Since its release, Pokémon Go has been an enormous success. And while it’s still early days, the game is already a huge hit for Nintendo and developer Niantic.
But with all of this popularity comes some challenges as well – like finding your way around, getting the hang of battling, or trying to make sure you don’t become a target during peak hours.
If you’re new to the world of Pokémon Go, here are five important tips to help you get started – no matter whether you’re using an app on iOS or Android.
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1. Find Your Way Around
The most obvious thing that many players have noticed from the start is how hard it is to find their way around. The fact that you can’t see the map in real-time doesn’t help either. It’s not easy to know where you are and how to get back to where you want to go.
You might think you can work out where you are by checking landmarks, but even then some places look the same when seen directly from ground level as they do through the app. If you can’t really tell what’s going on at street level, you’ll be lost pretty quickly.
Thankfully, there are fixes. You can use Google Maps or Bing Maps to check your position – both will show up on the app. Another option is to use the Pokémon Trainer Club app – it’s available on iOS and Android devices.
One final trick is to tap the ‘?’ icon next to your location to see nearby Pokémon hotspots. These should give you a better idea of where you are and which direction to head in if you’re moving between locations.
2. Get Used to Tapping To Train
This one isn’t so much of a tip, but more of a warning. Since Pokémon Go was released, reports of people injuring themselves by tapping too hard while playing have been rife.
It’s a simple mistake that’s made because we tend to click our phones too fast when we’re excited about something. But it’s actually quite dangerous.
While you’re training Pokémon, the screen refreshes a few times per second. So if you press your finger down too hard, you could miss those moments and end up damaging your phone.
So take it slowly and only push lightly. Once you’ve trained a few Pokémon, you can try pressing harder to catch them faster and easier.
3. Battle Is Easy!
Pokémon Go gives you three options when it comes to battles – solo, duo, or team battle. Solo battles are quick and easy, while team battles involve multiple trainers fighting together against another trainer (or group).
They’re usually held in large gyms, and each gym contains different Pokémon. Trainers who want to join a gym can send a request to the gym leader, and once accepted, you can walk into the gym and fight other trainers (and sometimes wild Pokémon) inside.
To avoid being attacked, you need to put up a defense first. That means building a shelter first, and then putting up a defense. There are also items you can buy from the Poké Mart to increase your defenses further.
Once you’ve reached maximum levels, you can upgrade your shelter and defenses to keep yourself safe.
4. Use the Gym Leader Checkup
When you’ve finished battling at a gym, you can visit the Gym Leader Checkup page. This shows you how strong the gym leader currently is, and allows you to challenge them again.
At the top of the page, you’ll see two buttons. One says ‘Challenge’, while the other says ‘Leave’. Tap the ‘Challenge’ button and you’ll be taken to a list of the current leaders in your area. Choose one of them and start battling.
5. Don’t Become a Target During Peak Hours
For those of us who aren’t avid gamers, Pokémon Go may seem like a strange concept. But it’s actually very similar to a board game like Monopoly, with each player collecting cards and trying to win the game.
However, unlike regular Monopoly, everyone in the game is actively looking for you to play against – and they won’t stop looking until they’ve caught you. So unless you want to spend your time running away from packs of players searching for you, it’s best to avoid playing during peak hours.
Peak hours are generally between 7pm and midnight. If you plan to play, make sure to set your alarm ahead of time, and ensure you’re at home before these hours arrive. If you aren’t interested in playing, just leave the house before these times. It’s a lot safer than becoming a target for Pokémon Go players.
And if you really want to get involved, there are plenty of ways you can help others in the community. We’ve got guides to doing that right now.