The world around you is now what it seems – Ingress Prime review

In this review I’ll tell you why Ingress, an over ten years old game is still one of the best mobile alternative reality games ever made. It was released 4 years prior to Pokemon Go, the way more famous game that was based on a similar idea, in 2012. Both games were published by Niantic Labs, a US-based development studio.

In this review I’ll quickly talk about the games appearance and story, how it works and what you can expected if you play it over a longer amount of time.

Game appearance

In November of 2012 the “original” Ingress, later called Scanner [REDACTED] was released. Around 6 years later it was replaced by Ingress Prime, a version of the game with the same features but a different user interface and appearance. Today I’ll share my experiences with the newer version as I only got into the game during the change.

The main interface consists of a map with a cursor to mark the player position, a bar that represents your energy level, your username and a box with the newest activity in a radius around you. The map represents streets and buildings in different tones of gray with the background being black. Around you on the map you’ll see portals. They look like a flame in a either white, blue or green color.

Actions are often accompanied by soundeffects and the login massage even has a voiceline that informs you how long is has been since your last login. These sounds add to the futuristic vibe of the app but also match the story behind it very well.


In 2012, a research group of the Niantic Project at the CERN research center discovered Exotic Matter (XM). This matter was encoded and apparently contained information transmitted by Shapers, a transdimensional force. The complexity of this information was so great that it could only be processed by a computer with artificial intelligence. This computer was named ADA (as in “Algorithm Detecting Anything”).

During the incident on December 1, 2012, known as the Epiphany Night, an accident occurred involving a Power Cube, resulting in the laboratory being flooded with highly concentrated XM (Exotic Matter). Some individuals succumbed to the effects of XM and became extremely creative, while others took it upon themselves to resist the Shapers and their influence on humanity through XM.

In Ingress you belong to one of these teams: The Enlightened , who welcome the influence of XM and strive towards a higher state of consciousness and the Resistance, a group that fear that the Shapers take over humanity who fight against the Enlightened.

If you are interested in the whole story behind the game and the want to understand the mass of media ingame or from the community I recommend looking up lore in the wikis of the game and to get in contact with your local players. There is also a animated show on Netflix that shows the incident and explains many parts of the game.


In Ingress your goal is to occupy as many portals as possible for your fraction / team. Portals are often located at sights in cities or other interesting places and should never be on private property. To occupy a portal you place resonators in one or more of the 8 slots the portal offers. The more and the higher level resonators you place, the higher the portal level will be in the end. The maximum is a level 8 portal.

Each Portal can reward you with a key to it. This key is used as a means to connect other portals to the current one or to access it from afar. Keys are also a souvenir to a place you’ve visited.

The level influences the reach of the links you can create from one portal to another. A link is a connection between 2 portals of the same color. To create one both portals need to have enough reach to get to the other portal and also nothing in between them that could be blocking the link and you needed a matching key for the target portal. 3 links that connect 3 portals in a triangular shape are called a field. Fields reward you with mind units (“MU”) that basically represent your fractions influence over the “normal” inhabitants of the area.

You can attack and also defend portals. To attack you can use XMP-weapons or Ultra Strikes. These will drain the energy level of the resonators placed around the portal and in the end destroy all of them. To defend you can place additional shield power in the 4 mod slots of a portal. (These can be equipped with mods that improve the portals properties) If you own a key of the portal you can recharge the resonators from further away.

To recharge your own energy level you can either walk around and collect XM that is spread around the world or use power cubes to refill faster.

Power cubes and other items can be acquired through hacking portals. This rewards you with items that match the level of the portal. In addition to normal hacking there are many other options such as a hack that guarantees a key or one that doesn’t contain a key or the Glyph hack, a feature of the game where you need to remember glyphs and repeat them in a certain time window to earn more rewards than with a normal hack.

All these actions (attack, occupy, place resonators, hack, etc) are used in missions. These are a group of tasks that evolve around the portals in an area and reward you with a badge for your profile. Completing many of these can result in a beautiful mosaic. Mosaic are often pictures related to the city the missions are in. I’ve linked a website that offers an overview of mosaics and missions in your area below the article.

Other activities also reward badges that are displayed on your profile (these have 5 stages for more difficult growing goals). In addition to that, events that take place over the year can reward you with time limited reward badges. Other badges can only be purchased through the ingame shop or acquired at real life events such as community days or NL-1331 meetups. These events draw a large group of ingress players together at one place where you’ll complete missions together of fight around the portals in an area.

Grind & Consequences

Every time you capture a portal, hack one, create links or fields, attack portals and many other actions you are rewarded with experience points. Like in many other game you level up once you have a certain amount of experience points but in ingress you also need to have a certain amount of badges of a certain “quality”. The maximum level is 16 but you can also “prestige” and reset your level to 1 and start again. All other stats will be saved.

If you get to a point where you have way to many keys or other items in your inventory that you don’t need you’ll have to do lots of filtering and deleting before each big event you go to and maybe even consider buying additional key storage. You could also try sorting your items into capsules to keep them well organized.

Another aspect of the game that is worth grinding are the many missions around the world that also make a pretty sweet vacation souvenir.

In addition to all the fun you have you are also motivated to go outside and move your body which has a good influence on your health. (As long as you don’t drive everywhere with your car 😉


Ingress Prime: Ingress is a alternative reality game that has a deep story, a big community and a solid gameplay base. The game is regularly updated with events and bug fixes and we hope to only see it growing in the future. GLPC: emk

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This Post Has One Comment

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