4 Essential Tips and Tricks for Getting Started in Pokémon Go

pokemon go tips and tricks

Since its launch in July 2016, millions of Pokémon Go trainers across the world have taken to the parks, museums and streets of their community in search of elusive Pidgeys and Doduos. If you're just getting started on your hunt for all 151 Pokémon, the process of filling out all those empty silhouettes in your Pokédex can seem daunting. But never fear: check out our guide to the three most essential tips you'll need to get started in Pokémon Go.

Tips and Tricks

1. Unlock Pikachu as Your Starter Pokémon

pokemon go tips and tricks - catch pikachu

After starting up a new game and creating your avatar, Professor Willow presents you with your Pokédex and tells you that there should be a Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander near your location. He suggests you capture one of them as your starter Pokémon, to be your constant friend and companion on at least the first steps of your journey.

What he isn't telling you is that there's a secret fourth Pokémon hiding nearby; that's right, the adorable electric rodent Pikachu! Discovering Pikachu takes a bit of work, but he's well-worth it, especially for fans of the original series who've always wanted to co-star alongside a Pikachu of their very own.

When Professor Willow tasks you with capturing your starter Pokémon, you'll notice the only Pokémon appearing around you are a Bulbasaur, Squirtle and Charmander. Simply walk away from them until they disappear. Don't worry, the trio should re-appear a short distance away. Keep repeating this process for four to six times.

Eventually, you'll be rewarded with a Pikachu appearing alongside the default three starters. From there, simply capture it with your Pokéball, and you'll have befriended your very own Pikachu to join you in all your globetrotting, Pokémon-hunting adventures!

2. Tracking Nearby Pokémon

pokemon go tips and tricks - tracking pokemon

The Pokémon Tracker is a handy tool, but it can be a bit tricky for new players to navigate. Here are the things you need to know:

1. The number of footprints below the Pokémon's silhouette indicate how far away the Pokémon is to you. Each footprint symbolizes roughly 30-50 meters. Note that the Tracker only displays up to a maximum of three footprints, so three footprints can also roughly translate to 150 meters or more.

2. Pokémon silhouettes are ordered from left-to-right, based on how far away they are. The Pokémon on the top-left corner of your list is very close by, the one immediately to the right of that is slightly farther away, and so on.

3. You can tap the Tracking list to open a grid you can use to navigate your surroundings. The Pokémon you have targeted will move up and to the left of the list as you get closer to it. If you're walking in the wrong direction, the Pokémon will move down and to the right on the grid.

4. Incense or Lure Modules don't attract Pokémon in your "nearby" list; instead, using Incense or a Lure Module causes a random Pokémon to appear. Pokémon that spawn because of an Incense or Lure Module don't require movement on your behalf to show up.

3. Turn Off AR to Make It Easier to Capture Pokémon

pokemon go tips and tricks - turn off ar

AR, standing for Augmented Reality, is the type of game that Pokémon Go is. It takes actual video feed from your phone's camera and projects 3D images over top of it, like your Pokéball and wild Pokémon. AR also happens to be a setting you can toggle on and off on your game screen.

While capturing Pokémon with AR on can be a lot of fun, and can set the stage for all sorts of funny moments while the Pokémon in your sights bounce and wobble across the real-world, it's a lot easier to capture Pokémon without having to swing and aim your phone's camera around like a crazy person. Besides, the innocent bystanders around you might not appreciate having a stranger waving a camera in their face.

You can toggle AR off by tapping the AR toggle button on the screen where you're capturing a wild Pokémon, doing so will disable the live camera feed and the Pokémon will sit almost perfectly still, allowing you to capture them more easily.

4. Build a Team Comprised of Many Element Types

pokemon go tips and tricks - multiple elements

Like any other Pokémon game in the series, battles in Pokémon Go can be boiled down to a slightly more elaborate form of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Grass beats water, water beats fire, fire beats grass, and so on.

Mastering these elemental weaknesses and strengths is the key to winning Pokémon battles in nearly every game in the franchise, and Pokémon Go is no exception. This means that, contrary to what the characters do in the original Pokémon cartoon series, it's never a good idea to stick to using Pokémon of only one element.

If you've leveled up a battle team consisting of only lightning-type Pokémon, say, they're all virtually useless against the first water-type Pokémon you encounter. Their abilities will hit for next to nothing (if they hit at all), and a single water-element strike will knock out even your toughest lightning-element battler.

If you plan to take your Pokémon on the warpath to conquer rival gyms, it's important to build a diverse team of Pokémon with elemental abilities that are best suited to counter the gym's defenders. Scope 'em out, and make sure you've assembled the right team for the job.


Hopefully these tips and tricks have helped you out, even if just a little. Did we miss anything? If you can think of some helpful hints for the game that everyone should know about, please tell us in the comments. And of course, make sure that you have all of the necessary Pokémon gear to get out there and catch 'em all!

(Last Updated On: August 10, 2016)
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