Catan: World Explorers is my new favourite AR game?

Niantic’s latest game has been available for a few months now in Australia, New Zealand and a few other countries.

The gameplay for World Explorers is actually surprisingly different compared to their other titles, like Pokemon GO or Wizards Unite.

As you can probably tell, Catan: World Explorers adapts the iconic board game to Niantic’s augmented reality format – and they do a faithful job at it too.

Catan transitions surprisingly well to a location-based game. I know. I wouldn’t have believed you either if you told me a year ago I’d be walking around my city to play a board game…

But World Explorers blends the Catan gameplay so well with Niantic’s formula.

The basic gameplay loop of World Explorers will have you walking around collecting resources from points of interests, and using them to craft cards.

These cards are used to build up settlements to gain points for your team for the season, and give you rewards.

I’ve been really enjoying my time with Catan: World Explorers, and it’s my new go-to mobile game.

There are so many features and quality of life that I’d also love to see implemented in Niantic’s other games!

For example, there are gold and personal settlements in World Explorers which acts as a base system.

This would be awesome in other augmented reality titles, especially Pokemon GO.

Being able to set up your own personal gym or pokestop in Pokemon GO would be great! Just like in the mainline games.

There’s also a “totem” system in World Explorers, which lets you move aroudn the map remotely.

It’s a great quality of life feature, especially considering the hard times we’re in – Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to walk around outside in the middle of a pandemic!

The totem system allows you to control a second player character, and visit different landmarks or PoI from home.

I also love World Explorer’s visual style, and love how they gave the map and world a distinct personality. It doesn’t look anything like PGO or Wizards Unite.

Something else I like in particular about World Explorers is you don’t have to worry about a current meta.

You can take the game at your own pace, and you don’t have to feel pressured to have the best 4* Pokemon.

There are a few issues I have with Catan: World Explorers, but it’s mostly to do with graphics, or bugs.

Loading into the game can take a while, even on newer phones. Every now and again you’ll get stuck in a menu, or accessing a settlement.

Also, just like in Pokemon GO – this game has a three-team system, which needs some sort of balancing to make it fair.

One team always dominates the other two by a wide margin. Some way to balance teams during seasons would make competition more enjoyable.

Just like Niantic’s other games, Catan: World Explorers monetization model comes in the form of a cash shop.

I haven’t had to spend any money on the game just yet though – I’ve found Niantic is pretty generous with the premium currency.

Also you burn through resources and cards pretty quick, so you don’t usually have to buy any inventory expansions.

The most useful items in the cash shop were probably the ability to move your personal bases (settlements).

I plan to cover the game more on my YouTube Channel, and my Augmented Reality news website – Wordedly!

If you want to learn more about Catan: World Explorers, head over to the official website!

By Camellia Hao Ren

Camellia Hao Ren is an Australian journalist and editor. When they aren't writing, they are usually playing games or reading.

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