What is Ingress App and How to Play it?

the logo of ingress gameWhat is Ingress? A question we heard too many times. In short, Google Ingress (and, later on, Niantic’s) is a mobile game that takes place in a universe much similar to ours. Just like its successor, Pokemon Go, Ingress it based on geolocation and the player interacting with their environment.

The complexity of this game is really hard to grasp without actually playing it, but we’re going to give it a try in this article.

What is Ingress App?

Ingress is an MMOG (massively multiplayer online game) that uses augmented reality and geolocation to immerse players in a sci-fi universe with a continuous open narrative. The Android version was launched in 2012, and the iOS app entered the iTunes store 2 years later.

stuttgart map in ingress

What is Ingress About?

The Ingress universe mostly overlaps with our own both in times of timeline and space. However, in the Ingress game, with the 2012 discovery of the Higgs Boson also came the discovery of an alien matter. XM, short for Exotic Matter, seems to be associated with a mysterious alien phenomenon called Shapers. Little is known about these shapers, but one thing is sure: they can be a serious threat to our world as we know it. However, they can also be a huge advancement to our civilization.

The battle takes place between the 2 factions, the Resistance and the Enlightened, and involves portals found at physical landmarks like monuments, historical buildings, and other places of importance. The point of this game is to capture, destroy, damage, link, recharging, or protecting portals in your area. You can also battle other players of the opposing faction in real time, destroying or rebuilding portals and creating control fields.

However, unlike many other MMO games, there are no characters or penalties to a player’s profile after a losing battle. The battle takes place between factions, and factions alone. Players do have a ranking system based on their Action Points. What are Ingress action points, you might ask? They’re awarded for different actions that prove themselves constructive for your faction.

So What is Ingress App’s Purpose?

art made by ingress players

Art created by Ingress players through their in-game actions.

The developers of the Ingress game aimed to encourage physical activity and spending time outside, and they managed to do this very well. The actual gameplay of this game relies on players actually walking from one portal to another.  It’s also possible to drive, but this comes with some consequences. Some features of the game will not work the same way (or at all) when driving around past a certain speed. This ensures safe driving, but also discourages cheating practices like GPS spoofing.

Both global and regional factors influence each faction’s performance. The number of mind units (calculated based on the population density in a certain area) is the most important factor. All the portals in the world are interconnected, with links ranging from a few feet to hundreds of miles. These were created and balanced during extremely complex operations, both local and international. You capture mind units every time you control fields.

So What’s Ingress Gameplay Like?

First of all, the Ingress world is presented as a map of your actual surrounding area, without any markings or labels. On this map, you’ll be able to see all the portals, XM, links, items, and control fields in the surrounding area. Your location is displayed as a small arrowhead that travels in real time with you. You cannot view other players’ location, though. To interact with any object, you need to physically be near said object.

crowd on street at sunrise playing ingressSo, you basically walk or drive around to collect items, strengthen portals, or try to destroy the enemy ones. The more active you are, the more action points you earn and the stronger your items will be. You’ll also be able to recharge portals for a longer time. You’ll accumulate much more action points if you are outnumbered by those in the opposite faction in your area. You can also participate in missions, which include specific instructions to interact with portals, objects, or other places.

You can also earn multi-tiered badges, going through the standard bronze-platinum but also including onyx, the highest-ranking tier. You will win a badge after proving your ability and loyalty to your faction. This means the total numbers of MUs you captured, the fields and links you created, and your offensive and defensive actions overall. Another way you can earn badges is by participating in certain events, but most of these have a special status.

Of course, this barely sums up the Ingress game. For the full experience, you can download Niantic Ingress for iOS from iTunes.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4.