iPhone gamers can finally join the Enlightened or the Resistance, battling for control of portals on their way to pick up the dry cleaning or walk the dog. Yes, Niantic Labs has brought augmented reality game Ingress to iOS, after it gained popularity on Android and even came unofficially to Google Glass. In the game, players walk around their city searching for portals on a map. Portals tend to be public works of art, landmarks, parks, and historical sites, so it’s a nice way to stretch your legs and find new places of interest nearby. But you’re also trying to capture those portals for your team, expanding the reach of your faction, and picking up invisible items dropped by other players.
Ingress, Google’s innovative augmented reality game, has launched on Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, having previously only been available for Android. Developed by Google’s “in-house startup” Niantic Labs, Ingress has been seen as the poster boy forAndroid gaming, offering a particularly Google-like take on the ad-supported, free-to-play model of games development. Download Ingress and you’ll be asked to choose a side: the controlling “Enlightened” or the anarchic “Resistance”. These two factions fight over a mysterious new source of energy, with players using their mobile devices to claim ownership of prominent real-world landmarks, which attract this abstract resource. In practice, I found when I played it on Android, you walk around your neighbourhood looking down at a map, over which pretty glowing green and blue lines flow. Find a source of power and you can claim it for your team, which usually involves overcoming defences placed by the other team, using various bombs and keys you collect. The key is you have to be physically present at the place you’re influencing, and it’s this connection with the real world that has fuelled the game’s popularity, with meetups of dozens and sometimes hundreds of players taking place in cities around the world. “As Ingress is a massively multiplayer and location-based game, it makes sense for it to be available for as many devices as possible,” said Jack Kent, principal analyst at IHS Technology. “Launching on iOS will greatly increase the number of devices and users for Ingress and thereby increase advertising revenues.