What’s your take on augmented reality games? Are you a fan of something like Reality Fighters for the Vita? Or perhaps you use AR features for apps like Layar?
As a general rule, I am not a fan of AR games. I haven’t really found that works well or is even that much fun to play.
Ingress changes all that.
Developed by Google and powered by Google Maps, Ingress is an engrossing, 1984-esque game that features two sides, The Enlightened and The Resistance. The Resistance are your big government/corporate watchdog types, while The Enlightened welcome the mysterious new energy that’s the focal point of this game. Both sides are playable and neither side is presented as the good guys or bad guys, though there is currently a huge number of players siding with The Resistance over The Enlightened.
The concept of the game is quite simple; get off your butt and move around! Ingress was developed to create a “move-to-play” feel and encourage consumers to get off the couch, exercise and take-in the fresh air. You fire up the game, are placed into the game world on your phone, and you scour your surroundings looking for sources of the mysterious energy in question. Pockets of this energy litter the landscape; just move towards it, and you’ll absorb it. Think of it as virtual geo-caching.
You’ll eventually come to a location that acts as an energy hotspot. This is the meat and bones of Ingress. The battle between The Enlightened and The Resistance can be simplified down to which side holds the most hotspots. When you reach a hotspot you can link it to nearby hotspots, which creates zones on the map. The first “team” to dominate the world with zones “wins.”
Ingress is played globally, and even though it is still in closed beta and is invite only, there is an impressive number of players currently going about snatching up hotspots. You track the progress of other players and even communicate with them to plan strategies. You can even refer to an Investigation Board which is filled with secret clues and codes to aid your quest.
HINT Water is a brand that Google has chosen to partner with, becoming the “knowledge elixer” of Ingress players. In this unique partnership, millions of Ingress invite codes will show up under the caps of HINT Water bottles. Also, answers to the riddles on HINT’s website product page unlock game power-ups.
It’s an engrossing experience that’s hard to put down. Suddenly, you’ll find yourself firing up Ingress whenever you leave the house, and the excitement that follows the discovery of a new hotspot is borderline ridiculous. So grab some HINT water, join or resist the cause, and get to it!