A new augmented reality smartphone game blends the gameplay of Pokémon Go with lessons on Catholic dogma.
Follow JC Go! enables young players to travel real-world streets hunting not for catchable monsters but for Catholic saints and biblical figures. Available for iOS and Android, it also encourages players to pray when they pass by locations like churches and hospitals, reports the Catholic news site Crux.
The game, developed by the Florida-based Catholic evangelical group Fundación Ramón Pané at a reported cost of $500,000, is currently only available in Spanish, but the organization plans to release it in English, Italian, and Portuguese soon.
It’s also reportedly been given a nod of approval from Pope Francis, who sees it as a way to reach younger generations. The game was released as part of preparations for World Youth Day, a Catholic youth event set to be held in January in Panama.
Instead of the Pokémon fighting and capturing elements found in the game, players can answer Biblical quiz questions to recruit the religious figures they encounter. The game also features virtual billboards playing messages about the Bible, Crux reports.
The app is far from the first to blend popular video game styles with religious messaging. Christian games, while always a bit of a niche product, have existed since the early days of PC and console gaming.