'Rick and Morty' Solved the 'Pokémon GO' Multiplayer Problem

An indie game that started as a joke literally beat Pokémon at its own game.

Adult Swim / Niantic / Pokemon

Niantic’s Pokémon GO has had a disastrous few months amidst failed IRL events and disappointed fans. By contrast, the Rick and Morty brand has never been stronger. It might seem like an unfair comparison, but the show’s Pokémon clone Pocket Mortys satirizes the “gotta catch ‘em all” model while delivering features that fans have wanted in Pokémon GO since that game’s release last year.

Sure, Pocket Mortys is closer to a traditional Pokémon game than it is to the augmented reality variation, but when Pocket Mortys added a multiplayer game mode in July, it effectively became a Pokémon MMORPG allowing players to battle each other directly — and that’s something not even Pokémon has ever really done.

Imagine a regular Pokémon game but in every Route, Town, and City, the NPC trainers have been placed by IRL players wandering around just like you. Instead of getting forced into each encounter, players propose an optional battle that allows the players to battle. Players can even trade their Mortys directly.

Pokémon GO players often clamor for trading and direct multiplayer PVP battles. How did a ridiculous Rick and Morty game deliver both before Pokémon GO could manage to?

Pocket Mortys does just enough for fans of the pocket monsters genre, and it has fun doing it — infinitely more so for fans of Adult Swim’s beloved animated sci-fi adventure series. Pokémon GO, on the other hand, tries too hard with its sweeping global events that tend to end in disaster. The recent Pokémon GO Fest Chicago was so disastrous, in fact, that two-dozen fans filed a lawsuit against developer Niantic.

Sure, the tradition Gym experience in Pokémon GO allows players to battle the residing Pokémon of others, but the U.I. for battling has never made for an enjoyable experience. You’re also facing what’s essentially an NPC clone of whoever took over the Gym before, a cheap imitation for a live player-vs-player experience. The best we’ve gotten for multiplayer is the bland co-op Raid experience that allows access to legendaries like Mewtwo. But where’s the more competitive battling and trading? Most would rather have that than overcomplicated IRL events.

For players tired of the same old Pokémon GO nonsense, or even those that wished Nintendo would release a more traditional Pokémon RPG for mobile devices, Pocket Mortys is a fantastic alternative, especially if you’re into Rick and Morty even the smallest amount.

Robot Morty, Cowboy Morty, and Scruffy Morty are just a few of the Mortys out there.

Adult Swim

In the multiplayer game mode, Pocket Mortys includes all sorts of Rick and Morty-themed avatars for gamers to play as, including Pickle Rick and Rat Suit Pickle Rick. There’s also a growing list of over 200 Mortys with new Mortys added with each new episode of Season 3.

Is Pocket Mortys better than your average Pokémon game? Probably not. Pocket Mortys oversimplifies the Pokémon model with only three Morty types compared to Pokémon’s 18 types. The game’s experience is more into showcasing ridiculous Morty variants than it is developing a robust combat experience. But the craziest part? It develops a moderately robust experience nonetheless.

At least the developers behind Pocket Mortys knows what its fan want as Pokémon GO seemingly ignores what its fans want to see happen.

Pocket Mortys and Pokémon GO are available on iOS and Android, and Rick and Morty Season 3 airs Sundays on Adult Swim at 11:30 p.m. Eastern.

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