“As well as Pokemon Go We want gamified walking Play the sleep.” This is the unofficial explanation for it Pokémon sleepthe latest mobile game to be released in Pokemon franchise. It’s expected to launch sometime this summer, and io9 got a chance to try it out at a press event a few weeks ago.
The playing style from Pokémon sleep is incredibly simple, and the art and explanations are straightforward as well. You meet Professor Neroli, who is studying Snorlax – specifically its sleepy power – which attracts Pokémon and puts them to sleep. Working with Neroli and a friendly local Snorlax, try to fill out your Pokédex by taking photos of the Pokémon that wander into your campsite. The game monitors your sleep, combines a sleep stat with the power of the Relaxo, and reveals the Pokemon that appeared while you were sleeping! Then feed Snorlax during the day, increase its effects, and monitor your sleep again at night and see how your efforts have paid off.
It’s very relaxed. There’s only a limited number of things you can do in the app, and it feels a lot like the latent off-keyboard gameplay popular in free mobile apps. Also, one of the clever elements of the game design that I particularly liked is that each week you set up a new campsite on a new island with a new Snorlax – which essentially resets the Snorlax score and makes new players feel like they’re almost up Full swing to operate same level as early adopters. You’re allowed to keep companion Pokémon and your Pokédex week after week so you don’t lose everything. The art is very charming too, with cute, flattened Pokémon dozing off and a campsite that’s all about feeding Snorlax as much as possible.
It’s a bit like that Pokemon Snap And animal crossing mixed together in mobile form. There’s not a lot of community features, which is probably for the best part considering I don’t think anyone would really want the bartender to check out how badly they slept after a night out on the town, but you can connect create with other friends. After a brief explanation of how everything works, the technology used and a few “tips” on how to get the most out of your gaming experience, we were sent to our respective hotel rooms to try out the game.
I just want to keep this for the record Pokémon sleep confirmed for me what I knew all along. I’m great in bed. Well, I can sleep well, at least according to the accelerometer built into the Samsung phone I got. Pokémon sleep works in the same way as many sleep trackers – by using the built-in accelerometers of modern smartphones to track movements. The game is pretty simple. You start it just before bedtime, place it face down on your bed – not under your pillow or under blankets, and you forget about it. (You can buy that too Pokemon GO Plus+ Device to automatically track your sleep and connect this game to it Pokemon GOwhich will bring small benefits to your campsite.)
In the morning, open the app; It shows you your sleep cycle based on accelerometer readings, gives you a cute little flowchart, and lets you interact with the Pokemon that appeared overnight. If you want to keep one of the Pokémon that was attracted to Snorlax’s sleepiness power, you’ll need to feed it Pokébiscuits. Those you don’t feed run back to the island, and you then start feeding Snorlax Meals, which you can do three times a day at specific times based on your time zone with breakfast, lunch, and dinner times.
The whole thing is, by and large, harmlessly cute. There is no struggle, no tension, not even competition. There are no skills, no way to improve the game, just… an interactive app that reacts to imagining your sleep based on average accelerometer readings. Pokémon sleep is a cozy collector where you hope to wake up and find a Growlithe in “crackling sleep” next to a giant Snorlax. Imagine walking into a Gachapon store, sleeping among all the machines, and waking up five new best PokéFriends.
Pokemon sleep is not intended to be a “health app” but uses mostly the same terminology and technology. It’s a low-stakes digital curiosity cabinet that seems like a charming addition to the mobile games that Pokémon has been releasing for a decade or so. But at the very idea of the game, at its core, there is something… a little off: to make sleep playful. It’s not enough to spend every waking hour having entertainment, now our sleep needs to be some kind of entertainment too. What happens when we start looking at life as an act that can be playfully designed on all levels? What do we need to distract ourselves from to make a game like this possible? Pokémon sleep become our new favorite game?
I think it could take more than just a night of sleeping next to a phone with an AFK game latently running alongside my sleep cycle to really delve into the cultural implications of what it means, even the restorative parts of life in a playful way. I mean, it’ll probably take a dissertation or two, but the questions I had after dutifully photographing Growlithe and Charmander linger: Is it just a game? Is this even a game? What does this kind of game that basically incentivizes a cycle, where where, mean? Pokémon sleep is the last thing you do before you go to sleep And What’s the first thing you do to us as humans when you wake up? I’m not sure there’s much use in collecting images of randomly appearing digital monsters, but… it’s cute. Try it for a week. Maybe it will help you sleep.
Pokémon sleep will be available for mobile devices this summer.
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