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Franchise Based AR Games to Play or not…

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

More tablet/smartphone-based Augmented Reality (AR) games based on intellectual property (franchise) are available to play. While the technology is still at its infancy (i.e. requiring you to stare at a screen than the world), smart glasses is still not a thing and neuro interfaces are not likely to arrive soon. They are fun diversions to pass the time with. Unless noted, these games are available for both iOS and Android.

In no particular order:

At present, Pokémon GO is the king of the hill. Niantic Inc helped put the AR movement in the spotlight. It’s tough to catch them all, especially when there’s now more than 400 little monsters to grab. The gameplay is simple. Some can equate catching these pocket monsters akin to playing darts with pokéballs and this game still lacks an essential feature akin to Tamagotchi to make raising them to be just like the franchise it should be part of.

Newcomers will find the struggle real and those still playing since its launch are likely to say, not another ditto. Thankfully, bi-weekly and monthly in-game events try to keep the game fresh.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (also by Niantic) is the most anticipated game that is now out. Players have to make healing and power-up potions in order to deal with Foundables and Confoundables that litter the world. The fact that a storyline exists to keep the player engaged is very attractive, but is there an end-game? Expect a full review in the coming days.

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Dragon Quest Walk aka Dragon Warrior will challenge the throne since its older than Pokémon. It’s being made by Square-Enix and it’s one of the longest-running JRPG series of all time. Since it’s a story driven game, the quests might lead to an end goal. There’s also the possibility that defeating them all are not required.

Players can play by themselves or in a party of four if the screenshot is any indication. Plus, its animation is far slicker than other products.


Ghostbusters World is almost a fading memory where too many partners were involved in its development. Sony Pictures Consumer Products, Ghost Corps, 4:33, and Next Age got together to create a very involved game. Players have to build equipment, recharge the photon packs and somehow manage to carry all the new toys Egon has made.

The premise, like all games in this genre, is to catch a bunch of free-roaming spectres. But once when they are caught, they can be used in the story mode. Also, you physically have to move the smartphone around for targeting. It doubles as a photon pack and a perfect aim is required to zap spirits.


You are piloting drones in Jurassic World Alive, made by Ludia Games. The premise is to catch them all, mutate them and take them out on battles–perhaps the only thing close to having kaijus fight it out for real. I’m surprised TOHO (or Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros) has not branched out into this market with their own game. Doing it in “person” will only mean players can get stomped. This game is basically Pokemon GO taken to a different level.


Angry Birds AR is an iOS-only game by Rovio which is a breath of fresh air to the augmented reality scene. The reason is that this the developer is taking advance of the technology Apple introduced to recognize environments and put the puzzler on a surface. To find that angle to destroy these structures may seem easier, but it’s still tough. Knowing your geometry is important.


Stranger Things is an 80s cartoon-inspired location-based puzzle RPG which should technically classify it as AR. Players have to walk around this look through the looking glass and avoiding those demogorgons and other nasties from the Upside Down. This game requires Google Maps to hide where these dangers await. Unlike the other games, it may require working with friends more than solo efforts to advance. Next Games is developing this product and plan to release it in 2020.

This company also developed The Walking Dead: Our World, an AR shooter where killing a bunch of zombies is fun. It’s basically a game of survival where you go around finding these hordes to take down, and you save people, namely those from AMC’s series, and hope to make it through another day.

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