If you own a smartphone, there is a good chance you have at the very least heard of Pokemon GO. In a perhaps unsurprising turn of events, a well constructed Augmented Reality game, based on a cult Nintendo Pokemon series, turned out to be a massive hit. Pokemon GO has been downloaded more times in the first week than any other app, and it has taken only 19 days to hit 50 million worldwide downloads, despite initial teething problems.
So, why play? Well, obviously game is fun, otherwise there would be very little appeal. Pokemon GO has rebooted the Pokemon series and brought it into the age of augmented reality and smartphones.
Despite real money element to the game, it is important to stress that you do not have to spend any money to do well in the game.
Game is well balanced and there is always something to do, and best of all, you can do it whilst out and about. In fact, game very much encourages you to leave the house, walk and exercise, which is one of many reasons parents had very little reason to stop kids from playing it.
How does it work?
You may have heard people discussing eggs, Poke Stops, Gyms and evolutions, so let us guide you through it one by one.
Firstly, what are Pokemon?
Pokemon are creatures of various shapes and sizes, that live in the wild alongside the humans. When captured, they can be trained by humans (and that means you too!).
They have some basic attributes, such as CP (Combat Power), HP, and type. Note that your Pokemon can be a particular type (such as Water, or Bug), but it’s attack can be something completely different (such as Steel or Ground).
Some can be evolved into stronger types, whilst others have no evolution path.
Each type is advantageous over another and there a Pokemon Type charts published by community. One that we like is done by good folks at The Silph Road
OK, bunch of critters are out in a wild, what now?
Well, as a Pokemon trainer, it’s your job to catch ‘em all. With each one you catch, you will get bonus points if they are a Pokemon you don’t have, and they will be registered in your Pokedex (an album if you wish that catalogues all Pokemons).
You will notice that water types often can be found near water for instance (useful for Magikarp!), and likewise for other types.
On your map, you will also see a bunch of Pokestops and Gyms. Whenever you are near a Pokestop, tap it to open it up, and flick the picture to the side to make it spin. You will earn some XP as well some items. Items that you get from Pokestops include healing potions, Poke Balls and Razz Berrys.
Gyms are where the PvP aspect of the game happens. You will choose one of the teams when you reach level 5. This has no impact on the game as such, it basically adds flavour to the game. Everyone who is on the same team however, can cooperate when it comes to gyms.
If you have one of your Pokemon at the gym, you should go into the shop screen and tap the defender icon in the top right (green icon with white shield). This will reward you with 10 Pokecoins and 500 Stardust. Both welcome and useful items for later on.
If your team owns a gym and you can’t join it, you can still fight Pokemon in the gym (even your own one!), which will allow you to level up the gym. With each gym level, you can place another Pokemon in it, making it harder for opposing team to take over.
Eggs and Incubators
When you open your inventory, if you swipe left, you will see a screen where you can have up to 9 eggs. You are also equipped with a single permanent incubator. You can earn and also buy 3-use incubators from the shop, which you can then run concurrently.
You will also see up to 9 eggs in that place, which as mentioned drop from Pokestops.
Eggs come in three varieties - 2km, 5km and 10km eggs - refering to how far you need to walk to hatch them. Longer you have to walk, better, stronger, Pokemon you are likely to get. Don’t forget though, that if you are a Pikachu fan, they hatch in 2km eggs!
There are plenty of people that are happy to spend real money on Pokecoins. Some purists will pour scorn on pay to win aspect of the games, however, without real money and income for the game makers, there would obviously be no game.
Your earned Poke Coins or the ones you bought for real money, can be spent in the shop. Popular purchases are Lucky Eggs that double up your XP, Incubators as mentioned, but also upgrades to capacity for Pokemon and item storage. Finally, you can buy lures that can be placed into a stop to attract nearby Pokemon for 30 minutes, or incense, which is like a portable lure that will attract Pokemon to you, so you don’t have to be tied to a single spot.
That is about it for the very basics. If you are a grandfather to Pokemon GO obsessed child, this should at least sort your Pokeballs from Pokestops and perhaps even encourage you to go on a Pokewalk with your family. Game has been made to be accessible, simple yet engaging and appealing to all age groups.
Take a look at our How to Level quickly in Pokemon Go guide for more info.