Pokémon GO is rolling out across the world right now on iOS and Android devices and is one of the hottest, most anticipated games of the year. Even if you haven’t had an interest in Pokémon since the Red/Blue era, it’s hard to resist trying out GO, since who hasn’t dreamed of catching ’em all in the real world? Although GO has some similarities to the main Pokémon game series we’ve been playing for the past 20 years, its augmented reality and GPS features make it a much different beast; as such, you may find yourself wondering where to even begin upon booting it up for the first time. Never fear, aspiring trainer! We’ve assembled this list of starter tips to help you get out into the wild and starting assembling your Pokémon team. Just remember to come back to reality every so often to eat some food and let your loved ones know you’re alive, okay?
10. Bring A Back-Up Power Supply On Your Travels
The ironic thing about a game like Pokémon Go is that it encourages you to be as mobile as possible, yet the game absolutely destroys batteries. It can’t be stressed enough that if you’re planning on playing this game at all while you’re out and about, you need to at least bring your phone or tablet’s charge cable along so that you can juice your device back up to working order. And if your don’t want to be tethered to wall outlets everywhere you go, consider investing in a USB powerbank so that you can remain on the go longer. Somehow, we don’t think Ash Ketchum never had these problems …
9. Starter Pikachu
As is tradition, Pokémon GO lets you choose from three starter Pokémon and thankfully, they’ve gone back to the original ones with Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle. But if you can fight the temptation of picking one of these three, you’ll be rewarded with a Pikachu. You’ll encounter one soon after walking away from the initial starters, although it may take a few tries for him to appear. This Reddit thread offers some more information on how to get it to work.
8. Pokestops Are Your Friend
You’ll find Pokéstops on your travels and these rest stops of sorts allow you to collect items such as eggs and Pokéballs. The cool thing is that some of these Pokéstops can even earn you experience from popping the bubbles around items you earn. Additionally, you don’t necessarily have to keep discovering new Pokéstops to use them, as each one refreshes after 5 minutes and can be used an unlimited number of times.
7. Popular Places Equal More Stuff To Do
If you’re booting up Pokémon GO in a residential area, you may find yourself disheartened at the lack of Pokéshops and other points of interests on your map. The key is to go to more populated, popular places in your town or city, such as a park, mall, or downtown district. There will be a much higher rate of locations on the map and you’ll also get more free items too. Plus, there’s an increased chance of finding different, rarer Pokémon, which is what it’s really all about, right?
6. Don’t Even Bother Buying Pokéballs
You may be tempted to spend money on Pokéballs to keep a ready supply, given just how many of the critters you’ll be catching in this game, but it’s better to save those funds for different things. Buying lures and incense are a much better use of your cash, considering Pokéshops dole out a generous supply of Pokéballs on the regular and rarely give you the aforementioned items.
5. Transferring Pokémon Is Super Important
Catching tons of Pokémon will help level and evolve the ones in your collection quickly, but another tactic that will help is to transfer the ones you catch back to the Professor. For each one you transfer, you’ll receive one candy, which are invaluable for leveling up.
4. How To Hatch An Egg
If you’re finding yourself waiting what feels like an obscenely long time for one of your eggs to hatch, it’s probably not your fault. Pokémon GO stops tracking your walking distance when the app is closed, which means that your eggs won’t progress any further along on the incubation track when the app is inactive. You must ensure that the app is open and active in order to hatch eggs as quickly as possible, which unfortunately won’t do your battery any favors, but that’s kind of par for the course for this game anyway.
3. Footprints Are Like Radar
Although Pokémon GO doesn’t outright tell you which Pokémon are near you at any given time, it does include a chart with grayed-out images of specific Pokémon with a number of paw prints underneath. These prints aren’t just there for show; they give you a rough indication of how far away that Pokémon is from you. For example, if there are no prints, it means that Pokémon is very close and their distance increases depending on the number of prints. Unfortunately, no direction indicator is given, but if you check back from time to time and notice that the number has gone down, you know you’re on the right track.
2. Spin The Ball
One of the most useful tips that the game doesn’t tell you is that you can spin your Pokéball before throwing it and not just for show. By spinning the ball, it’s possible to throw a curveball and earn bonus experience. Additionally, it’s also important to get your timing down, meaning that you’ll want to wait until the ring inside the circle is at its smallest to throw the ball. This isn’t really a big deal at lower levels when catching Pokémon is incredibly easy, but later on when you’re trying to catch legendaries with Great and Master Balls, getting the timing down on this will prove invaluable.
1. Be Safe
Part of the fun of a game like Pokémon GO is being pushed to explore more of the place you live and beyond, as you’ll never find all the good Pokémon by just hanging around your house. It should go without saying but make sure that wherever this game takes you, you stay safe. We all want to catch some nocturnal Pokémon, but maybe don’t go exploring dark alleys in the middle of the night by yourself, okay? And while you’re at it, make sure you look up once in awhile; don’t be one of those idiot trainers that runs out into traffic because they spotted a Growlithe.