Pokémon Go has been going strong - pun not intended - for over 3 years, standing as one biggest mobile gaming hits ever, with countless millions of players. While this AR adventuring romp started with a rather simple and somewhat repetitive premise, a number of updates have brought added features and depth.
This has made this already fun and addictive experience even more enriching, as it inches ever closer in style to the more elaborate mainline Pokémon games. Still, there remain some key areas in which the game is lacking, and traits that could be further fleshed out to truly make Go the ultimate mobile game.
In this list, we'll cover 10 of the biggest attributes we really hope to see implemented going forward.
This is more of an aesthetic trait than a true gameplay addition, but it would make for a fun one nonetheless. While you can customize your own avatar with a variety of clothing items, hats, and other accessories, it'd be amusing to be able to dress up your favorite Pokémon in the same way. Perhaps these could be found from Poké Stops or purchased with coins. While subtle, this could go a long way in adding some character to your Poké-crew and serve as a more distinct, personal way to express yourself in-game.
You do see the occasional Rattata sporting an old-time mustache or a Pikachu rocking a detective hat, but (at least for the time being), these are random, pre-established occurrences.
9 Breeding Pokémon To Create New Varieties
One of the coolest aspects to the newer Pokémon titles, largely pioneered by the lesser-known Dragon Warrior Monsters, is the ability to birth new monsters by merging two existing ones. This feature added an interesting dynamic to those games, and could serve as another fun and exciting element of randomness to Pokémon Go.
Breeding your Pokémon can perhaps help you land similar, but rarer varieties, and could provide another avenue to find new discoveries rather than constantly venturing out to capture/hatch Pokémon. Maybe Niantic could set up "Breeding Centers" at designated locations, or obtainable items could be used to trigger this process.
8 More NPC Interactions
A recent update has added the first real NPCs with the inclusion of Team Go Rocket, who you can fight in a similar set-up to gym battles.
Yet, Niantic could do quite a bit more on this front, other than stumbling on the occasional Team Rocket henchmen at random Poké Stops. It could be cool to sprinkle in some location-based NPCs who you can spot and approach on your map.
How about some NPCs that give you tips or offer tutorials? Maybe some that can provide quests that promise rewards upon completion? Or merchants that offer specific items? Of course, we're getting into straight-up RPG territory at this point, which Pokémon Go isn't necessarily designed to be. Still, adding some characters can go a long way in adding, well, character...
This may be viewed as an unnecessary, unrelated addition, but then again, look at Pokémon Stadium - a game whose main premise revolved around battling monsters, but also contained a subset of fun minigames. Considering the vast majority of Pokémon Go involves traveling, it would be nice to have some sort of fall-back option to enjoy while sitting around at home or stuck inside a restaurant. Why should you always be on the move to truly have something to do in this game?
Some Mario Party-esque minigames that use touch-based input, gyro controls, or even AR functionality could make for a cool addition. Maybe you can have your Pokémon compete in these games, whose performance can be based on their stats. Perhaps you could compete in leaderboards and notch a few extra coins for usage in the main game? The possibilities are endless.
6 Game-Exclusive Pokémon
Sure, we've already got a ton of Pokémon to deal with; all of which are randomly roaming the digital realm of Pokémon Go. Still, one trait that could further drive incentive for players to go Poké-hunting could be the inclusion of exclusive monsters.
That is - Pokémon that only exist in this game. They could exist as rare varieties that are only found in certain areas under certain conditions, or perhaps be earned as rewards for completing a given quest. Maybe a whole new elemental type exclusive to Go could be introduced.
Rainbow type Pokémon, anyone?
5 More Elaborate Quests
Sure, we've already got the semi-recent addition of "Field Reseach Quests," but the repetition and simplicity of most of these make them feel more akin to a basic achievement system than an actual "quest."
One addition, which would complement the inclusion of NPCs, could be more nuanced and elaborate quests that have you take on tasks other than simply "spin X number of Poké Stops." A quest that has you venture out to a certain location (in public of course), during a certain time of day, or go out and speak with a particular NPC player who can only be found in specific types of areas.
Something as simple as "travel near a shoreline and speak to X," can make for a fun adventure. These can be modeled more off traditional RPG missions, or at least a sort of Pokémon Go scavenger hunt, rather than basic task-completion checkboxes.
4 More Items To Aid You In Battle
As long as we're adding more adventure/RPG elements to Pokémon Go, why not include some more supplemental items during battles and Pokémon encounters?
Something like a (rare) item which can put foes to sleep for a brief time, poison them, or stifle them from moving or escaping can help add some more depth and excitement to these encounters. Maybe you could even toss an item to beef up their CP, making for a more significant catch. Anything aside from the mere handful of options - most of which are a few debuffing berries - can really help liven things up and provide a bit of assistance in nabbing some of the crazier, tougher Pokémon.
3 Specific TM And HM Moves
Yes, we do now have the ability to swap out a Pokémon's move - one of them, at random... But how cool would it be to be able to seek out specific TM/HMs which give you an indication a bit more specific than "fast" or "charged." These items could perhaps be rare pickups at Poké Stops, purchased with a bounty of coins, or even sought after in specific areas.
And maybe instead of replacing an existing move, these could act as additions. After all, if the far older Game Boy renditions of Pokémon came with 4 moves per monster, why not have a third in this game?
2 Actual Rewards For Achievement Medals
As it stands, Pokémon Go's fairly new system of obtaining medals is basically little more than a glorified achievement system that grants bragging rights. Oh, you do earn a slight boost in the success rate of capturing types of Pokémon that correspond to elemental-based medals. Yet, there's really no reward system for notching these medals outside of this.
How about the introduction of some tricker medals, which could net you coins, stardust for a chosen Pokémon, or even provide you with a rare egg or Pokémon itself? These can work like overarching quests which can keep gamers shooting for a focused goal, rather than simply wandering around gathering monsters.
1 More Detailed Battle System
Although the interface and mechanics of Pokémon Go's battle system have been somewhat fleshed out since its bare-bones beginnings, there are still strides it could take. We're not necessarily advocating for a fully-fledged RPG system, but at least some added mechanics or reaction-based inputs that inject some strategy; something to break up the click-fests.
Maybe you'd have to aim and shoot with precision when using some of the more potent attacks, or are forced to press the screen at certain areas or in a timed sequence to avoid enemy fire. A more nuanced system of attacks, dodges, counters, and/or cooldowns could add some tactical gameplay, and thus excitement, to battles. These could be implemented for both raid battles and PvP fights.