[GameSpot]Pokemon Go: 18 Essential Tips and Tricks

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How to Pokemon Go


Pokemon Go has enthralled the hearts of fans, encouraging them to explore their surroundings to capture Pokemon. There are many strategies to consider as you play, but the app doesn't make it readily apparent how to engage some of its concepts. To help enhance your experience, we've compiled some of the most essential tips and tricks needed to understand and better play Pokemon Go.

Travel Tips


Depending on where you live, the difficulty of finding Pokemon and PokeStops varies. Cities yield an assortment of Pokemon and PokeStops, while more suburban or rural areas contain lesser. To better find Pokemon and PokeStops, travel to locations where there are community parks, art, landmarks, and buildings.

World Map


The world map shows PokeStops, Gyms, and wild Pokemon near the player. Rustling leaves in an area indicate where Pokemon are roaming. If players enter this area, wild Pokemon should start turning up after a few minutes. Note that Pokemon can still show up outside of these areas.

If a PokeStop is raining pink petals, it means someone has used a Lure Module, which increases the frequency of wild Pokemon appearing near that particular stop. Stay close to a PokeStop if you want to get the most out of its Lure; even better, get between two overlapping PokeStops with Lures on them for a greatly increased rate of wild Pokemon showing up.

Tracking Nearby Pokemon


The graphic in the bottom right area of the screen indicates some of the types of Pokemon nearby, with the number of footsteps indicative of how far away they are from you. To track a Pokemon, tap the bar to bring up the full list, select a specific Pokemon to highlight it, and then start walking. The footsteps will either decrease, or increase until the Pokemon disappears completely. If the number of steps decreases, it means the Pokemon is getting closer. This method can be used to track a Pokemon until it appears.

If you walk in a direction and more steps appear, try turning around and walking in another direction until the Pokemon gets closer. When the Pokemon is down to zero steps, it means it's very close to you! Simply select it, and wait a few seconds for it to appear. You'll also notice pulses that emit as you explore the map. They indicate when major changes have occurred in the availability of the area's Pokemon.

Need More Poke Balls?


If you ever find yourself low on Poke Balls, it's good to know that PokeStops refresh their stock every five minutes. This is a good way to farm Poke Balls if you find yourself stuck to one location or aren't willing to walk to other PokeStops.



The item bag has a limit, so be sure to keep an eye on the inventory before swiping on a PokeStop, lest you waste precious items. Always keep Poke Balls on you. If you're running out of space, try throwing out some potions or revives if you're not battling often. You can use Poke Coins to buy more bag space. Poke Coins can be purchased with real-world money, or earned through having a Pokemon defend a Gym.

Catching Pokemon


When engaging a Pokemon in battle, throwing the ball at the inner circle when it's at its smallest is the best way to go. The colour of the inner circle indicates how hard a Pokemon is to capture. Green is the easiest, orange is harder, and red is the hardest to catch. Razz Berries can be fed to the Pokemon to lower the difficulty for the next catch. If the Pokemon breaks free, you'll have to feed it another Razz Berry to lower it again.

Once a Poke Ball has been thrown, it cannot be picked up again. If a Poke Ball throw hits the inside of the color circle an experience bonus is granted, depending on the size of the circle. You receive 100 XP for Excellent throws (Small), 50 XP for Great (Half), and 10 XP for Nice (Full). You can also spin a Poke Ball around in circles quickly and toss it, which activates a curveball bonus if the throw lands.

Take the time to throw the ball properly; a Pokemon engaged in battle will not run away based on time. What triggers the run-away is the act of breaking out of a Poke Ball. Bringing up the item bag cannot interrupt runaways.

Turn off AR Mode for Easier Capture


While Pokemon Go's Augmented Reality mode is an attractive feature, it actually makes catching Pokemon more difficult. Turning off AR centers the Pokemon on screen, making it easier to judge the distance you need to throw your Poke Ball to catch it. AR mode can be disabled via the toggle on the top right of the battle screen.

Evolving Pokemon


When a wild Pokemon is caught, it also adds two things to the inventory: Stardust and Candy. Candy is specific to the earliest evolution stage of a Pokemon species. For example, catching a Pidgey gives Pidgey Candy, and catching a Pidgeotto also gives Pidgey Candy. A Pokemon can also be "transferred" (i.e. sold forever) to Professor Willow for one candy.

Pokemon require an amount of their specific Candy type to evolve. The amount of Candy needed varies, but basically if you want to evolve a Pokemon, catch more of it to build up that Candy collection! Candy can also be used to strengthen a Pokemon by raising its Combat Power. This stat dictates how a Pokemon performs in battle. Evolution also raises the CP levels and CP cap of a Pokemon.

Transfer Your Duplicates


While it might not seem like it at first, having duplicate Pokemon can actually help you. Extra Pokemon of the same type can be traded to Professor Willow for candy, which can be used to evolve your Pokemon. To do this, tap a Pokemon that you want to get rid of in the Pokemon screen and hit 'Transfer' option at the bottom of the screen. Be wary; make sure you don't transfer the most powerful version (highest CP) of a given Pokemon type in your rush to get rid of your duplicates.

