Pokémon GO has quickly become a global sensation during the few short weeks since its launch. It’s already added $7.5 billion to Nintendo’s market value and has been downloaded by at least 15 million people. It has also made a serious case for the future of augmented reality and its role in gaming.
If you’re like us, you’ve quickly fallen in love with the unique mix of childhood nostalgia and modern technology that lets you catch ’em all. To feed this growing global obsession, here are a few tips and tricks to become the very best Pokémon trainer, like no one ever was.
Get Pikachu as your Starter Pokémon
Pokémon GO, much like the original Pokémon games, allows you to begin your quest with a starter Pokémon. Each new player is given the choice of starting their journey with a Charmander, Squirtle, or Bulbasaur as a companion. But there is a secret way to begin the game with a Pikachu, an option that is hidden from trainers. By choosing to run away from the starter battle, a Pikachu will eventually appear for you to use as your starter Pokémon.
Turn on AR Mode
One of the most interesting parts of Pokémon GO is that it enables you to see Pokémon in your unique environment. However, there are some major drawbacks to this feature. Catching Pokémon like this is difficult and not to mention inappropriate in some contexts. To fix this, just click on the AR function when you enter into a Pokébattle. This will toggle your screen until it’s focused and locked onto the Pokémon. It will also ease some social anxiety so you won’t have to point your phone at strangers to capture that Zubat.
Optimize your Egg Hatching
Some lucky Pokéstops will give you eggs along with supplies like Pokeballs and Incense. These eggs can be stored in incubators that will hatch them after you walk a certain distance. Eggs that need a distance of 2KM to hatch will produce low-level Pokémon, while 5KM eggs will give you higher creatures like Cubone and Sandshrew. The 10KM eggs will give you the most powerful and uncommon Pokémon like Snorlax and Slowpoke. Here is a more in-depth graphic that breaks down which Pokémon correlate to distances.
This distance is calculated by your phones GPS system and will continue to track your miles while the app is open. The distance will add up whether you’re on a bus, bike, or train as long as you’re moving under 12MPH.
Crush the Curveball
If you’re looking for an extra challenge, you can try mastering the art of throwing a curveball. This is also a great way to earn XP and level up faster. To turn an ordinary Pokéball into a curveball, simply tap or spin the Pokéball until it starts sparkling and spinning. Then throw the Pokéball in the opposite direction of its spin. This technique will help balance the path of the curveball.
Speaking of gaining more XP, there are a few tricks to help you stock up on these valuable points. First, capturing a lot of low-level Pokémon like Pidgeys and Zubats is a quick way to gain XP. Also, evolving Pokémon will give you a lot of points, as well as hatching eggs, checking Pokestops, and registering new Pokemon into your Pokedex.
But there is a sure fire way to get the most out of these little steps. The secret is all in timing and Lucky Eggs, which are filled with happiness and luck, and can be found at Pokestops. These Lucky Eggs work for 30 minutes and give the trainer twice as much XP as normal moves would. To get the most XP possible, spend time catching low-level Pokémon before activating a Lucky Egg and evolving them. Then, quickly check Pokéstops and hatch eggs before your Lucky Egg runs out of time. For a complete list of all moves that will give you XP, check out this list.
Notice What’s Nearby
When you’re out in the world catching Pokémon, be sure to click the white bar that’s on the bottom right side of the screen. A pop-up menu will appear which tells you what kind of Pokémon are nearby. Underneath the Pokémons picture there are several paw prints that indicate how far away they are from your current location. Three paw prints means they are 300 feet away, while two prints mean they’re 200 feet away, and a single print means they are less than 100 feet away. If the prints disappear entirely, the Pokémon is in the immediate area and will appear in under 10 seconds.
While there is no way to challenge other trainers to battle in real time, an alternative can be found in Gym Battles. Once a trainer passes level 5, they must choose a team and can start competing and training in gyms. Success in these battles depend on the Pokémon’s CP, element type, and the trainer’s quick reflexes. Tapping the screen lets the Pokémon attack and dodge, while pressing the screen unlocks a special attack that does more damage compared to ordinary moves. You can train at a gym if your team controls it, or challenge rival teams for control of their gym. While the internet chooses sides, there is little difference between the different teams.
This is by no means a complete list as more is being learned about this game everyday. New bugs are being fixed and new rumors have spread surrounding upgrades that will be released in late July. Whatever may come for this global sensation, it is a truly unique app that has the potential to change how we play video games and experience the world around us.