There have been a few straight copies of Niantic’s mega-successful Pokémon Go (yes, people still play it; someone trade me a Mewtwo please) but none quite as odd as this one. Follow JC Go!, an augmented reality adventure app inspired by the same people that bought you Catholicism (the religion, not the game), has been revealed, allowing you to befriend Catholic saints and biblical figures while praying at locations like churches and hospitals.
In an attempt to gamify structured religion, the iOS and Android game was developed by Florida-based evangelical group Fundación Ramón Pané for a cool half a million bucks, released into the world as a Spanish-exclusive version. The group plan to release the game in English, Italian and Portuguese soon, especially now that it has been given the nod from Pope Francis himself, who reportedly views it as a way to reach younger generations in the lead up to Panama’s World Youth Day in January.
Following the fundamentals of Pokémon Go, JC Go! makes use of your smartphone camera and a real-time map to “hunt” out digital characters, replacing Mewtwo with Moses, Pikachu with Saint Peter, etc. You don’t have any balls to throw at these men and women though, to “catch” them you must answer religious quizzes. The correct answer will see the character join your Evangelisation Team.
The game even has their own items, so instead of berries and max revives, you’ve just got water, food and something called “spirituality” which contributes to your in-game health. There is no indication that the game attempts to recreate Pokémon Go’s central gym mechanic, but it does send you reminders to prayer when you pass a church or hospital. You can also donate to charity via the app.
From the below video, it seems like Follow JC Go! makes the ill-advised choice to completely copy Pokémon Go’s music and sound effects.
Work on the app reportedly began just over two years ago, with a team of 43 designers, theologians, Bible experts, and Church historians. You can download it HERE.
Meanwhile, the original Pokémon Go game remains as popular as ever, with the fourth generation of Pokémon from the anime and mainline series slowly creeping into the game over the next few weeks/months. Niantic, now worth a ridiculous amount of money, have arrived at the clever technique of hosting regular special events and releasing new Pokémon in waves.