How to Get Pikachu Early


While Pikachu is an iconic Pokemon, it's surprisingly difficult to find it in Pokemon Go. However, there's a trick that allows you to obtain a Pikachu as your starter. To do so, start a new game and get to the point where Professor Willow allows you to catch Charmander, Squirtle, or Bulbasaur as your starting Pokemon. Instead of catching any of these, walk away (in real life) until your phone vibrates and the starters reappear. Repeat this process multiple times until a Pikachu spawns in place of the three starters.

When to Use Incense


Incense is one of the various items you can use in Pokemon Go; it increases the sightings of Pokemon around your character for 30 minutes. While it's primarily used to attract Pokemon to your location when you're unable to explore, it actually works best when you move, as doing so results in a larger number of Pokemon encounters. In addition, utilizing it near patches of grass on the game map also increases the Pokemon spawn rate.

How to Hatch an Egg


As you encounter PokeStops, you'll often be rewarded with Pokemon Eggs. These eggs contain a random Pokemon with more Candy and Stardust than what you'd normally get if you caught it in the wild. Pokemon eggs can be found on the second tab of your Pokemon roster page; you'll notice each egg lists a specific walking distance that must be travelled before it hatches. To start the process of hatching an egg, simply choose one, select 'Start Incubation,' and choose which Incubator you wish to use. Then all you need to do is to start walking the required distance while the app is open to hatch the egg. It's worth noting that an Incubator can only house one egg at a time, so if you want to incubate more than one, you'll need additional Incubators, which can be bought at the Shop or gained through levelling up.

If you want to accelerate the process, riding a bike in real life is a great way to quickly rack up the required kilometers. Be wary; driving your car does not have the same effect, as any speed beyond 15 mph isn't tracked by the app.

How Gyms Work


When you reach level five, Professor Willow introduces you to gyms and the option to choose your affiliation--Instinct, Mystic, or Valor. There is one of three scenarios that may appear when you are close enough and can tap on a Pokemon Gym. Either the Gym is unclaimed (white), owned by a rival team, or owned by your own chosen team.

If you interact with a gym representing your team, you can either train your Pokemon for XP by battling others or store them there for bonus Poke Coins and Stardust, which can be claimed once every 21 hours. However, when you encounter an opposing team's gym, you can only do battle with its Pokemon. If you defeat its entire roster, you'll take a large amount of Prestige Points away from that gym. High-level gyms with a large amount of Prestige Points may need to be defeated multiple times before they can be claimed.

The Gym Is Unclaimed


If the Gym is white, it means it is unclaimed. Go and get it! You can then choose which Pokemon you'd like to leave to guard it. You'll want something strong, as other trainers will challenge it. If a trainer from a rival faction defeats it, they will be able to claim the Gym for themselves. Be wary that if you want to continue battling other Gyms, it's a good idea not to leave your only strong Pokemon in a Gym.

Don't Forget to Strengthen Your Team's Gyms


While it can be entertaining, try not to get too caught up taking over the gyms of rival teams. Rather, make sure to strengthen your own team's gyms by choosing the 'Train' option. This allows you to battle Pokemon that are stored at a gym by your allies. Doing this raises a gym's Prestige Points, which increases the number of Pokemon that can be stored there, thus making it more challenging for rival teams to take it. In addition, training raises your XP, regardless of whether you win or lose, so long as you defeat at least one Pokemon, and Pokemon won't won't need to be revived if they're defeated by a friendly trainer.

Dealing With Rival Gyms


Prepare to go to war. You can tap in and scroll right to see what lineup of Pokemon the gym has defending it. Battles will start with the lowest-CP Pokemon in that Gym, before moving on the next strongest. Like in the original games, Pokemon elemental types should be considered--water beats fire, fire beats grass, grass beats water, etc.

To engage in combat, the player can repeatedly tap the screen to perform basic attacks, which builds up a special meter underneath the health bar. Different types of special moves have different amounts of meter, which can be saved. Each Pokemon has different basic and special attacks. When the meter is full, pressing and holding the screen can unleash a special attack. Swiping left or right can dodge special attacks. This can usually be timed by observing when the screen flashes yellow and the Pokemon rears up, indicating an incoming attack, but we would suggest focusing on belting out as many attacks as possible instead of wasting precious seconds to dodge.

You can also attack a Gym with members of your same team--the defending Pokemon will take damage from all attackers at once. Teaming up with more people will definitely help with getting a Gym's Prestige Points down faster!

Defeating at least one Pokemon in the gym will lower the amount of prestige points the Gym has, which will eventually lower its level, meaning that less Pokemon will be able to defend it. Once all Pokemon are kicked out, it will be ready to be claimed by the victor's faction. From there, you can place a Pokemon in there to defend it, and train at it to raise its prestige and Gym level. If a rival faction takes your Gym away, feel free to get right back in there and fight to reclaim it.

How to Save Battery Power


As you've noticed from playing Pokemon Go, it quickly drains your battery. To prolong your battery life, we recommend buying a battery pack for your phone. However, if that's not an option, you can also turn on the app's Battery Save mode, which you can switch on in the settings screen. However, this mode just fades your screen to black when not in use, though it may be helpful if you're just walking to hatch eggs.

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