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Japanese users have been testing the beta version of the augmented reality Pokemon adventure for some time now, but just last week, Niantic announced the option to sign up for the US beta of Pokemon Go. Now the games can truly begin in the US, as invitations have begun rolling out to accepted beta testers. This is according to a blog post by Niantic Labs.

We saw leaked footage of the beta back in April that revealed some of the key gameplay mechanics of Pokemon Go. It really does seem to capture the spirit of the Pokemon universe in that players, like the protagonists of the games and anime, must strike out into the world on foot to collect Pokemon. It appears as though different species of Pokemon will vary regionally, so all we can do is hope that the US won’t be stuck with the trash Pokemon of Black and White’s Unova region, which is based on the United States. If this turns out to be the case, I’ll be booking a plane ticket to the Kanto region of Japan posthaste because no team of mine is complete without a Nidoking.

Players will hunt for their favorite Pokemon in the wild, building a powerful team that they can use to either defend their own gyms from rival players or challenge rival gyms for control, Ingress style. Items can be found in the wild or, it seems, purchased from Pokemarts. These items include eggs which, just like in the games, must be carried a certain number of steps before they hatch into baby Pokemon.

No word yet on when Pokemon Go will be officially released, but those who signed up for the US beta should check their inboxes. While we wait around to see if this game is all it’s being hyped up to be, let us know your thoughts about it. Will Pokemon Go be a blockbuster or a heartbreaker? Tell us your opinion in the comments!

Next: This freshly leaked Pokemon Go beta footage makes us want to hit Route 1 immediately

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