Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Pokémon Go. It’s been on the news, all over social media, and you’ve probably seen people around your neighborhood, in the mall, or pretty much anywhere else in public playing the mobile game. If you have yet to try it for yourself, it’s free, and it can be a lot of fun. Warning: it can also be addictive.
If you’re new to Pokémon Go, here’s a basic overview of everything you need to know to get started. It’s never too late to join the fun.
So here is your basic “getting started” guide to Pokémon Go:
Your Basic View/ Map View
Map View is the basic, default view you see when you open the app. This shows you the locations of Pokémon, PokeStops, and Gyms out in the real world. There are several basic things you will see on your Map View:
- The Compass – The compass will toggle your viewing direction in the app. You can set it to north-view or auto-rotation, which follows you where you go. You can also rotate using touch gestures. It’s easy to choose the view that is most convenient to you.
- Gyms – Gyms are the locations where teams train and battle Pokémon. You will need to choose a trainer team to use a gym. If you happen across a friendly gym, you can battle the Pokémon inside to gain experience and also to build gym prestige, which levels up the gym and allows you to place a Pokémon inside to guard it. If it’s a non-friendly gym, you can battle to bring in down in prestige and take it over for your team.
- PokeStops – PokeStops are noted as blue cubes on the map and they turn into circles when you get close enough to use them. You just click on the icon when in range to bring up the PokeStop and then spin it to gain items. You can get Poke Balls, potions, and sometimes eggs from these stops. They will be essential in your quest to level up as a trainer and to catch more wild Pokémon. There are also other fun things you can do at a PokeStop such as drop a lure on it to attract more (and some rare) Pokémon to the stop.
- Your Trainer – This is your avatar. You get to choose male or female and what gear you wear at the start. You can also change what you look like at any time from your Profile icon.
- Your Profile Icon – The Profile icon also shows your progress and the badges and achievements you have earned. You can access your journal here and the customize option to change what you look like.
- The Main Menu – This menu allows access to your settings, items, your Pokedex, the shop for buying items to improve your experience in the game, and the Pokémon menu options.
- Nearby Pokémon – This area in the bottom right will show you when there are Pokémon nearby. You can use this as a guide to help you find wild Pokémon.
How to Play
You move your avatar on the map by moving around in the real world, hence the “go” in the title. This is a game that encourages you to get up and move around in more ways than one. First, you’re going to need to move around in order to find those Pokémon. You also get eggs that hatch into new Pokémon after you walk a specific distance. Eggs come in 2 kilometers, 5 kilometers, and 10 kilometers. The longer you need to walk to hatch, the rarer the Pokémon that has a chance to hatch from it. You also have to get out and get moving to find those Pokestops and Gyms that are essential to progressing in the game.
Your phone or device will vibrate when a wild Pokémon is nearby. This is how it alerts you. If you don’t see any Pokémon nearby, it’s time to take a walk until you do. You can also go to the places where Pokémon love to be. They enjoy bodies of water, parks, fields, and more. Recreational areas are a hotspot for finding Pokémon.
If you find a Pokémon that you’re having a hard time catching, you can use certain items in your bag to help. Razz Berries will make the wild Pokémon happy and more likely to catch on your next throw. Great Balls and Ultra Balls (that you get once you level up) are stronger and work better on more stubborn Pokémon.
So those are the basics of Pokémon Go. All you need to do now is go out into the world and catch some wild Pokémon. As you level up, you will earn badges and also get goodies from leveling like potions and more balls. At higher levels, you get stronger balls like Great Balls and Ultra Balls. There are some other little details you’ll want to learn about such as transferring Pokémon, what to do with Stardust, and where to find rare Pokémon but we’ll get into all that in a later guide. For now, if you’re new, just get out there and get moving and try to find some Pokémon. Have fun!