Want to Be The Very Best? Here’s How to Master Pokemon GO

by Madeleine Borgersen

Pokemon (yep the same little monsters that define the 90s) are back. The new Pokemon GO game for iPhone and Android is one of the first to use augmented reality (AR) bringing these little monsters to your back yard.

How to Master Pokemon GO

Pokemon GO brings the 90s game back, but now you need to get off of the couch.

With the game boasting more users than Tinder already (it’s been out for 5 days), it’s clear everyone is playing it. So how can you be the absolute Pokemon GO Master? Here’s a few tips and tricks if you’re wanting to join in the fun.

Getting Started

When you install the app (search for Pokemon GO in your phone’s app store) you’ll first create your own avatar or user. You can choose a username, change the clothes and choose your first Pokemon, similar to the original 90s games.

Tip! Don’t want a basic Bulbasaur, Squirtle or Charmander? Just walk away from them three times (yeah you really need to show them that you’re not keen) and you’ll then be offered a Pikachu to choose from too!

Next you’ll want to suss out your screen options. The avatar at the moment shows you all the information on your user. Your level, achievements and so on. The Poke Ball at the bottom leads you to your Pokedex, your caught Pokemon and your Items as well as a shop where you can use Poke Coins (earned or bought) to buy extra stash.

There’s also the settings where you’ll want to go to turn off things like the music, sound effects and turn on Battery Saver mode (Pokemon GO doesn’t work at all if the app isn’t open, so this is a godsend).

How to Master Pokemon GO

You can use Augmented Reality (AR) mode to view Pokemon in your surroundings.

Catching Pokemon

The whole premise of the game is to catch Pokemon. The game has started with a Pokedex (a library of different Pokemon) of 135 so there’s plenty to look for. You’ll first catch your starter Pokemon by tapping it on the screen.

It will then zoom in and you can either view it on an animated background or switch to AR mode and have the Pokemon appear in your very surroundings.

If you’re wondering what’s around you you’ll see a few little icons in the bottom right of your screen. Tap it and you’ll see a grid of nearby Pokemon. One paw print means it’s around 100 metres from you, two, 200 and three, 300.

Tip! To make it easier to catch a Pokemon hold down on the Pokeball at the bottom of the screen. A white ring will appear around the Pokemon and a coloured ring inside that will contract and expand. Flick the Pokeball with your finger when the coloured ring is at it’s smallest for your best chance at capturing that little critter.

Keeping Your Stash Full

Worried you’ll run out of Pokeballs? You can restock your bag for free by visiting Poke Stops as you play. Usually found at landmarks like churches, community halls and even art installations when close the blue cube will spin into a disc which you can tap. Swipe the circular image to the left or right and items will fall out.

Tip! You don’t have to tap all of the item bubbles to collect each item. Hitting the ‘x’ will automagically pop all the available items in your items case leaving you free to continue playing.

How to Master Pokemon GO

Catching, hatching or evolving a new Pokemon fills your Pokedex.

Filling Your Pokedex

Once you’ve got the hang of catching Pokemon you’ll want to start looking for more types. High population areas are great for finding plenty of Pokemon at all times of day but for those that are a bit rarer think like a Pokemon would think. Water types are usually found near water – beaches, pools and baths (heck I found a Wartortle at my local car wash!)

Some Pokemon are more likely to come out at night like Ghost and Fairy types and fighting types can often be captured on your next visit to the gym.

Pokemon can also be collected in the form of eggs. You’ll collect eggs along your journey and can pop them in an incubator by clicking on the Pokeball at the bottom of the main screen, tapping Pokemon and sliding left to show your eggs. Tap an egg and select to use an incubator (you have one that can be used unlimited times and can gain more limited use incubators on your journey). Then it’s time to walk! Eggs can have a 2km, 5km or 10km incubation time which means you need to walk that distance with it in an incubator before it will hatch. The bigger the k’s the rarer the Pokemon.

The last way you can add new Pokemon to your Pokedex is by evolving. Each Pokemon species has their own type of Candy. When you tap on a Pokemon you’ve caught you’ll see an option to evolve when you have collected enough candies. You can do this by capturing more of that type of Pokemon and then transferring the dupes back to Professor Willow.

Tip! Always keep your incubators full to make the most of your walks to work.

How to Master Pokemon GO

Gym’s can be claimed and protected by each team. Battle your Pokemon here for experience or add a Pokemon to an empty gym to earn PokeCoins.

Proving You’re The Best

You might be thinking, ‘Is that it?’ well other than capturing the little, animated monsters (you’ll be surprised how excited you are when you catch your first Clefairy), you can also battle them to gain prestige, Poke Coins and experience for your Pokemon.

When you reach Level 5 you’ll be prompted to choose a team. Once you select a team you’ll probably notice gyms around the place that are coloured either blue, yellow or red. If you find one that matches your team head to it and check if there is room to add one of your Pokemon to stay and battle to protect that gym. This will earn you money and help that Pokemon grow.

If it’s a different team’s gym you can try and claim it for your own team by battling the Pokemon currently there to protect it.

Claiming isn’t as easy as winning one battle however, you may have to fight the same Pokemon a few times as you bring down that gym’s Prestige before the gym turns white/grey and you can then claim it for your own colour.

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