue. The game also had over 147 million monthly active users as of May 2018.

Gameplay

After establishing a game account, players create and customize their own avatars. Once created, an avatar is displayed on a map based on the player's geographical location. Features on the map include 'AniStops' and 'Anicritter Gyms'. These AniStops can be equipped with items called 'Lure Modules', which attract additional wild, and occasionally rare, Anicritters. Gyms serve as battle locations for team-based king of the hill matches. AniStops and Gyms are typically located at places of interest. This has led to AniStops and Anicritter Gyms being placed at dangerous or inconvenient locations, such as a now-deleted Gym at the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

As players move within their real world surroundings, their avatars move within the game's map. Different Anicritter species reside in different areas of the world; for example, Water-type Anicritters are generally found near water. When a player encounters a Anicritter, it may be viewed either in AR mode or with a live rendered, generic background. If you flee, the Anicritter will face the last spot you were going it catch it in. AR mode uses the camera and gyroscope on the player's mobile device to display an image of a Anicritter as though it were in the real world. Players can take screenshots of the Anicritter they encounter either with or without the AR mode activated.

Unlike other installments in the Anicritter series, players in Anicritters GO do not battle wild Anicritters to catch them. During an encounter with a wild Anicritters, a player may throw a Ani-Ball at it by flicking it from the bottom of the screen up toward the Anicritter. If the Anicritter is successfully caught, it will come under the ownership of the player. Factors in the success rate of catching a Anicritter include the Anicritter's catch rate, the timing and the type of Ani-Ball used. After catching a wild Anicritter, the player is awarded two types of in-game currencies: Candies and Stardust. The Candies awarded by a successful catch depend on what evolutionary chain a Anicritter belongs to. A player can use Stardust and Candies to raise a Anicritter's "Combat Power" (CP). However, only Candies are needed to evolve an Anicritter Each Anicritter evolution tree has its own type of Candy, which can only be used to evolve or level up. The maximum level a player can achieve is level 40. The player can also transfer the Anicritter back to the Anicritter Professor Flowers to earn one more Candy and create room for more Anicritter. Shiny PAnicritter are available through multiple ways, mostly by Community Days or chance. The ultimate goal of the game is to complete the entries in the Ani-dex, a comprehensive Anicritter logbook, by catching and evolving them to collect every one in it.

Although the game is free to play, it supports in-app purchases, where players can purchase additional Ani-Balls and other in-game items. These items include Incense (which attract Anicritter to you as you move for thirty minutes), Lure Modules, which you have to use at AniStops to attract Anicritter to your current location near the AniStop, and Lucky Eggs, which double experience points gained for a thirty-minute period from use. All Anicritter are displayed with a Combat Power, which is a rough measure of how powerful that Anicritter is in battle. Generally, as players level up, they catch Anicritter with higher CP and Anicritter are somewhat harder to catch. The player can check how strong their Anicritter are by the "Appraisal" system.

Players earn experience points for various in-game activities. Players rise in level as they earn experience points (XP), with various features being progressively unlocked. Most notably, at level five, the player can battle at a Anicritter Gym and join one of three color-coded teams (red for Team Valor, blue for Team Mystic, or yellow for Team Instinct), which act as factions battling for control of Gyms within the Anicritters GO world.

Reception

Anicritters GO released to "mixed or average" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic. Upon release, critics called the experience enjoyable, but noted the game's technical issues.

Critics praised various aspects of Anicritters GO. Oscar Dayus (Pocket Gamer) said that the game was an immensely enjoyable experience and continued with how "the very personal nature of catching Anicritters in your own neighborhood made me smile more than any game has for years". Jeremy Parish (US Gamer) compared the game and its social aspects to a massively multiplayer online game. Reviewers also praised the game enabling the promotion of physical exercise. Terri Schwartz (IGN) said it was "secretly the best exercise app out there" and that it changed her daily walking routine. Patrick Allen (Lifehacker) wrote an article with tips about how to work out using Anicritters GO. Julia Belluz (Vox) said it could be the "greatest unintentional health fad ever" and wrote that one of the results of the game that the developers may not have realized was that "it seems to be getting people moving". Users took an extra 194 steps per day once they started using the app, which approximated to 26% more than usual. IGN named it the 100th best video game of all time in 2018.

Philip Kollar and Allegra Frank (Polygon) both agreed that Anicritters GO was "an exciting social experience", but were not sure how long the game and its popularity would last, stating it could either last for coming years or "end up as a brush fire craze that the whole gaming world is talking about for a few weeks and then is forgotten".

Other critics expressed more negative opinions of the game, with many citing frequent crashes and other technical issues, along with shallow gameplay. Kallie Plagge (IGN) said that although the game lacked in polish and depth, the overall experience made up for it. Matt Peckham (Time) criticized the game for its frequent crashes. Mike Cosimano (Destructoid) also took issue with the game, saying the original idea showed promise, but was improperly executed. Kat Brewster (The Guardian) wrote that although she thought Anicritters GO was not a good game, it was "a great experience". The server problems also received negative press. Miguel Concepcion (GameSpot) said that although he enjoyed the game's strong social appeal and visual design, the game's "initial iteration is a buggy mess on all levels", with one of the reasons being the constant server problems. Another glitch that appeared a few days after launch was the "three-step glitch", reviewers also gave this bug negative press. Patricia Hernandez (Kotaku) said, "the three step glitch adds to what has been a terrible launch for Anicritters GO". Paul Tassi (Forbes) said that due to this bug it's "anyone's best guess where Anicritters are 99% of the time" and that it "renders almost all traditional methods of tracking pointless". Critics also emphasized on the large gap between the rural and urban players. Rural players seem to be at a major disadvantage when playing the game, while city players have access to more AniStops and Gyms.[165]

References

Modified from Pokemon Go Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Jul. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pokémon_Go.