Many summer festivals are cancelled and popular events including Yokohama’s Pikachu Outbreak and Disney's Halloween and Christmas celebrations have been called off this year due to Covid-19 coronavirus, but there’s been a lot more action online lately to make up for it. One event that’s sure to get Pikachu fans excited is the Pokémon Virtual Fest, which is now running online until August 31.
The festival is essentially a virtual Pokémon theme park featuring all sorts of games, performances and Pokémon-related fun. The theme park is the brainchild of Japanese social media platform Cluster, which has run other anime and video game-inspired online events in the past.
Once you’ve entered the virtual theme park, you’ll be able to pick one of three costume options for your avatar – Grookey, Sobble or Scorbunny, the three starter Pokémon in the Pokémon Sword and Shield video game released at the end of last year. After dressing up, you can explore the park and even go on rides including the Giant Poké Ball Ferris Wheel and the Wailord Sky Ocean Cruise.
If carnival games are more your thing, try your hand at the Inteleon Shooting Range or the Dugtrio Ring Toss. You can even visit the park with your friends and take virtual photos together just like you’re hanging out at a theme park IRL. But it’s not just about selfies – you can put together a team of friends to tackle some special missions in the park.
Missions include navigating mazes, solving riddles and completing puzzles. And here's the good news: successful missions help expand the theme park for everyone, opening up more attractions and features. Missions also unlock new outfits for your avatar, so sharpen your puzzle-solving skills now.
There's more: on designated days, special Pokémon battles and stage events will take place in the park. From August 29 to 31, you can even attend a Pikachu dance show featuring fireworks – think of it like a virtual version of Pikachu Outbreak.
To visit the park, you’ll need to download the free Cluster app (available for Windows and Mac computers as well as iOS and Android devices), create an account, and follow the prompts. If you’re on a computer, you can even experience the park via an Oculus or Vive VR headset.
The Pokémon Virtual Fest is now open on the World Wide Web, starting from Wednesday August 12 until Monday August 31.