While Nintendo’s augmented reality mobile game Pokemon Go is sweeping across the world, the game hasn’t rolled out to a number of places, including Hong Kong and China.
For those who are eager to “catch ’em all” in China have been left wanting. That might explain why the top free game in China today on the Chinese iOS App Store is a Pokemon Go clone.
The knock-off game, 城市精靈Go (City monster Go), features a creature in the app icon that looks like Pikachu.
The app also has the same elements as Pokemon Go which starts with a professor saying the history of the world and the three monsters you can use as a starter. The game is said to be location-based, allowing users to locate their monsters in various areas around them.
The mobile game app is currently the most downloaded free app in the Chinese Apple App Store which was launched in March 2016 by Shenzhen developer Tanyu Mobi and currently has 1 million daily users.
Users can also get the application by switching their regional settings. Others have even purchased it through Taobao and other mini-markets where users can buy foreign Apple IDs for only RMB1.
Given the popularity of the game, the game developers have blocked out GPS signals in areas the game should not be out yet, leaving users to say that they should go abroad to play it. Some users have already invented hacks to play the game immediately despite the GPS block with the help of third-party sites.
Since there is no word yet regarding the availability of Pokemon Go for other countries, Chinese users are actually alright with it because there is an alternative way to play it in some sense through the Chinese version of the application.
While there are some lapses with regards to the gameplay and orientation of this game, developers have said they did not “consider any factors from Pokemon Go” even if one of their art designers is a big fan of Pokemon. Analysts suggested that Pokemon Go may not gain popularity in the country unless the game is localised to compete against the popularity of 城市精靈Go (City monster Go).