Three years ago, as Pokémon Go swept the globe, China’s gamers were left out in the cold. The title was geo-blocked in mainland China upon its release, but that didn’t stop a wave of “copycat” games springing up in its place.
Now, these alleged imitations look set to be joined by official releases. In May, NetEase announced a partnership with the Pokémon Company to bring a Pokémon game to China — and last week they ran another test on their Pokémon Quest title. Those trials came just days after rival gaming producer Tencent announced a Pokémon partnership of their own.
Here’s a quick guide to the Chinese Pokémon options you almost certainly haven’t played — gotta catch ’em all?
This number one seller raked in millions of players on the Chinese App Store after its release in March 2016. Equipped with the same character development, creature evolution and objective as the real deal, developer Xiaoyu Sun’s bootleg even added a Professor Willow basics trainer (Dr. Forest). The only downside to this imitation is, you don’t get the same augmented reality experience as the original since this version does not use launch your camera during gameplay. Instead, battles take place on virtual sets in your city.
The creators of Let’s Go Pokémon intended to send a sharp message to Nintendo with this knock-off, released late last year. Let’s Go Pokémon makes Pokemon Go look like a back of the shelf store-brand RPG and was widely praised for its beautiful design — until commenters online realized that the graphics had been lifted from Pokkén Tournament and the models ripped from original developers GameFreak.
Nevertheless, this didn’t stop some netizens chewing GameFreak out for being sub-par developers.
Although Tencent has now joined the fray (see below), NetEase was the first to announce an official Pokémon title for China. Entitled Pokémon Quest, the game underwent trials back in March and again last week:
NetEase has started testing of Pokemon Quest in China. The current test will last 3 days.The game has some China exclusive content, as well as a PvP mode. pic.twitter.com/cLNga8Ikrz— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) July 26, 2019
NetEase has started testing of Pokemon Quest in China. The current test will last 3 days.
The game has some China exclusive content, as well as a PvP mode. pic.twitter.com/cLNga8Ikrz
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) July 26, 2019
It seems like we’ll still have to wait a while to get our hands on this one, but in the meantime maybe we’ll see some fruits from NetEase’s partnership with Marvel by the end of this year.
Before their announcement of an official Pokémon partnership last week, Tencent already had a Pokémon Go-like title in their arsenal. Let’s Hunt Monsters has been a smash hit in China, and blends Pokémon Go-style gameplay with blockchain technology and cryptopets.
Tencent’s mystery Pokémon game will hopefully be just as masterful. The tech giant’s deal will pair the Pokémon Studio with Tencent’s Timi Studio, the team responsible for China’s Honor of Kings and Call of Duty mobile sensations. Though that would suggest a mobile title, there is also some speculation it may be compatible with the Nintendo Switch given Tencent’s recent distribution deal for the console.
That said, any excitement about this link up is tempered by Tencent’s terrible Game of Thrones release.
We Played Tencent’s Shitty New “Game of Thrones” Game and Lost Brain Cells
Cover photo: Kamil S on Unsplash
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