Let’s start with the basics.
When you boot up Pokémon Go you’ll be asked to sign in either with Google or your Pokémon Trainer Club account. If you’re serious about catching pokémon, it’s worth signing up to the Trainer Club if you haven’t already. Make sure you opt in to the newsletter – it often contains redeemable codes for in-game bonuses. You can’t link the two accounts, so make sure you’re happy with your log in settings before you start the game.
After meeting Professor Willow, you’ll get to choose your trainer. After giving them a name, you can customise their appearance using the different variations of skin tones, eye and hair colour, clothes, and accessories.
Professor Willow will set you up with a starter pokémon, but he won’t just hand one over. You’ll be introduced to the mechanics when a Squirtle, Charmander, and Bulbasaur appear on the map. Tap your desired starter and follow the instructions on the screen to catch it. Bob’s your uncle! You’ve got your first pokémon.
If you’d prefer to start out with the series’ mascot Pikachu, you’re in luck, although it’ll involve going for a little walkabout.
Ignore the three pokémon and walk away from them. As you get out of range of them, they’ll eventually respawn close by. Rebuff them again, and repeat the process until Pikachu spawns alongside them. The electric rat is yours for the taking.
This is fairly straightforward. Just swipe your screen to lob the poké ball at the pokémon.
You’ll see two values above its head – HP and CP. HP is the pokémon’s hit points/ health, and CP represents the combat points which is basically how strong it is.
When you spot a wild pokémon, the capture ring around it will indicate how tricky it is to catch. Green is the easiest, then orange, and red. To maximise the chances of successfully catching the pokémon, tap and hold the poké ball and you’ll see that the capture ring will start shrinking. Time your throw so that you hit the pokémon when the ring is at its smallest, or as close as you can get. Get your practice in on the green pokémon, because you’ll need to hone that skill for the orange and red ones.
If you’re faced with a tough pokémon, switch poké balls and use berries to make catching them easier, and you’ll see the colour of the capture ring change. If you see any pokémon out in the wild with question marks where the CP value usually is, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to nab them as they’ll be too powerful. You might want to save your items and time by skidaddling.
You can check out the pokémon that are nearby by tapping the bar at the bottom right of the map screen. The pokémon are arranged to indicate their proximity to you, so the one in the first slot will be closer to you than the one in the ninth slot. The order of the list will change as you move around and different pokémon will be hanging around
Need more Pokemon Go help?
- Pokemon Go: how to earn XP, level up, join gym teams and more
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- Check out these cool Pokemon Go accessories from our friends at Jelly Deals.
Tap on the pokémon you want to track down and look for the footprints on the map. The footprints act as barometer of how far away it is. The more prints, the further away you are.
Pokémon won’t hang around the same spot forever, and some of the rarer ones will try to scarper when you try to catch them, so be sure to act quickly once the chase is on.
Once you’ve caught your pokémon, you can view their stats and abilities in the pokémon section, after touching the poké ball icon on the map.
A pokémon will have either one or two types, a basic/ quick attack, and a special/ charge attack. You can scroll down to take a look at these. The move themselves also fall into types as with other pokémon games.
You can choose how to organise them by tapping the icon at the bottom right of the pokémon screen.
It’s not possible to trade Pokémon right now, but this feature might be introduced in time.