While most established media brands are content to copy Pokémon GO to jump into augmented reality gaming, at least one feature takes a slightly different approach.
Launched this week, Wallace & Gromit: The Big Fix Up is a mobile game that fits into the life simulation genre that assigns players as partners in the titular characters’ handyman startup, Spick & Spanners. Players coordinate various tasks and assign available required constructs and gadgets to complete the timed tasks.
The app is available for free from the App Store and Google Play.
Where the game differs from other entries in the genre is the use of augmented reality in two parts of the game. First, the tasks that players accept during the game include messages from in-game characters. Some of these messages are manifested as holograms, with a very meta-reference to them Star Wars in the first AR message.
Then, as players create constructions and gadgets in the game, they can interact with virtual replicas of the items in their physical space through the Playground section of the game, which is accessible from the navigation bar at the bottom of the app’s interface.
With the viral launch and continued success of Pokémon GO, intellectual property holders were eager to replicate the geocaching formula with their own franchises, with Jurassic Park, Walking Dead, Ghostbusters and Harry Potter games launched over the past two years. and a Hello Kitty in the making. However, none have rivaled Pokémon GO, which is still one of the top-grossing mobile games out there.
More recently, however, we’ve seen brands take more creative approaches to apply AR to their games. Like Wallace & Gromit, Animal Crossing Pocket Camp has added the ability to interact with characters and explore virtual models of cabin designs in AR.
On the premium side, Dr. Seuss’s ABC – An Amazing AR Alphabet! users AR to bring classic characters to life and help children learn the alphabet.
Perhaps the recent creativity in game design will result in more mainstream success for augmented reality apps.