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Google AR lets you snap a selfie with Detective Pikachu – here’s how

Google Playground has introduced a new set of Playmoji characters from the new Detective Pikachu movie starring Ryan Reynolds. Here’s how it works.

If you want to see Pikachu dance before your eyes through your smartphone camera, you’ll need to make sure two apps are installed: ARCore, and Playground: Pokémon Detective Pikachu. You can find both on the Google Play Store, free to download.

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Screenshot of an app on Play store named Playground: Pokemon Detective Pikachu

The new Playmoji pack is currently limited to Pixel smartphones (such as the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3) along with selected Motorola and LG devices. We’ve asked Google for a full list of compatible devices, so check back to find out whether you can access this cool new feature.

Once installed, you can access the friendly creatures in virtual reality by changing the Mode on your smartphone camera, and scrolling to select the Pokémon icon. The app needs a flat surface to work properly, and it will take a few minutes to scan the surroundings for a good fit. Once scanned, you can just press record to see a cute little Pokémon dancing in front of your eyes.

There are four different Pokémon available: Detective Pikachu, Jigglypuff, Charizard, and Mr Mime. Each one has a different animation when put to work in Augmented Reality, from singing to fire-breathing (we’ll let you guess which one does which).

We tried it out for ourselves, and snapped this  screenshot of Charizard laying waste to my work desk:

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Screenshot of an ongoing video recording of a Pokemon blowing fire on a Trusted Reviews cup kept on a table

Google also claims you can take a video selfie with Detective Pikachu reacting to your expressions via machine learning, but unfortunately we were unable to access this function on the LG G7 (perhaps this feature also depends on the phone you use).

You’ll still have to wait until May 10 to see the new movie Detective Pikachu in the cinema, but hopefully this will help the waiting pass a little bit more quickly.

Have you tried out the new Pokémon Playmoji? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews

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