Pokemon GO has already begun to spread like a virus, encouraging gamers young and old to get outside, socialise, and try to catch Pokemon in the real world. Disgusting.
The requirement of leaving the safety of your sofa aside, Pokemon GO is genuinely a lot of fun – my only real problem with the game is that it doesn’t really explain how to do anything, which is kind of an issue considering that it plays nothing like classic Pokemon.
Here then, are a few tips and tricks to get you started on your adventure.
Duplicate Pokemon Are Your Friends
It might be a pain in the arse turning on Pokemon GO only to come face to face with the tenth Weedle that day, but it’s always worth catching a Pokemon, even in you’ve already got ten of the same one.
Not only does catching a monster reward you with a bit of precious EXP and Stardust every time, duplicates can then be transferred for specific candy. Collect enough candy for a certain Pokemon, and you’ll eventually be able to evolve them.
Today’s Weedle is tomorrow’s Beedrill my friends – just be sure to keep the Pokemon with the highest CP and transfer the weaker duplicates.
Chances are you might dive into Pokemon GO with no idea what the hell CP actually is because it’s never explained. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to work out, but here’s a quick refresher just in case…
CP stands for Combat Power, and it’s nothing like any stats we’re used to in regular Pokemon games. Whereas we usually have attack, defence, speed, and so on – the CP of a Pokemon is essentially a singular stat that indicates its power.
In short, CP should govern most of your decisions when working out which Pokemon to use, but there’s a limit, as indicated by the half-circle above your Pokemon in the stat screen.
To raise the CP limit (which differs depending on the Pokemon) you’ll need to evolve your ‘mon. That’s where the first tip comes back in. See how we’ve gone full circle already?
Oh, and your player’s overall level raises the limit on how high a random encounter Pokemon’s CP can be. Remember that.
Time To See The World
So developer Niantic really wants you to explore. Whenever you load up Pokemon GO to check if there are any cheeky monsters hiding around, you may have noticed the little paw icon underneath nearby Pokemon.
Each paw indicates 100 metres, so you have a good indication of how far you’ll actually need to go to try and find that Eevee that’s taunting you from afar (and more importantly, whether or not you’ll need to put your shoes on and go outside).
Unfortunately, there will be certain Pokemon you simply won’t be able to catch in your local area – possibly even your country, so if you’ve been wondering why walking around your neighbourhood has only offered up the same twenty Pokemon, that’s why.
Don’t buy a ferry ticket across the Channel just yet though, as Niantic is working on a feature that allows us to trade Pokemon with other players. Explore as much and as far you possibly can of course – that’s the point – but don’t worry if you’ve been struggling to find your favourite.
Weather can also have an effect on the types of Pokemon you come across, so be sure to take a peek around places you’ve already been if the weather changes much.
Hit The Gym
So when you hit level five, you’ll be asked to choose a team; Valour, Mystic, or Instinct. Whichever team you choose, you’ll then represent in gym battles which – one again – work nothing like classic Pokemon games.
Think of gyms in Pokemon GO as a King of the Hill style game (kind of). A gym can only be controlled by one team, which will be indicated by the gym’s colour on the map (the Pokemon spinning above are the one’s guarding it).
To take over a gym, you need to lower its Prestige to zero, which is only possible by defeating its Pokemon. Obviously, the higher the gym’s prestige is, the harder it’ll be for you. You might also want to consider your opponent’s CP.
You can use up to six Pokemon when fighting at an enemy gym, but be careful – upon winning you’re allowed to choose one of your team to guard the newly conquered gym, but it can’t be a Pokemon you fought with, so don’t just throw in all of you best Pokemon for the gym battle – plan for the future. A strong guardian might put off potential attackers.
As for making sure your team’s gym is as hard to beat as possible, simply train your Pokemon there. You’re only allowed to use one of your Pokemon when training at your own team’s gym, but success here helps to increase that all important Prestige.
Each Prestige level allows you to add one more Pokemon Trainer to the gym. Once you occupy a gym, you can earn PokeCoins, which can then be used to buy items such as Pokeballs and potions from the store.
So that’s pretty much all the big stuff for now. No doubt much cleverer folk than I will come along soon and find new, more productive ways to play and battle.
Till then, make sure your shoelaces are tied, don’t try to catch a Bulbasaur if it’s in the middle of the road, and don’t listen to strangers who say they have a Mew in their van.
Follow all these tips, and you should have a blast with Pokemon GO – unless you hate Pokemon, then there’s nothing I can do for you.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.