Pokémon GO is now available to the public in most countries, but how do you play? What are the best tips and tricks? How do I make best friends in a world I must defend? Hold on with all of those questions. G&S has you covered since the game does very little to tell you what you need to do.
After Professor Willow is done with his opening speech, you’ll get the chance to catch either Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle. Be careful with who you try to catch first though, since the other two will disappear. However, you’ll have the opportunity to catch the others while walking through the wilds. Speaking of walking…
Gotta Catch ‘Em All
You better lace up your shoes because you are going to do a lot of just that, walking. Don’t worry about having to go out into the middle of the forest to pick up a Rattata. Places that get most of your foot traffic–think outdoor malls and such–will be your destination if you want to catch them all. You can find out how close Pokémon are by tapping the icon in the lower right corner of your screen. One footprint means that they’re pretty close while three of them could mean a bit of a hike.
You’ll find certain Pokémon in places that you would naturally expect them. Want a Zubat? Wait until night. Want to get your hands on a Pidgeot? You’re off to the big city. While it doesn’t always work exactly that way, you can get a pretty good idea of the Pokémon you’ll find by taking a look at your surroundings. I’ve manged to pick up a couple of nocturnal creatures during the day, but for now, if you want to get a Poliwag, you might want to take a trip to your local fountain.
When you try to catch a Pokémon, be aware that you’ll probably lose a few balls until you get the hang of it. Some Pokémon like to jump and some will randomly attack you, which make them harder to catch. There’s a ring that shows up around your target that shrinks while prep your throw. You want to flick when the ring is at the smallest for the best chance of success. With some practice, you’ll catch them more consistently and sometimes even get a throw bonus!
If you still aren’t encountering creatures as often as you’d like, don’t worry. Just use an incense and Pokémon will start coming to you for 30 minutes. You should get somewhere between 3 and 6 Pokémon showing up in that time, though they’ll often be fairly common critters. You can do this at Pokéstops with lure modules as well.
All that said, catch them all. Seriously. Don’t think that you’re too good for a Sandshrew. You’ll get stardust and Pokémon-specific candies. These can be used to either evolve or level-up your pocket monsters. Evolving takes a lot of candies but greatly increases the CP of your digital warriors and add a new Pokémon to your Pokédex! Leveling will give you a boost to your CP and takes less candies.
PokéStop in the Name of Love
The game doesn’t actually tell you what to do once you hit up one of these stops. You’ll need to spin/swipe the little circle in the center of the icon once you’re close enough to the PokéStop to get prizes such as more balls, potions, eggs, and more. Again, more populated areas will have more of these stops.
The Only Gyms We Want to Visit
You can’t go to a gym to battle until you’re level 5 and you’ll probably still want to wait until you have a reasonably strong Pokémon. Battling is tricky and Pokémon don’t recover from fainting on their own, so be careful before entering a battle. There are also no in-game tips (other than for dodging) for battling, so once you start you better figure it out quickly. You need to tap to execute a regular attack and hold to go for a charge attack. You can only do charged attacks if your Pokémon’s meter has a bar, and you can find what attack they’ll perform on their profile.
If your Pokémon faints or is injured in a gym, you’ll need to heal them. Unfortunately, there aren’t any Pokécenters like in the traditional games. You’ll need to use Revives and Potions to keep your Pokémon in fighting shape. You can find both at PokéStops and are awarded a good chunk when you reach certain levels.
If you end up taking over a gym, you can place one of your own Pokémon to man it, but only if they are at full health. After you set your combatant, know that you won’t be able to use them again until they’re defeated. Your teammates can also add Pokémon to the gym to reinforce it against attackers, so grab some buddies and make sure to keep your territory strong.
Those are the basic tips to help you be a Pokémon Master, but what about the app itself? Pokemon Go is still super glitchy. Be aware that the servers may be down or you’ll have trouble logging in pretty often for a while. Pokémon Go is also a huge drain on batteries, so if you want to go play for a while, bring a portable charger. However, we’ve been pleasantly surprised with the low data drain, even with wifi turned off. We can play Pokémon Go for hours and use only about 0.05 GB, so, if you get that portable charger, you can play for days with no worry about draining your data.
[Editor’s Note: Join Team Yellow!]
And those are our tips and tricks for getting started with Pokémon Go. How have you been doing with the game? Catch anything interesting yet? Let us know in the comments.