Anicritters GO is finally out

By Elm Campfire

Ever since its announcement last September, “Anicritter GO” has been hotly anticipated by fans of the monster-catching video game series.

You don’t necessarily need to walk around to catch Anicritters

Although much of the game’s marketing encourages users to traverse their stomping grounds to discover a variety of pocket monsters, staying put reaps plenty of rewards. For example, here are a couple of ‘Critters yours truly caught in the restroom, both at home and at work.

(There are few things more awkward than standing in a bathroom stall at work and trying to catch an incredibly common Anicritters.)

Looking for a wide array of creatures? Don’t count on finding them downtown

As with its video game counterpart, critters in “Anicritters GO” are typically found in specific habitats. Ice types dwell in the mountains, Ground-types in caves, etc.

The mobile game keeps up with the concept fairly well — the only Anicritters I found in downtown Rose City bore striking resemblances to animals you’d usually find in the city.

I should note that the servers were down while I was strolling through Pettygrove City Park, so critters such as Bug- and Grass-types may well be hiding in the city’s many greenways.

Still, if you want to catch a wide assortment of Anicritters maybe a nice drive to the beach or Mt. Hood is in order this weekend.

But if you’re running low on Aniballs, there’s no better place to be

Habitats aren’t the only thing dictated by geolocation in “Anicritters GO.” Landmarks, such as bus stops and art installations, provide players with helpful items like Aniballs and Potions upon each visit. Heck, sometimes they’ll contain a stray Anicritter egg you can hatch as you play.

The game calls these landmarks AniStops and, as you can imagine, there are quite a few more in downtown Rose City than there are in, say, the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood.

One of the best places to stock up on essentials is undoubtedly Rose City State University — practically every art installation on campus has its own AniStop. Stand on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Hall Street to hit three of them at once.

Want to catch a lot of Anicritters really fast? Ride the bus.

Catching and collecting Anicritters is fun and all, but spend a few minutes traversing the streets of Rose City on foot and you’ll see how excruciatingly slow it is to get to landmarks, much less catch a wide assortment of monsters.

That’s where Trimet comes in. Over the course of a 20-minute bus ride, I hit more AniStops and caught more Anicritters than I would have in more than an hour of trying to do the same on foot.

Of course, the toughest thing about playing on the bus is that it’s difficult to look composed when you’re holding a phone at arm’s length, swiping madly at the screen as an Anicritter evades every Aniball you toss at it.

On the plus side, it’s a great way to bond with strangers. Despite my unhinged appearance, three fellow commuters struck up a conversation about the game after catching a glimpse of the Anicritters on my phone screen.

Expect to wait for servers, at least for now

Approximately half of my time playing “Anicritters GO” has been spent staring at the server crash screen.

It seems developer Titanic didn’t do much stress-testing in the U.S. during the beta period. Several folks in the Rose City area are also having the same problem.

As time goes on, Titanic will probably smooth out the experience. In the meantime, I had the most luck getting online between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. There’s also a site that tells you whether or not the server is up, which saves you the headache of waiting for the game to load and logging in before finding out.

Long waits aside, the game is plenty fun once you actually get to play. It also features a battle system and a network of gyms, neither of which I’ve yet been able to test because of in-game prerequisites I’ve only recently met.

We’ll have more impressions and tips as time goes on. In the meantime, what’s your “Anicritters GO” experience been like in and around Rose City?

– Elm Campfire