A few days ago, I told you that I had been invited to the Ingress beta, but was unable to test the game until my brand spanking new Nexus 4 would arrive. Well, the beautiful phone is in my possession since last Saturday, and I had some time to play around with Ingress. I will not provide you with a full-blown review, but just with a few impressions gathered during my few hours of hacking and (failing hard at) attacking Portals.
First of all, in order to have instant fun with this game, you will have to live in an urban area. Getting into the game and gathering resources is easier if you live in a city with lots of Portals, even if they are owned by the opposite faction. In case you happen to live in some backwater village, and the next Portal is a four-hour drive away, don’t fret! You can submit new Portals to Niantic / Google through the application. This is the non-instant way of having fun, since submissions can take up to six weeks until they are turned into real Portals.
Second, I feel like this game is really damn cool if you play it with a group of friends, trying to set up big control fields all over the area. What I can tell from reading in the G+ community, is that teamwork and planned operations are the real gamechangers in Ingress, really emphasizing the conflict between the blue weaklings and the vastly superior green heroes (can you tell which faction I chose?).
A final observation is a really personal one. Every time I go to work in the morning, I pass by that one Portal at the train station. Since I have to wait for my train there, I always check if I can repair it or upgrade it with a new shield. Tending this Portal reminded me somehow of the tabletop RPG Werewolf: the Forsaken. No, you don’t play a furry shapeshifter in Ingress, but conquering and guarding Portals feel like taking care of a Locus in Werewolf. Both spill supernatural energy into this world, and both are important to a bunch of secret “agents”. It might just be me, but this similarity to a game I love makes Ingress even more fun.
So far, I can only advise you to sign up for the beta and try to get into it! If you make it into the club, please be aware of the fact that green is the colour of the Matrix, and the Matrix is awesome!