Pokémon GO is experiencing a staggered release across the globe, and many people are now hunting Pokémon all around their homes and nearby areas. If you want to get off to the best start then we're here to help - we've compiled a handy starter guide for all budding 'mon catchers.
When you start the game you will have the selection of Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle as your first Pokémon. Once captured, you'll be told to go and explore the nearby regions and go to PokéStops. Having been given Poké Balls, this is where the adventure begins!
Pokémon are all around you! Go for a walk - even a relatively short one - and you're bound to bump into at least one. You can see which monsters are nearby by tapping the icon in the bottom right corner of the screen - the footprints denote distance, so three prints is far away, while one is close. Select a Pokémon from the list and you can see if you're getting closer to it as you walk.
Capturing of Pokémon doesn't require battling, but rather you simply throw the Poké Ball at the Pokémon. This requires you to aim and swipe the screen, but there is more to it than that. If you do various things while capturing the Pokémon you will get experience boosts so that you can level up your trainer. If you throw when the osculating coloured circle on the Pokémon is as small as possible, you will get a "Nice" or a "Great" bonus. If you rapidly spin it in a circular motion before throwing, you'll get a curve ball bonus as well. These only result in modest experience point rewards, but are worth doing all the same.
Capture likelihood is determined by the coloured circle that appears when you are facing a Pokémon. Green means it is easy, Orange is intermediate and Red is hard.
Catch everything you see. While you may already have 15 Rattata and 200 Pidgey, you get experience for doing so, Stardust to power up Pokémon and candies to evolve your Pokémon. You can also trade unwanted monsters with Professor Willow for candy relevant to that type.
Dotted around all areas are PokéStops. These areas are landmarks such as churches, fountains and anything interesting in your area. When within range of them you can access the PokéStop and receive a multitude of items including Poké Balls, Potions, and even Pokémon Eggs. To get these items you simply swipe the photo of the location to spin it around.
To top it off, PokéStops regenerate fast so you'll be able to return to them several times a day in order to get more items.
A good tip is to use a Lure Module item on a PokéStop and sit there. This will bring wild Pokémon to you (and any other player nearby), and at the same time allow you to wait for the PokéStop to regenerate so you can get more items. You can tell if a Lure Module has been used by another player because it will be covered in moving particles.
With Pokémon, it will always come down to gyms. Once you reach Level 5 you'll be able to interact with Gyms. First you select the team you want to support - either Team Instinct, Team Valor or Team Mystic.
If the Gym is currently uninhabited you can place one of your Pokémon to guard the gym and it becomes a gym for your team. If a member of your team has taken a gym, you can also place a Pokémon there to help reinforce it. Gyms level up by gaining prestige and it this is earned by holding off challengers. You can also train at the gyms and if you do, you boost the prestige of the gym as well.
If the Gym is of another colour, you can battle it. If you win you can lower the prestige of the gym downwards, even down to zero - at which point the Gym is lost and can be taken by you and your team.
If your Pokémon is in a gym and the gym is lost, then the Pokémon is returned to you but with low Hit Points, meaning it needs to be healed before you can use it again. Healing sprays can be obtained randomly at PokéStops. If a Pokémon faints during combat, you'll need to use the Revive item - again, this can be found at PokéStops.
Assigning your Pokémon to gyms isn't just good for improving the standing of your team - it also gives you added benefits. Head over to the Shop and you'll see a Shield icon in the top-right corner - depending on how many Pokémon you have at gyms, you can get stardust and coins as rewards. This means that you can earn in-game currency without spending a penny of real-world cash.
While catching Pokémon is always fun, hatching Pokémon is a good way to get various species that may not be found in the wild around you. At PokéStops you will often find eggs, and with the Egg Incubator item these can be hatched. Like the mainline Pokémon games, the eggs require you to walk around in order to hatch - hatching counters range from 2km, 5km and 10km. When you've reached that milestone, the Pokémon is hatched from the egg.
However, there is an obvious restriction. You may be thinking "2km, that's easy. I'll go for a drive". That won't work. There is a speed restriction on this and if you're going above a certain speed, it won't register as movement and your egg won't get closer to hatching. We're not entirely sure on what the speed limit is yet, but walking or going on a bicycle should be sufficient enough to hatch your eggs. Driving slowly can also fool the game into thinking you're on foot.
Hatching eggs will also get you a decent amount of candy for the species, between 10 and 20 - so it's well worth the effort.
To successfully evolve a Pokémon you'll need two things - stardust (which is gained via capturing Pokémon and levelling up) and the candy specific to that breed of monster. Assuming you have enough of these two elements, you'll be able to evolve the creature.
Evolved Pokémon are more powerful and can take more damage than others, and usually come with special attacks or powers. However, levelling up these monsters requires more resources, so use your stardust and candy wisely.
Finally, above all else, if you are out for a long adventure to hunt for Pokémon, a wise precaution would be to take a power bank or other battery charger. Just two hours out can take your phone's battery completely out while playing the game. Having a backup can allow you to hunt for Pokémon much longer. You can also enable Battery Saver mode, which turns the screen dark when you turn your phone upside down. This means you can keep the app running so you don't miss any nearby 'mon, but prevent your battery from taking too much of a hit.