Oh Pokemon Go. Such an interesting idea, with tons of promise, an alarming amount of popularity, and absolutely no desire to tell players how to actually play it in the first place. Seriously, if there’s a game out there that manages to do a worse job of explaining its mechanics I’ve yet to encounter it.

That’s why we’ve gone and put together this Pokemon Go tutorial for new players. If you’re starting up Pokemon Go for the first time, you’ll want to give this a read. It sure beats trying to figure it out by trial and error.

Get out there and catch ‘em all
How do I Play Pokemon Go? - A Beginner's Guide cheats tips strategies

  • PokeStops and Gyms – There are two types of “buildings” you can find in Pokemon Go: Gyms, which is where you’ll compete with other teams for control of an area, and PokeStops, where you can visit to acquire items such as pokeballs, potions, revives, and so on.
  • Getting around – The only way to move your character in-game is to walk around in real life. So get outside, get some fresh air, and find that Jigglypuff! But do be mindful of your surroundings and be careful of where you’re walking.

How do I Play Pokemon Go? - A Beginner's Guide cheats tips strategies

  • Tall Grass – Unlike regular Pokemon games, the Tall Grass (i.e. where you can find and catch wild pokémon) isn’t a static location. Instead, you’ll see little green “puffs” of leaves to show where you might find them. Keep an eye out for these little explosions of grass confetti and you’ll be well on your way.
  • Wild pokemon – When you’re close enough to try and capture something, your device will vibrate and the pokémon will appear somewhere on the map near your character. Tap on the pokémon to try and catch them.
  • Actually catching pokemon – Once you’ve tapped a nearby pokemon, you’ll be able to look for it in the real world using your device’s camera. After getting it in view, swipe the pokeball at the bottom of the screen to toss it at your target. If it hits, the ball will open and pull the pokemon inside. Then you just wait until the ball locks and the new pokemon is yours!

Raising and training your ‘mons
How do I Play Pokemon Go? - A Beginner's Guide cheats tips strategies

  • Pokemon info – You can check out all of your captured pokemon by tapping on the pokeball icon at the bottom of the screen, then on the pokemon icon on the left side of the menu. From there you can see everyone at a glimpse, organize them by newest/favorites/name/etc by tapping on the icon in the bottom-right corner, or get more detailed information by tapping on specific pokemon.
  • Powering up – To train your pokemon without fighting at a gym, tap on them from the menu to get more detailed information and then tap the “Power Up” button. This will require Stardust (earned every time you catch any pokemon) and creature-specific Candy (earned every time you capture a specific pokemon – for example a Pidgey/Pidgeotto both give Pidgey Candy). Ever power up will increase a pokemon’s overall combat strength and hitpoints.

How do I Play Pokemon Go? - A Beginner's Guide cheats tips strategies

  • Evolution – By saving up and then spending a whole lot of pokemon-specific Candy, you can evolve a pokemon to it’s next form. Assuming it has a next form, anyway. Doing so will change their stats, sometimes grant new abilities, and will give them a pretty hefty boost to their CP and HP.
  • Transfer – Any pokemon you might not want to keep (i.e. duplicates, really weak ones, etc) can be sent off to the professor for an extra piece of Candy (for that specific pokemon). Just scroll down to the bottom when you’re looking at a pokemon’s detailed information screen, tap on Transfers, and select Yes to send them on their way.

Hitting the gym
How do I Play Pokemon Go? - A Beginner's Guide cheats tips strategies

  • Level requirements – Any sort of gym interaction is a no-no until you reach level 5. So until then, just focus on catching more pokemon.
  • Gym assessment – You can learn a couple of things about a given gym just by looking at it on the map. The color (Red, Blue, Yellow, or Gray) indicates who’s currently in control of it (Valor, Mystic, Instinct, and neutral/up for grabs). The pokemon that appears on top of the gym is also the strongest pokemon guarding that location. It doesn’t display power, but it’ll give you a basic idea of what you’re up against.
  • More details – By tapping on a gym (regardless of how close you are), you’ll pull up a more detailed information screen. Here you’ll see the name of the gym’s location, the gym’s prestige level, the pokemon that are guarding it (name and CP), and the name(s) of their trainer(s). If there’s more than one pokemon guarding a gym, you can swipe left and right to cycle through them.
  • Prestige – The prestige level of a gym acts as a sort of health bar. Every time a rival team defeats a defending pokemon, the gym loses prestige. Every time a member of the controlling team “spars” with the defending pokemon and wins, the gym gains prestige. If prestige goes down to zero, the controlling team is ousted and the gym becomes neutral – free reign for any pokemon on any team to settle in.
  • Fighting – Whether you’re trying to oust a rival team or just training, fighting is pretty simple. Tap the screen to perform a basic attack, and swipe left or right to try and dodge an oncoming attack. As you battle a meter will start to fill up underneath your pokemon’s health, which indicates special attacks. Tap and hold the screen for a moment to trigger their special attack, at the cost of one “square” of stored energy.

Advanced Training

Be sure to check out our other guides and articles to help you make the most of your time in the world of of the Pokemon Go: