Focuses on battles with adorable “toy Pokémon.”
The number of Pokémon mobile games may still lag far beyond the number of Pocket Monster species, but smartphone gamers’ options to enjoy the franchise are slowly increasing. After the phenomenal launch of Pokémon GO in 2016, last month saw the release of Magikarp Jump, which focuses exclusively on the lovably weak water-type, but now there’s another Pokémon mobile game on the horizon that promises a lot more variety in terms of Pokémon selection.
Titled Pokéland, the just-announced game foregoes the open/real world wandering of Pokémon GO to instead provide a more concentrated gameplay experience. Players search for Pokémon on in-game islands, broken up into stages, where 134 different species are waiting to be caught, trained, and sent into battle.
Technically, you’re not catching live Pokémon, but “toy Pokémon,” which explains the simplified, extra-glossy character graphics. The game’s developer is listed as Ambrella, and its official website promises “simple and direct controls” for streamlined gameplay that “anyone can enjoy.”
But even with accessibility as a priority, the developers are still promising that the various Pokémon you catch will have different stats and abilities, and that you’ll be able to use in-game items to make them stronger. No information has been given regarding the possibility of player-versus-player battling or trading Pokémon with other players.
Like many mobile games, it sounds like Pokéland will be using a free-to-play model. The website mentions a “search device” players use to scour the islands for Pokémon which recharges at the rate of one use per 30 minutes or when clearing stages, but can be fully recharged using “diamonds,” which are likely to be purchasable through microtransactions.
The finished game will be available in both Android and iOS formats, but it’s the former operating system that’s been chosen for the currently in-progress “alpha test,” which grants access to six islands further broken up into 52 stages. Interested players can sign up here, though the number of available slots is limited. Thankfully, the developers plan to increase the alpha test’s player capacity gradually until it ends on June 9, after which a final release date for the game will hopefully be announced, so keep those Poké Ball mobile smatrphone batteries charged up.