By now I’m sure many of you have jumped on the Pokémon GO train. I was in middle school when Pokémon first came out. I remember coming home from school and going to my BFF’s house and we’d watch everyday. It was our little ritual. I never really continued on with Pokémon as I grew up – I don’t think I’ve ever played any of the games and until recently hadn’t seen any of the newer versions of the show. However, that hasn’t stop me from playing Pokémon GO. Not only is this game super addicting, but it’s really fun, too. This is one of those games you sort of figure out as you go along, so I wanted to share a bit on how to play as well as some Pokémon GO tips that I’ve learned while playing.
Pokémon GO Tips and How to Play
Pokémon GO Tips – Beginning the Game
Once you download and open, you will learn the very basics on what the game is about. You’ll be greeted by Professor Willow, who, if I may say so, is looking mighty fine. Here you get to select what you want your character to look like as well as the name. Make sure you like your look and your name because they cannot be changed.
After Professor Hottie chats for a minute (with essentially no instructions) you can catch your first Pokémon. The three given to you initially are Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander – basically the classic 3 minus Pikachu. You select one to catch with the Poké balls that you’re provided with. Now you can just go with one of these three, but it is possible to catch Pikachu as your first.
Tip 1: Want to have Pikachu for first Pokémon? When presented with your initial Pokémon to catch, just don’t catch them. Walk around with the game open, and eventually Pikachu will come up. Some people have said it can take close to an hour. I personally didn’t do this, but I’ve read about people who have.
Pokémon GO Tips – Playing the Game
When you begin, you’ll see a lot of the same Pokémon – Pidgey, Rattata, Weedle, etc. Catch them, and then catch even more of them. Literally, just catch them all. Even if you have duplicates of Pokémon, you can transfer them to the Professor and you will gain a candy for that Pokémon.
Tip 2: Transfer duplicate Pokémon to earn candy. Each Pokémon has it’s own candy and it is used to both power up and evolve the Pokémon. I like to keep my Pokémon with the highest CP and then transfer the lower level duplicates.
You will likely notice little rustling leaves on the screen. This usually means a Pokémon is hanging out there. There is also a little icon on the bottom right of the screen that allows you to see any nearby Pokémon. 3 footprints means they’re about 300m away, 2 footprints 200m, 1 footprint 100m and no footprints means you should get ready to catch a Pokémon.
You will also see multiple different things you can select on the screen. One is a blue cube. This is a PokéStop. When you get close enough, the cube will turn into a circle showing a picture of the location. Tip 3: Tap on the Poké Stop and then swipe the circle left or right and it will drop Poké balls, potions, eggs, and more. If you see pink hearts around a Poké Stop, that means someone has put a Lure there which will attract Pokémon to that spot. You will also see gyms, which I will get to further down.
Catching Pokémon is a bit like playing Paper Toss. You flick the ball at the Pokémon and hope it lands on it. Tip 4: Hold your finger down on the ball and wait until you see a green, yellow, or red circle around the Pokémon. When it gets to a tiny circle, that’s when you flick the ball. You can also throw curve balls to get more XP. Tip 5: Hold your finger on the ball, twirl it until your ball looks like it has little stars/tornado stuff (great description, heh) around it then flick it ever so slightly to the side. Apparently it’s easier to do both of these things with the AR turned off so the Pokémon doesn’t move around the screen, but that’s just way less fun to me.
Some Pokémon are jerks and will escape many times from your ball. Usually these are ones with a higher CP and thus they’re not into being caught. To help with this, give them treats. Tip 6: Give Razz Berry to a higher CP or evolved Pokémon to calm it down before trying to catch it. I threw farrrrrr too many balls at a 450CP Pidgeott before realizing I needed to do this.
Pokémon GO Tips – Gym Battles
As you catch more Pokémon and visit more Poké Stops, you earn points which will increase your level as a trainer. When you reach level 5, you’re asked to join a team (Team Mystic, here) and then you can have a go at some Pokémon GO gym battles. You can add your own Pokémon to a gym that your team has in order to train. You can also take over other people’s gyms (which is highly satisfying). To battle, you need to be close enough to the gym that it falls within your player’s circle.
Tip 7: To battle, you can swipe left or right to avoid an attack. To launch your attack, just tap the opponent. I like to go the fast and furious route, but I’ve always been a bit of a button masher.
One thing I didn’t know was just how many Pokémon I might be battling. I assumed the Pokémon that shows up is the highest level one you have to beat in order to take over the gym. That would be so so so wrong and a few of my Pokémon suffered for that assumption. The player and their Pokémon that comes up is the first person you must battle. Tip 8: Swipe to the left to see the following players you must beat in order to secure a gym.
Tip 9: As you attack your opponent, you will see some blue bars under your health. Once some of those bars are filled, hold your finger on the screen until 2 black bars appear on the side and let go. This is how you do your more advanced attack.
Tip 10: Once you assign a Pokémon to a gym for trainer or as the main Pokémon for the gym, you can start collecting goodies. In the “shop” section there is a shield icon at the top. Each day you can tap the shield to get coins and other items. This only works if you have a Pokémon assigned to a gym.
As I said, this game is crazy fun. I initially downloaded it for my son, but then quickly decided I needed an account of my own. Right now, the servers aren’t great. They’ve definitely improved, but there is still a lot of downtime and freezing going on. It can be frustrating, but honestly I look at it as a mandatory Pokémon GO break time. I hope you find these Pokémon GO tips useful and have fun catching them all!