Pokémon is back! And it’s taking the world by storm (though it hasn’t even seen a global release yet). In 5 days, it has more players than Tinder has active users, and it’ll soon overtake Twitter in that regard. Go anywhere and you’ll see people on their feet, or riding on bikes, trying to catch ’em all. This list will go into tips and tricks for the game (with some cheats thrown in) that will benefit all players, novice or pro alike.
1. First things first: before choosing your starter Pokémon with either Bulbasaur, Squirtle, or Charmander, walk around for several minutes and Pikachu becomes an option.
2. If you’ve missed out on Pikachu, or wish you had chosen another starter, don’t worry: starters are useless. Trust me.
3. Up to level 5, Pokémon are very easy to catch. They almost never jump out of the Poké Ball. Start practicing good throws though, because at a higher level you’ll need to use some tact.
4. While holding down a Poké Ball, a circle in green, yellow, orange or red, will open and close over the Pokémon. Green is the easiest to catch, whereas red is the hardest.
5. Try to hit the Pokémon inside the circle when it shrinks to its smallest. If you throw the ball directly into the bullseye, you will get an excellent throw, worth 100 extra exp.
6. If you hit the bullseye when the circle is in the middle of its opening and closing, you’ll get a great throw, worth 50 exp.
7. If you hit the bullseye when the circle is at its largest, you’ll get a nice throw, worth an extra 10 exp.
8. If a Pokémon jumps out of the ball, you can use a Razz Berry to make it less likely for them to hop out on the next throw.
9. Throwing curveballs are fun, and they give an added boost to exp, but it takes some getting used to before the hit their target. While holding the Poké Ball, spin it clockwise or counter-clockwise until it sparkles, and depending on the way the ball is spinning throw it in that direction and hopefully it will swing back to hit your Pokémon. This is only worth 10 extra exp.
10. At level 12 you unlock Great Balls, which have a higher chance of catching more elusive Pokémon.
11. Use two hands to catch said Pokémon, instead of flicking the ball with the hand you’re holding the phone, for better aim. [Edit] I’ve actually found a new technique that works far better for me. Using one hand to both hold the phone and to throw the ball, and flicking up with your thumb, you have a very high chance of it not curving randomly. Also, at the start of every encounter, the Pokémon is much closer to you. Flick the ball the moment that option becomes available, because the Pokémon will be so close it has a much higher chance of hitting within the inner circle.
12. AR, or Augmented Reality, is an awesome feature of the game – the ability to see the Pokémon in real life settings through your camera – but this too makes catching a little trickier. Turn it off to make the catching process smoother.
13. You can rename your Pokémon after catching them by going into your Pokémon bag, clicking the desired Pokémon, and clicking the pencil icon next to their name.
A Pokémon’s CP
14. CP stands for Combat Power. In a game like this, where battling is very limited, regular leveling is thrown out of the window. CP is its worth in stats.
15. Before level 5, DO NOT waste any candy and/or Stardust on powering up your Pokémon. That cp70 Zubat may look extremely strong at first, but you will soon begin finding Pokémon with much higher CPs, regularly.
16. This also goes for your starter Pokémon. They really only serve as nostalgia to get you started on your collection.
17. You want to save your candies for evolutions, especially in the early levels, another reason not to waste candy.
18. Another trick for getting candies is transferring them. You get three candies for each Pokémon you catch, plus an extra one if you transfer it.
19. Depending on a Pokémon’s CP, and your current level, their evolution will raise its CP and stats accordingly.
20. Some Pokémon need only 12 candies to evolve, where some need 100. To evolve a Magikarp to Gyarados, you’ll need 400 candy. Save them before trying to power them up.
21. When you evolve anything, you get an automatic 500 (+500 if it’s new to your Pokédex).
22. If you’ve already evolved a Pokémon fully, and don’t plan on powering it up any further, you can still evolve it again, to get another 500 exp.
23. Many Pokémon have more than one evolution, meaning, again, save your candies for evolving it fully.
24. Lucky Eggs give the user double exp for 30 minutes. Wait to evolve Pokémon until you throw a Lucky Egg in action to get 2000 experience.
Saving Battery Life
25. One of the biggest drawbacks to Pokémon Go is the drain it has on your phone’s battery. There are a number of ways to optimize your device for more gameplay, and less stress:
26. Turn your screen’s brightness down, slightly during the day, but to its lowest setting at night. It may not look as pretty, but it will make your game go so much longer.
