Pokémon Go is finally (slowly) being released, and it is already taking the world by storm. Niantic and The Pokémon Company's free-to-play game has seen Poké-fans around the globe taking to the streets in search of their favourite Pokémon thanks to the game's GPS-powered, augmented reality re-imagining of the beloved RPG series.
Our review will be published in due course, but one problem we can talk about is the game's lack of tutorials and tips. Which is strange given how different and overwhelming the strange world of Pokémon Go can be.
With this in mind, IBTimes UK has put together a guide covering everything you need to know as you take your first steps towards becoming a Pokémon Go master.
Pokemon Go World Map: GPS, PokeStops and Gyms
After being introduced to Pokemon Go's Professor Willow, designing your avatar and choosing a classic Gen 1 starter (Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle), Pokémon Go essentially leaves your next steps purely to you.
The map is simplistic and reminiscent of any popular map app. Any icons which come into your avatar's circular radius as you wander around can then be interacted with, but will only trigger while you have the app open on your screen - as the game ostensibly switches off if you exit the app or lock your screen.
Blue waypoints are called PokéStops. These are located near real-world landmarks and are key in gathering items and gaining small amounts of XP so you can level up. Once you've found a PokéStop, walk towards it until an animation starts. Tap on it and spin the image to make it cough up the goods.
The most common items you'll receive are Poke Balls, Potions, Revives and Pokémon Eggs. Once you've exhausted the supply, the PokéStop icon will turn purple indicating you've recently visited the location. It'll be around 10-15 minutes before you can access the PokéStop again.
The other main icons you'll see are Gyms. Populated gyms will show a Pokémon defending the location and will be assigned to one of the game's three teams: Mystic (blue), Valor (red) and Instinct (yellow). You can't interact with the Gyms until you have a squad full of Pokémon and have reached level 5.
Keep a look out for our advanced guide for an in-depth look at Gym battles.
Pokemon Go: Where to find Pokemon
Catching them all if course the main reason for playing Go. Just like in the main Pokémon games, the critters like to hide in specific locations. More often than not you'll find Water-type monsters close to rivers and lakes and Bug/Grass-types in the more leafy areas.
Small tufts of jumping grass on the world map indicate nearby Pokémon, while an indicator in the bottom right of the screen will list all the different creatures that are close to your current location. To start an encounter you'll need to make sure the rustling leaves are within your GPS radius and wait for them to appear on the map - when they do, tap on them to start a catching mini-game.
If there is a particular Pokémon in the area you are hoping to find, click the bottom right bar to bring up the "Nearby" screen and tap the one you are after. If the bar 'blinks' then the distance between you and the nearby monsters has changed (for better or worse) so keep an eye out for these blinks.
The footprint steps beneath each Pokémon signify how far away they are (but unfortunately not the direction). One footprint means the Pokémon is close by, but three means you are going to have to go on a bit of a trek. If the footprints disappear, wait for a little while as you are exactly where you need to be!
Pokemon Go: How to catch Pokemon
In a change of pace from the main Pokémon games, catching a monster in Pokémon Go is relatively simple.
Essentially an exercise in target practice, you will need to throw a PokéBall at the wild Pokémon by swiping up with the touchscreen (hold your device with both hands and use your thumb to swipe for improved accuracy). You want to aim for the ring that appears on the Pokemon itself, hitting the green ring will trigger a "Great!" pop-up and improves your chances.
Catch-rate is determined by a few factors. Firstly, the Pokémon's CP (combat power) level affects how likely it is to break out of the ball or dodge your throw completely. Higher level Pokémon will start to appear as you level up your own character and if you miss too many times then the Pokémon may flee so make sure you aim well! Levelling up will unlock stronger Pokéballs (Great Balls, Ultra Balls etc) which make catching powerful Pokémon easier.
Pokemon Go: How to hatch egg Pokemon
Pokémon Eggs (obtained from PokéStops) function similarly to their main game counterparts, requiring players to walk a certain distance before they travel. As with the base gameplay, steps taken to hatch the Eggs will only count while the app is open on your screen - so if you have any long walks planned it might be worth booting it up and leaving it switched on in your pocket.
Once you find an Egg, open up the Pokémon menu via the PokéBall icon at the bottom of the screen and select the "Eggs" tab. After a while you will have a fine array of eggy friends here, which can all be hatched for new Pokémon to add to your collection. Each has a distance meter measured in kilometres, with the rarer/higher level Pokémon requiring more steps than the weaker or more common ones.
Tap an Egg and select "Start Incubation" to place the egg in the Egg Incubator - an item you start the game with and which doesn't ever need replacing. You can buy additional Incubators to work on multiple Eggs for 150 PokeCoins, but these will break after three uses.