Before we get into things here’s a quick trick for getting the Pokemon you want as one of your starter choices – even Pikachu can be nabbed this way if you’re patient 🙂 When you first create an account and sign into the game you’ll have 3 Pokemon appear around you, instead of catching one right away go for a walk and new Pokemon will appear – after walking far enough to have the sets change 4-5 times a Pikachu appeared for us.
It’s quite the phenomenon really, people around the world are out strolling the streets, walking through parks and discovering new places that they didn’t even know existed a couple of days ago – all this because of the new Pokemon Go smartphone game that has just released.
The game is location based and uses the GPS on your smartphone to put you into the world of Pokemon, because of this you’ll explore the real world as well.
When you first play Pokemon GO, you’ll get to customise the look of your Trainer by choosing apparel and accessories to give him or her a unique appearance, this custom character represents you as you travel around on the virtual game map. This map seems to have all the streets, alley ways, parks and landmarks that appear in the real world with certain locations marked as Pokestops where you can restock supplies – and it’s because of these in particular that such great real world discovery is happening. You see, the Pokestops all include a photograph and it’s usually of something neat to check out in that specific area – as we went for a quick wander down the road we approached the local train station but the Pokestop wasn’t just a picture of that, it alerted us to a very nice mural we hadn’t seen before 🙂
You can also catch wild Pokemon while on your journey and if you want to be a little more incognito while you do this there is an option top right to turn the augmented reality off which stops you from having to look around and puts a nice background in its place. You’ll notice a circle appears around a Pokemon when you are trying to catch it, this is usually green indicating an easy catch but if you spot a yellow or red circle it’s a safe bet you’re in for a challenge to catch it. Sometimes on the harder catches you’ll also have to contend with wind, the best way to deal with this is to put a little spin on the pokeball which we talk about more below.
From these Pokestops you have a chance to find Pokemon eggs as well, once you’ve got one head into your items and put it in the incubator. You’ll now have to walk a set distance in order to hatch it and this varies between eggs (no, you can’t just drive it :P).
Once you’ve collected some Pokemon you can increase their power by feeding them stardust and candy, stardust is accrued as you do things in game (like capturing 10 bug type pokemon) and candy is obtained by sending pokemon you’ve captured to the professor – so catching the same pokemon type multiple times is beneficial for leveling up the one you decide to keep. Progress and limit for upgrades is indicated by the white half circle above your pokemon, it slowly fills in as you continue to feed the pokemon.
Each Pokemon you acquire could be slightly different in terms of HP or special moves so keep catching them to ensure they are the very best! There are also different size stats such as XL and XS for weight plus a height stat which are important with the achievements part of the game, if you catch 3 XL Magikarps you’ll get a medal and there are undoubtedly more we will discover along the way. If you’re finding a Pokemon is tough to catch and keeps escaping from your Pokeball we found adding a little spin to the shot seems to help, to do this draw little circles with the Pokeball before you throw it, you’ll see a new animation and stars will appear when it’s time to release – but be prepared as your shot will now have a little curve to it!
Actual battles are possible at the Pokemon Gym which you’ll also discover as you travel around on the map, once you hit level 5 you’ll be asked to choose a team colour and once you’ve chosen you’ll be able to fight for gym control. Even if you’re not in range of a Gym for battles you can still check out the power levels for the Pokemon guarding it and see if it’s worth the trip down to fight 🙂 If you or others from your team already control a gym you will still be able to battle it – even versus your own pokemon that you just left to guard it. Hurt Pokemon can be healed via potions which can be found at PokeStops and are held in your items bag. In your travels you’ll likely encounter gym with several Pokemon guarding it, the best way to take these tough ones on is with a group of your own – to enter a gym battle with you team mates simply wait on the gym pokemon selection menu until your team is ready to go, then all push GO at once! When in the fight you’ll now see a little number up top left indicating how many teammates are in the fight with you (as you fight you can see all the pokemon as well). If a gym is guarded by several Pokemon you’ll have to attack and win several times to take control of it, when you finally get it down to just one defender and win each player in the team now gets the chance to place a pokemon in defence, once you control a gym you can collect 10 gold coins (yes, the very same coins you can buy with your credit card!) and these bonuses can be collected every 21 hours via a collect button which is top right inside the pokemon shop.
Pokemon GO and battery life! While there are a few important specs for use listed in the apps description on the Google Play Store once you’re up and running a new challenge appears – battery life! The game is optimised for smartphones not tablets, so the hunt for the best smartphone for Pokemon Go was pretty much a hunt for the biggest battery. No matter what phone you’re running though having a portable phone charging powerbank is a definite must have for any long mission, and we’ve found after a weekend of testing the Asus one is the very best 😛