27. Turn your volume off, or play with headphones.
28. If your phone has a battery saver mode, use it. For iOS, go into your Settings -> Battery -> turn Battery Saver on.
29. In Pokémon Go itself, go into the game’s settings and check the box that reads Battery Saver. This will allow you to turn your phone upside down, and the screen goes black. The app is still open, but now its simply tracking your movement. You can place the phone in your pocket without fear that you’ll begin to click buttons. I advise this feature be used in conjunction with headphones. You will feel the vibration when Pokémon are near, but you have to hear when the PokéStops are in range.
30. As great as Battery Saver mode is, it is still the most buggy part of the game for me, and sometimes having to restart the app several times isn’t worth it.
31. There is a theory floating around that if you download the Google Maps app, go into settings -> Offline Areas, and download a portion of the map closest to you to run in the background, it will allow you to save more battery and make the game smoother. Though I cannot vouch for the former, I noticed instantly my game was much smoother, odd enough.
32. Use discretion. The app doesn’t need to be front and center at all times. Close it if you aren’t currently playing, or if it’s open in the background for an extended period of time.
How to find rare, legendary, or shiny Pokémon
33. This is something the entire body of players for this game is still attempting to figure out. You’re going to need to get out of your comfort zone a bit also.
34. There is the prevailing theory that one’s level allows you to find rarer Pokémon. This is untrue. Each unique Pokémon shows up to all players in the direct vicinity.
35. The CP of a Pokémon is randomized per player based on level, even if you are catching the same Pokémon as your friend.
36. Believe it or not, rare’s just pop up on occasion. But you have to do some walking.
37. Try to figure out how far a Pokémon is from your vicinity by clicking the box on the bottom right and walking around. The three footsteps should become two and then one as you get closer.
38. You can track a Pokémon you’re looking for individually by clicking their icon in the nearby box.
39. Legendary Pokémon are in the game, but nobody has found them yet. Some believe that they exist to be found, but more likely they will be available to fight/catch at special event-type gatherings of players (as per the original trailer). Currently there are only 151 Pokémon in the game, but subtracting the legendary ones, you should be looking for 146.
40. Shiny Pokémon are reported to exist but this hasn’t been 100% confirmed, and you may recognize them by their altered color palette. Directly to the left of their name should exist a star, signifying their importance as a shiny Pokémon. These are immensely rare – do not get rid of them if you find one.
41. You can use a Lure to draw unlikely Pokémon to a certain spot for 30 minutes. This doesn’t always work, but yesterday my brother and his friends caught a Gyarados using that very method. So yeah… The drawback to lures is you pretty much just have to sit and wait.
42. Use a lure at the end of your day, when you have a bag full of transferable Pokémon. While transferring or evolving them, wait for Pokémon to pop up.
But where do I go? How do I get variation?
43. You could realistically walk around your neighborhood to find Pokémon, but the game is designed to remove you from the comfort of home and to walk around town, the park, or even a city.
44. Don’t stay in the same general location, if you can manage it. Go to the town over.
45. Go find a hiking path. (Admittedly not all trails have stops, but Pokémon spawn anywhere, regardless).
46. Remember that, if you plan on staying out and catching Pokémon all day, or for an extended period of time, you’ll need to stock up on Pokéballs. Find a couple locations near you where PokéStops are available.
47. Some towns and cities are well known for their PokéStops. But sometimes you can find lakes or paths with a number of PokéStops.
48. Incense can be burned when walking or biking to draw nearby Pokémon on the map to you.
49. There’s little use using an Incense near a Lure. With the exception of the first Pokémon that pops up, incense requires you to move about, whereas a Lure requires you to stand still.
How to use PokéStops
50. Believe it or not, I was very confused about PokéStops when I first began playing. The game was glitching too heavily for me for them to work appropriately. All you need to do is wait for them to be in range and spin the circular image of a monument in the center, and stuff comes out.
51. PokéBalls, Razz Berries, Incense, Lures – they all drop – along with Potions.
52. These are better alternatives to stocking up on items than through the game’s shop.
53. Many PokéStops still glitch out on occasion. Be patient. Leave it and come back later.
54. Wait for it to come into range before clicking on it for a better chance of it not freezing.
55. If the PokéStop is blank and loading, wait for it to finish loading its picture and description before spinning it.
56. Sometimes closing the app and and opening it will allow it to work.
57. A future update will allow one to upgade PokéStops to provide better items.
How to trade/battle your friends
58. Sadly, unlike the game’s original trailer, you cannot trade Pokémon with others at this time. This feature will be added in at a future time.
59. Nor can you directly battle another player.
60. The only way to truly test your might against a friend is at a gym.
Gym Battles and choosing your Team
61. Gyms become available for use at level 5.
62. Just because you’ve turned level 5 doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to fight at local gyms.
63. First, choose your Team, WISELY. Contact other friends using the game to see what teams they’ve chosen. You will want friends or acquantainces on your team.
