If you don’t know what Pokémon Go is and how it works, suffice to say it has become a worldwide phenomenon by uniquely merging a hugely successful video game franchise, massive mobile multiplayer capability, and an “augmented reality” (“A.R.”) aesthetic of shaping a virtual world based on the real one. Surprisingly, though, Pokémon Go isn’t the first game (even for mobile devices) to have used A.R., and it’s not the only popular one that does so. Here are 7 of the other most-played A.R. games for mobile devices that are similar to Pokémon Go.
Ingress is the award-winning first A.R. game created by Niantic, the makers of Pokémon Go, and is the foundation on which many of Pokémon Go’s mechanics are based. In Ingress, you join either “The Enlightened” or “The Resistance” and fight the other faction for control over “Exotic Matter” (“X.M.”), a sub-atomic material that could be the key to evolving human consciousness… or potentially enslaving it. Visit “portals” at real-world locations and hack into them to gain items and experience. You can also capture and fortify portals to strengthen your team’s control, or attack and damage portals controlled by the other team to weaken their control – and perhaps even capture those portals for your own team!
2. Zombies, Run!
Zombies, Run!, by British app developer Six to Start, is an undead apocalypse survival game and fitness tracker in one nifty app. It sends you on a series of “missions” that require you to walk, jog, or run in the real world while your device’s “global positioning satellite” (“G.P.S.”) system or accelerometer system tracks the distance you’ve covered. As you move about, you will collect supplies to build up your home base, which will allow you to unlock further missions. You’ll also hear the game’s story, written by award-winning science fiction author Naomi Alderman (and other celebrity guest writers), narrated to you as you play.
If you want an extra challenge, turn on “Chase Mode” to periodically encounter zombie hordes. When you hear the undead coming for you, you’d better start running faster if you want to hold onto the critical supplies that you’re carrying! In the “Premium” version, you can also try “Airdrop Mode” and create your own mission by selecting a real-world location to run to.
Winner of an Android Developer Challenge award, SpecTrek works very similarly to Pokémon Go. It projects virtual ghosts onto a map of the real world within a designated area, and then it’s up to you to chase them down and capture them. You do so by moving to the places in the real world where the ghosts are, and then scanning them with your mobile device’s camera. Choose a game length, and see how many ghosts you can catch within the time limit!
4. Clandestine: Anomaly
This Canadian-made mobile A.R. game tasks you with defending your neighborhood from an alien invasion. You can play from home and launch long-range assaults on your foes, or visit real-world locations and construct or upgrade virtual buildings to repel attackers automatically. As you play, you’ll unlock new structures and enhancements to better defend your turf. With its blend of strategic gameplay, innovative use of A.R., and immersive story, Clandestine: Anomaly has won several awards and has been featured in many leading technology publications.
Download for: iOS | Android
Cost: iOS version costs $4; Android version is free, but only contains the first four levels; in-app purchases (between $1 and $3) are possible to unlock more levels or acquire items
5. The Walk
This game is a collaboration between Six to Start – the makers of Zombies, Run! – and the United Kingdom’s Department of Health and National Health Service. When a world-threatening disaster happens at Inverness Station in Scotland, you and the mysterious package you carry may be humanity’s last hope for survival. As you walk and run in the real world, you will move across the U.K. in the game world. Along the way, you’ll collect information and clues as you uncover a riveting, narrated story. Who is responsible for the disaster? What is their goal? And why are police and international agents trying to stop you from delivering the package? If you want to figure it all out, then you’ll have to keep moving!
6. Zombies Go
This game uses A.R. technology to project virtual zombies into the real world, and then tasks you with defending yourself by blasting them to bits! As you play, you’ll unlock more potent armaments to fend off foes, as well as new and more dangerous undead adversaries. You can play in “Safe Mode” and game for as long as you want, or challenge yourself and see how long you can survive on a limited amount of health. Oh, and one more thing, in case it wasn’t obvious: despite having a similar naming convention to Pokémon Go, this game is definitely NOT meant for kids.
Download for: iOS
7. Temple Treasure Hunt Game
Temple Treasure Hunt Game is an A.R. twist on the classic scavenger hunt. One person plays the role of “treasure protector” and places treasure points at various locations nearby. They can place virtual treasure points based on G.P.S. co-ordinates, or physical treasure points with paper markers (which can be printed out here). The other players are “treasure hunters” who must follow their maps and the clues that they get to find all the treasure points before time runs out. This is a great game to play together with family and friends!
Download for: Android
There you have it! If you’re getting burned out on Pokémon Go and feel that it’s time to switch up your mobile gaming experience, here are 7 other apps that you can try. Or, if you’ve never played Pokémon Go before, be sure to check out the rest of our Pokémon Go course to learn all of the basic info you need to know in order to play! Then you can get out and enjoy it when the weather is nice!