Pokemon Go guide
As soon as Nintendo announced it was working on smartphone-based games with its official first-party properties, only one word was floating in the minds of Ninty fans – Pokémon.
The 21-year-old franchise helped make the firm’s handhelds true global successes, so what’s to stop it going supernova on smartphones? The answer? Absolutely nada. Pokémon Go hasn’t even been rolled out internationally yet and Nintendo is already struggling to deal with the sheer influx of users.
The whole world wants to catch ’em all in this addictive augmented reality app, so to get you ahead of the game we’ve got ten tips to transform your dog and bone into a veritable Poké portal.
1. Rustling leaves equal wild Pokemon
Pokémon Go utilises augmented reality, but that doesn’t mean you’ll constantly be gazing into the world through your smartphone’s camera. In fact, a great deal of the game is spent traversing a virtual map of the area you’re currently inhabiting.
Since the aim of Pokémon Go is to collect Pokémon and train them into new evolutions, you’ll need to hunt them down out in the wild. The best visual sign that one is nearby are plumes of leaves rustling on the map. Approach these random events to try and catch it. Remember, different areas will house different types, so be sure to vary your location.
2. Master the art of capture
When you do decide to throw down with a wild Pokémon, there’s just the small matter of actually bagging said creature and adding it to your growing roster.
Rather than battling a wild one as you would in a regular Pokémon game, Pokémon Go instead uses a special ‘Capture’ mode. The virtual world is swapped for the real one as your camera jumps into AR.
Focus your camera on the Pokémon in question and the white ring you use as a pointer will change size and colour – the smaller the ring, the more likely you’ll be to capture the Pokémon.
Before you throw a Pokéball, check the colour the ring changes to – green equals easy, yellow equals moderate and red equals tough. Know these colours and you’ll be on your way to mastering Pokémon Go.
3. Catch Pokemon by dropping the AR camera
Augmented reality might make for some pretty hilarious screenshots, but did you know using that particular feat makes catching Pokémon in Pokémon Go noticeably harder?
If you want to increase your chances of those Pokéball throws paying off (and avoid paying for expensive Master Pokéballs), then hit the button on the top-right of your screen that says ‘AR’ during Capture mode.
This will switch off your camera and take you back into the virtual Pokeworld. It certainly doesn’t look as cool as seeing a Pokémon in your local park or on the beach, but it will improve catch rates.
4. Don’t be afraid to have doubles
Since the appearance of Pokémon is totally randomised in Pokémon Go (with factors such as time of day, location type and nearby landmarks all making a difference), there’s a good chance you’ll have the opportunity to catch more than one creature of the same type.
Naturally, you might be inclined to avoid wasting a Pokéball, but having duplicates has its uses. Extra Pokémon can be traded to Professor Willow for candy, which helps increase the stats of your best Pokémon and even helps them evolve. To do this, click the Pokéball icon, select ‘Pokémon’ and hit ‘Transfer’ by the Pokémon you want to drop.
5. Spend your Pokecoins on lures and incense
Pokémon Go being a free-to-play game means there are plenty of microtransactions in place to help you fill up on items with real world cash. And whether your increase your balance with actual dollar or the defence of gyms (more on that in the steps ahead), it’s how you spend that moolah that makes all the difference.
Your first thought might be to stock up on that iconic commodity – the good ol’ Pokéball – but the game actually provides you with plenty of free ones. If you visit every PokéStop on your journey, they should drop them pretty regularly. Now spend those coins on far rarer items such as incense to lures.
6. Use incense to get Pokémon when not moving
Unless you’re hoping to jack in your job and take up Pokémon hunting full time, there are times where you’ll have to stop walking around gazing into your smartphone for rustling leaves, PokéStops and other important landmarks.
When you’re stuck at your desk or at home, you’ll need to use lures to attract Pokémon to you. Pokémon Go uses items such as incense to do this and they’ll prove some of the most important gear in your virtual backpack. Simply hit the Pokéball at the bottom of the screen, tap ‘Items’ and select ‘Incense’ to draw those creatures in – a purple ring around your avatar will show you it’s in effect.
7. Don’t just win gyms – defend them
When you reach level five, the real Pokémon Go begins. Now you’re at a high enough level you can begin earning in-game cash by joining one of three teams (Valor, Mystic or Instinct) and capturing or defending gyms.
Other trainers will leave some of their best Pokémon behind to defend them and you’ll need to enter Combat mode to claim the territory as your own. Once you’ve won them back, don’t forget about them like you would in a regular Pokémon game. Head back to conquered ones every day for a coin bonus, and earn even more by leaving some of your levelled up Pokémon to defend them.
8. PokeStops equal prizes
PokéStops are Pokémon Go’s way of turning special landmarks in your town or city into interactive events. Visiting these special points of interest will drop random loot, including Eggs for hatching new Pokémon (see our next step for Egg hatching tips), Pokéballs for catching new ones and Potions or Revives for healing your Pokémon while in Combat mode.
Be sure to visit these PokéStops everyday if in the same area, or open the app in new areas to reap the rewards of travel. To use one, walk up close to it, tap the blue icon then swipe it to make it spin. All your randomised loot will then appear.
9. Hatch Eggs by keeping the app open
Here’s a handy Pokémon Go tip: much like any other Pokémon game, hatching Eggs for new Pokémon is still a thing – only this time you need to monitor said Egg like a Tamagotchi to expedite the process.
Hatching rates are based on how many miles or kilometres you’ve walked with the app open – and until the special Pokémon Go wearable is released over here this is the only way to rack up that mileage.
To check the progress of your Poké ovum, tap the Pokéball, then select the Eggs menu from the list. The Pokémon that’s born out of each egg is also randomised, so don’t get too disappointed if you get any doubles.
10. Buy a battery pack. No, seriously
If you’ve read any of the coverage Pokémon Go has received recently, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the app is a real battery killer. Since it requires you to always have it open, while accessing Wi-Fi, GPS, your camera and more, the Nintendo app will suck even the newest of batteries down to the marrow in less than half an hour.
Nintendo says it’s working on a solution, but in the meantime you’ll need to find alternative means. For a start, you might watch to switch off the AR component permanently and invest in a portable power pack.