There’s nothing more pleasing than finding a game that feels different. There are a thousand FPS shooters, car racers, city builders and bubble poppers out there, but now and then you play a game which is unlike the rest. You can tell when this happens, because you struggle to explain it. In the case of Ingress, thankfully, you can start by thinking ‘Pokémon Go’ meets ‘Uplink’.
What’s it all about?
This precursor to the Pokémon Go craze is a fascinating game which involves getting out in the real world, to uncover an amazing hidden adventure… and it’s free!
Ingress was built before Pokémon Go (both are by Niantec, Inc) and the latter imported much of its map and landmark data from this game. Though there’s almost nothing else like it, the idea is pretty simple; your phone shows a map of your local area, which is your game environment. Then you can walk around in the real world to move the map, just like how Satnav maps work. Why do this? Because there’s a conspiracy afoot! The future is in danger and you must choose a side, the Enlightened or the Resistance. The Enlightened have discovered a strange and potentially alien source of energy, which seems to be controlling how we think. The Resistance seek to prevent this taking over humanity!
A limited game, but an amazing idea
The themes in Ingress, off a hidden world and strange things invading from beyond is great fun and really strong; you feel like you’re taking part in a real world sci-fi struggle, not playing a game. This atmosphere is created by having you move around the real world seeking out sources of the mysterious energy, which is just like the Pokéstop mechanic in this game’s descendant. You walk to a landmark and then interact with it through your phone, using a kind of hacking mini game. Better still, you get to fight the other faction for control of each area, gaining items to help you along the way. Think of this as a huge struggle taking place in a virtual world, which only you can see, through your phone. Truly epic. You can even go beyond the game, following an online breadcrumb trail to work out the mystery which started the whole thing! Having said all that, there are downsides here. If you expected great graphics, be prepared for a pretty light show, but nothing complex. The game itself is also fairly limited, as you’ll soon experience everything it can offer, but this should not be a problem as its loads of fun and you can always explore more to get more.
Ingress to Impress!
The online system of message boards really adds a lot to this game and will please those who played Pokémon Go but wished there was a story element. Uncovering all the clues is great fun and it adds something to the vibe when you next go out looking for landmarks to hack in the name of your faction. This free game is well worth a try if you want to see something new.