Choose your team, customize their stats, and do battle with other trainers via PvP multiplayer.
Happy Valentine’s Day! No doubt many of you are already preparing for a romantic night out with that oh so special someone. If, however, you find yourself riding solo this month, might I suggest numbing the pain with a nostalgia-fueled immersive experience that brings the world of Pokémon to life in VR.
Available for free on Oculus Quest headsets, Pokémon VR is a fan-made immersive experience that, while rough, does a commendable job at adapting the original Pokemon battle experience for the VR format. Trying the game out for myself, I was pleasantly surprised by how fleshed out the experience felt compared to other “unofficial” Quest releases available via sideloading.
The experience begins in a classroom filled with the original starter Pokémon featured in the classic Gameboy series: Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle. Here is where you can sign in to your free Pokémon VR account and choose from a variety of starting points in which to begin your journey. This includes Viridian City, Cinnabar Island, Pallet Town, and four other familiar locations.
Connected via a network of glowing portals, these locations form a collective overworld filled with various pocket monsters, nonplayable characters, and scenery. Here you can choose from a variety of different avatars based on popular characters from the series, interact with other human players, and customize your roster of Pokémon.
Unfortunately, there’s no actual Pokémon capture mechanic. Instead of hucking Pokéballs at wild monsters, you instead choose from a catalog via your personal Pokédex. This is where you can customize stats, choose move sets, and organize team positions. You can, however, throw the Pokeball attached to your left wrist to have one of your monsters follow you across the overworld; useless albeit adorable.
Once you’re all set for battle, you can either challenge a player directly by highlighting their avatar and pulling the trigger or by searching for a random player via your menu. A soon as your opponent accepts, you’re both instantly transported to an enormous stadium where you can then duke it out in turn-based combat. For the sake of comparison, the mechanics feel similar to those featured in Pokémon Stadium; players take turns choosing from a selection of moves and attacks, replacing monsters as they are defeated until their lineup has been depleted.
As far as I can tell there’s no leaderboard or record-keeping being done at the moment, but then again the game is clearly in its early stages. While I am curious to see how the experience could evolve given a few months, Nintendo’s strict control over its intellectual properties has me concerned over the future of this incredible fan-made project.
I highly suggest that anyone with a Quest headset give this a go before it’s too late. To get started head over to the official Pokémon VR Discord. There you’ll find more information on how to sign-up for a free account and install the APK.
Image Credit: Pokemon Showdown VR