China’s knock-off game has a number of surprisingly similar elements and characters that look weirdly like the originals from Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go, the hugely popular augmented reality mobile game currently making news around the world, has been released in a number of countries but is yet to appear officially on its home turf of Japan, or anywhere else on the Asian continent. People in China, however, are currently enjoying a knock-off game called City Spirits Go, which is so popular, it’s the number one free game on the Chinese iOS App Store.


Not only does the name of the game sound similar to Pokémon Go, the lineup of characters, which have the ability to evolve like Pokémon, look remarkably familiar too. While the monsters are said to be 100 percent original, the artist behind their creation is a well-known illustrator who draws for a Chinese Pokémon fanzine.

▼ The app icon features a wide-eyed bright yellow character that bears a resemblance to Pikachu.


The gameplay is also location-based, requiring users to move around on GPS maps in order to catch different monsters in the wild, all of which possess one of eight elemental qualities that include fire and water. The creatures are also born with special qualities and characteristics, and gamers are able to battle with friends.

▼ Developed by Xiaoyu Sun, the game was actually released on March 24, several weeks after Nintendo’s Japanese-only beta test of Pokémon Go first began.


Upon launching the app, gamers are introduced to a doctor who’s a monster specialist. He gives out advice on the subjects at the centre of his field of specialisation.


▼ Player profile options are also revealed.



The one thing missing from the game is the exciting element of augmented reality (AR), and despite its immense popularity, Pokémon lovers in China aren’t entirely happy with the fact that they can’t combine the game world with the real world through AR. With the current government block on Google Maps and accounts, which Pokémon Go needs to access in order to run, City Spirits Go could very well be the closest Chinese gamers get to catching ’em all.

Photos © RocketNews24
Screenshot: City Sprits GO (iOS app store)
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