Pokémon Go is finally here! The augmented-reality game for iOS and Android gives you the ability to be a real-life Pokemon trainer! If you want the low-down on how the game works check out how to capture, battle, fight gyms and more! Right now Pokémon Goo has only officially released in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United States.
So while we’re here just waiting over in Asia (and most definitely not pirating Pokémon Go), you can check out this list of things to know before starting your adventure!
1. PokeStops Refresh Often
If you happen to live, work, or just be in an area near one of the PokeStops, you’ll notice that the color changes from blue to purple once interacted with. If you hang around the area for a bit, you’ll find it goes back to its blue color after 5 or so minutes (times can vary), allowing you to easily stock up on Pokeballs, and gain 50 xp a pop, which is useful if you find yourself stuck someplace where Pokemon are not appearing.
2. Transfer Duplicate Pokémon For Candy
Leveling Pokémon doesn’t work the same as other games, since you don’t battle Pokémon in the wild. Instead, each Pokémon caught will come with a few of that Pokémon‘s candy, as well as Stardust. Both of these items will need to be gathered to train your Pokémon, and the candy in particular is needed to evolve Pokémon.
An easy way to obtain more candy is to transfer any duplicate Pokémon you catch in the wild. Find two Squirtles? Transfer one (which is the same as letting it go) and you’ll be rewarded with a Squirtle candy. It’s important to never pass up aPokémon you find – even if you already have that one!
3. Pokémon and PokeStops in Motion
Whether you’re on a bus, in a car, taking a train, or whatever — you’ll find that you can still play Pokémon Go on the go and your avatar will faithfully run down the streets to keep up. This can be both a blessing and a curse, because you’ll often pass through several potential PokeStops or Pokémon.
It’s important to note that when interacting with PokeStops, if you leave the area, you won’t be able to finish interacting with it — and interaction is often best saved when you’re slowing down or stopped in a moving vehicle. However, any Pokémon that is encountered and engaged will stay with you, letting you catch them at your leisure (so long as they don’t flee).
4. Trainer Level Influences Rarer Pokémon
As exciting as exploring new and unknown places for Pokémon are, you won’t have to brave the most dangerous places on Earth to find rare Pokémon – instead your personal level will dictate the rarity of Pokémon that appear. To start, you’ll often encounter basic pokemon (Zubats, Charmanders, Weedles, etc) but as you gain in level, there will be a better chance of finding both Pokémon with higher Combat Points, and rare Pokémon in general.
Tougher and rarer Pokémon will often be harder to catch – a green ring means an easy catch, yellow harder, and then orange and red. Difficult Pokémon may often break out of a Pokeball, or even run away. Consider using Items to make it easier before trying against these Pokemon.
5. Egg Hatching Distance Measuring
When trying to incubate a Pokémon Egg, you’ll have to travel a distance of several kilometers (usually 2 to 5). While you might be tempted to simply drive the distance, there’s more to it than distance traveled. Pokémon Go uses both your phone’s pedometer as well as the GPS to calculate how far you’ve actually walked, and appears to limit your distance traveled if it clocks you going at high speeds.
Note: The app must be active to count your steps. This means if you go for a walk, the app must stay running and you must be logged in and playing for it to count your steps.
6. Get Free Items For Defending Gyms
Once your trainer is level 5, you can finally visit Pokémon Gyms and battle against other trainers. If you visit a Gym with your team’s color – or take over one of the opposing color, you can store your Pokémon there and become a Gym Defender. Check back every 20~ hours and tap on the shield icon to receive free PokeCoins and Stardust (the amount may vary depending on how many Pokémon you have in the gym, or their Combat Points).
7. Battles Are Not Turn Based
Contrary to most Pokémon games, Gym Battles in Pokémon Go are not turn based – though attacks can’t be literally spammed either. To attack, simply tap the screen, and your Pokémon will deal its first attack as soon as its able. To deal a special attack, you will need to hold down on the screen and release. To dodge, swipe to the sides.
8. Pokémon Close By Can Be Summoned
When on the map, in the bottom right corner you can find a tab that lists any nearby Pokémon. Most of these Pokémon should have a number of 1 to 3 footprints under them, with 1 equaling close and 3 equaling farther away. However, sometimes you may find that a Pokémon listed has no footprints – if this is the case, track that Pokémon by tapping on it, and it should pop up on the map in a few seconds.
Note that simply seeing a patch of moving grass on the map doesn’t always mean a Pokemon will immediately pop up if you’re close enough – but some will often appear if you walk around the area long enough.
9. Make the Most of the Battery Saver
Pokémon Go includes an option in the settings to initaite a Battery Saver mode, but it doesn’t really explain what that does – in fact, simply turning it on won’t do much of anything.
To make use of Battery Saver, once turned on, simply turn your phone upside down, and the screen will darken to display a faint Pokémon Go logo. The game will still be on, and will still track your movements – you just won’t see it. However, you will still get a notification or rumble if you approach a Pokestop or a Pokémon appears, so you can quickly pull the phone out of your pocket to interact!