You can play Pokmon Go all sorts of ways. Maybe it’s a two-minute distraction for you during your morning commute or walk to class. Maybe it’s a way to fill a lunch hour with a raid or two, fitted around a sandwich eaten one-handed.
Maybe you’re only interested in filling your Pokdex, or maybe you’re serious about levelling up and battling in gyms. I’ve met people who play on their own, others who meet up and play in a group with friends, and even families who go out and play together.
What’s great about Pokmon Go’s new quests system is it enhances the game however you play – whether you’re casual or committed. You can take the app’s new, never-ending list of tasks at your own pace, ticking off objectives just by playing as you normally would, dismissing those which don’t suit your play style or the time available to you.
The game’s big questline for Mew, its first mythical Pokmon, is the most eye-catching addition. It is Pokmon Go’s first real storyline, such that it is, and it has kept my local Pokmon Go group busy over the long Easter weekend. A multi-part adventure with rewards along the way, it is a well thought-out exercise in achieving a little bit of everything the game has to offer (hunting for Pokmon, battling, walking, raiding, evolving, a bit more walking…) which can be done at your own pace, solo, or alongside others.
Bear in mind that, until now, the game’s rarest creatures have only been available through raids (which can require half a dozen people to work together) or, even tougher, from invitation-only raids unlocked simply with luck and prior raiding experience. Mew, on the other hand, is available to everyone – even if you live in a rural area without others around.
Pokmon Go is at its best when it encourages players to come together to play as a community – and there are tasks in your hunt for Mew which certainly do that. My local group of players banded together to shout out when something needed in the questline was found nearby, directing others to it via our busy chat group. We compared notes and boasted about progress. We cheered when the first Mew was discovered.
But while the quest for Mew is a short-term highlight, Pokmon Go’s regular tasks feel like they’ve livened up the game for good. Their main attraction is their ability to reward players and encourage further adventuring when playing however you want. On Friday night when the quest system went live, we met up at a local pub and then headed out, ticking off half a dozen tasks in quick succession. Pokmon Go felt like it did at launch again, a way to make exploring the area (and getting some exercise) something worth getting off the sofa for.
You can tailor the list of procedurally-generated tasks – each one gained by spinning a Pokstop – to do whatever you prefer to do next. You can always see the type of reward on offer so you know if the task is worth your time. And, in a smart move, every Pokstop gives out the same task to everyone that day – meaning you can play together with others and polish off the same tasks at the same time if you wish.
The rewards are often good, too – helpful items, some otherwise only found in the raids, and the chance to battle rarer Pokmon once a task has been completed. Complete a task on seven different days and you’ll get a much greater reward, with the promise of a Legendary creature spawn possible.
These mini-quests also tempt you to try things you normally wouldn’t – aiming for consecutive excellent throws, or hunting down uncommon species for a neat bonus. I’ve gotten to the point where I actually don’t catch a lot of wild Pokmon – especially the most common spawns. But after catching a trio of Oddish I was rewarded with a chance to catch a Tangela – a much rarer prize.
For an app nearing its second birthday, I can’t remember a time since launch that Pokmon Go felt fresher. After the arrival of weather-based gameplay last December, Pokmon Go has again delivered an update that everyone who plays can enjoy. Over the weekend I went out in a group, bumped into others playing the game solo, and heard from friends who went out with their kids to play as a family (and disguise the need for post-chocolate exercise). However you play, Pokmon Go’s quests are probably going to fit for you.