Ok, so what is Pokemon Go?
If your kids have asked you to download Pokemon Go and you’re wondering what the heck they’re talking about, or maybe you’ve seen it in the app store, we’re here to answer the burning question: What is Pokemon Go?
In a nutshell, Pokemon Go is an augmented reality (AR) game that you can play on your smartphone or tablet. If that means nothing to you, don’t panic! Whereas virtual reality replaces the real world with a completely computer-simulated environment, augmented reality blends computer-generated sound, video or graphics with the real-world environment.
If you can see the world around you, with something in it that CLEARLY doesn’t belong there (like an animated caterpillar), that’s usually augmented reality (or a hallucination).
In the case of Pokemon Go, this means that features of the Pokemon universe are integrated into the real world. Which is how you can catch creatures at your desk!
A beginner’s guide to playing Pokemon Go
What is Pokemon Go exactly? The basic premise of the game is that you walk around finding and catching Pokemon (which stands for pocket monster, in case you were wondering) to add to your collection.
When you open the app you will see your avatar standing on a map. That map is actually a map of where you are in the real world, and as you walk down the real road, you will see your avatar walking down the virtual road.
When you encounter a Pokemon, it will appear on your map. When you touch it (if your AR is turned on), you will see the Pokemon appear in the environment around you, like this:
To catch the Pokemon, hold down the Pokeball at the bottom of your screen and swipe it towards the creature. You can only catch a Pokemon when there is a white circle around it.
Although it’s fun to see Pokemon on your desk or in your house, it’s much easier to catch them with the AR turned off.
When you successfully capture a Pokemon, if you’ve never caught one of those types before, it will be registered to your Pokedex. One of the aims of the game is to register all available Pokemon to your Pokedex.
Other useful things to know about when playing Pokemon Go
Pokestops: To get more Pokeballs and other essential Pokemon Go paraphenalia, you will have to visit Pokestops. When you are close to a Pokestop touch it, then swipe across the circle to see what it has for you.
Hatching eggs: Another way to get more Pokemon is by hatching eggs. To hatch an egg, touch it, place it in an incubator and then get ready to walk. Each egg will show you how much you have to walk to hatch it.
Gyms: Once you get to level 5 you can place your Pokemon in gyms to earn Pokecoins. You will probably have to battle another Pokemon to earn your place — just click on a gym you are next to and give it a try. Tap to attack and swipe to dodge.
Pokecoins: If you place a Pokemon in a gym, you will earn 10 Pokecoins and 500 stardust for each Pokemon placed, but they don’t automatically get assigned to you. To claim your coins, click on the ‘shop’ icon and touch the shield in the top right hand corner. You can only claim coins every 21 hours.
Tips for leveling up super fast in Pokemon Go
To level up, you need to gain experience. Here’s how you gain experience in Pokemon Go: catching Pokemon, hatching Pokemon from eggs, visiting Pokestops, training Pokemon in your own team’s gym, battling Pokemon in the other teams’ gyms and evolving Pokemon.
1. Clever catches
The better your catch, the more experience you get. You’ll get more experience if you land your Pokeball in the very middle of the coloured circle (the smaller the coloured circle, the more experience you get).
If you combine this with a curve ball you can more than double the amount of experience you get from catching a Pokemon. To throw a curveball, hold the Pokeball down and rotate it until you see sparkles appear around it, then throw. It can take some practice to get it right, but it’s worth it!
2. Battle with weaker Pokemon
Although you have a better chance of winning a battle if you use a stronger Pokemon, you’ll get more experience for beating a Pokemon that has a higher combat power (CP) than yours.
3. Use incubators wisely
At certain levels you will earn temporary incubators (you can also buy these from the shop with Pokecoins). Temporary incubators can only be used 3 times, so it makes more sense to use them on eggs that take longer to hatch.
4. Lucky eggs
When you use a lucky egg you earn double the experience you would usually, so don’t waste them! Most people like to save their lucky eggs until they have a decent number of Pokemon to evolve, and then use a lucky egg while evolving. This is a great way to level up fast!
Incense attracts Pokemon to you. The best way to use it is while you walk.
6. Evolving wisely
When you catch and hatch Pokemon you get experience, stardust and candy. You need a certain number of candies to evolve a Pokemon into a new form and different Pokemon require different numbers of candies to be evolved. Because you always get the same amount of experience when you evolve a Pokemon, it makes sense to do as many evolutions as you can with your candies.
For instance, if you have 62 Pidgey candies, you could evolve 5 Pidgeys into 5 Pidgeottos (using 60 candies to get 2500 experience points) or you could evolve 1 Pidgey into 1 Pidgeotto and then evolve that Pidgeotto into a Pidgeot (using 62 candies to get 1000 experience points).
If all this seems confusing, don’t worry! Now that we’ve answered all your ‘What is Pokemon Go’ questions you’ll get the hang of it as you play. Just remember to have fun and stay safe.