64. When battling a gym owned by another team, bring your friends along. It’s team-based for a reason.
65. Some gyms require you to battle the opponents Pokémon several times before conquering it, based on the gym’s level.
66. To battle, it’s pretty simple button mashing, but there is skill involved, and sometimes it is very difficult to win.
67. When your attack bar is loaded up, hold down on the screen to unleash your Pokémon’s strong attack.
68. You can attempt to dodge out of the way of oncoming attacks by swiping to the left or right.
69. For gyms that are owned by your team, you can sometimes boost the prestige or level of the gym by training the Pokémon within. To train their Pokémon you must attack them and defeat them.
70. You can also add your Pokémon to the mix by choosing one from your pack to stay there.
71. If and when another trainer from a different team defeats your Pokémon, it will be returned to your pack, but you must heal or revive it.
72. Occupying one or more gyms at a time will give you daily benefits. Go into the game’s shop, click the shield at the top right corner of the screen and you’ll get stardust as well as coins to spend on the shop.
Potions and Revives
73. If you plan on competing in gym fights, you’ll want to keep a stock of potions, or revives.
74. Strangely, I’ve never needed to use a revive before, being that none of my Pokémon have fainted to below 1 HP, but this will bring them back to life essentially.
76. Potions, Super Potions, and Hyper Potions are used to bring your Pokémon back to full health.
77. Seriously though, there appear to be an infinite number of bugs and glitches present in the game.
78. When you throw a Poké Ball and the ball doesn’t twitch, instead freezing perfectly still, you’ll have to restart the game. Sometimes that means you caught the Pokémon, where other times you may see it on your map again upon reloading the game.
79. Another big glitch is the 1 life glitch, which happens during gym battles. The opponent will sometimes remain alive with 1 HP, though you continue to attack him. You will have to wait for them to kill you to get out of it.
80. To avoid lag during gym fights, keep AR off.
81. The server goes down all the time. There’s just so much traffic.
82. Sometimes when loading the game back up you will get stuck at the screen with the large Gyarados. Many have begun calling this Gyarablocked.
83. Sometimes the server fully logs you out of the system. Just keep trying again. (This doesn’t happen as often since Patch 1.01)
84. At night it seems to be the time many go out and hunt for Pokémon, so servers regularly shut down on me then.
85. Eggs come in varieties of 2km, 5km, and 10km. Though it isn’t always the case, higher km eggs usually give you rarer Pokémon.
86. You actually need to walk the distance. If you are going too fast, like in a car, it may not register that you’re walking and the distance won’t accrue for the hatching to happen.
87. You can also bike to make them hatch.
88. If you have more than one egg incubator, which you’ll need to hatch said eggs, they will accrue distance together, at the same pace.
89. Don’t worry about checking to make sure the egg has hatched. It will pop up on your screen when one is ready.
90. The game does not track your steps, only your GPS location. Don’t try it on the treadmill.
Don’t play while driving
91. Seriously, do not do it. I do not condone it. It is more dangerous than texting and driving.
92. If you insist on playing while in the car, do so in the back or passenger’s seat. You might even be asked to play for the driver.
93. If you are cruising slowly, it does count for distance on your eggs.
94. If you are going faster than 45mph I’ve noticed that Pokémon have a much higher chance of jumping out of a Poké Ball and fleeing. So catching Pokémon on the highway (passenger’s seat or otherwise) may appear to be futile.
95. If you’re fast enough however, you could grab PokéStops. AGAIN, not while driving.
96. Eevee’s evolutions are completely random. There is a theory that she evolves into certain Pokémon depending on the Eevee’s attack sets. This is untrue. [Edit] Before evolving your Eevee, you can indeed choose which of the three evolutions you’ll receive, by renaming them. By nicknaming your Eevee ‘Rainer’, you’ll get a Vaporeon. By nicknaming your Eevee ‘Sparky’, you’ll receive a Jolteon. By nicknaming your Eevee ‘Pyro’, you’ll get a Flareon.
97. There is a theory that some Pokémon come out on sunny days versus rainy days, or some only show up at night. I haven’t found this to be the case personally.
98. Don’t be surprised when you start finding the second or even final evolution of a Pokémon in the wild. It happens at random sometimes.
99. Catch as many Pokémon as you can, even of the same variety. You will need that stardust later on.
100. The Pokémon Go Plus wearable allows you to search for Pokémon without having to check your phone constantly, and can be found to pre-order here. (Currently unavailable)
101. Go have fun. Be safe about it though. Go catch ’em all.
If you have any questions about things I didn’t touch upon, or something you need Clefairyication upon, please feel free to ask in the comments below.