Google’s latest toy is a location-based game called Ingress, which “transforms the real world into the landscape for a global game of mystery, intrigue, and competition”, courtesy of an Android app and a wonderfully bonkers plot.

The game centres around a “mysterious energy” that has been unearthed by a team of scientists in Europe. Gamers are split into two categories: the Enlightened, who want to harness this energy for good, and the Resistance who are struggling to defend what’s left of our humanity. Good luck there, Resistance.

Users generate the virtual energy they need to play the game by travelling along certain real-world walking paths, according to AllThingsD. This energy, or “XM”, can then be spent going in missions to “portals”, which are associated with public art, libraries and other easily accessible physical locations. Players can also acquire objects, capture technology and ally with other players to advance the cause of the Enlightened or the Resistance.

The game comes from John Hanke’s Niantic Labs, the Google team previously responsible for the Field Trip app. Hanke told AllThingsD that the game is inspired both by Lost creator JJ Abrams and World of Warcraft “ where everyone in the world is playing the same game”. “You’re like a rat in a maze on the phone,” Hanke added, cheerfully.

The game is currently in closed beta and you can request an invite from