Hopefully, lockdowns are behind us and everything has opened back up and travel has become a thing again, so we can get out there and explore again, and what better way to do that than with a companion? No, I am not talking about people, I am talking about Pokemon GO!

Since the release of the hit app in 2016 it has undergone a lot of updates with new features and Pokemon being added, and now that kid down the street has a Mewtwo with 4000 CP and you don’t know what CP is because what happened to levels and you don’t think you can join in the fun? Well stop that spiralling and get a hold of yourself because here are a few tips to help you go from Pallet Town to the Pokemon League.

Picking your first Pokemon

As with every Pokemon journey, the first major option you are presented with is picking your first Pokemon, a momentous occasion if not just for nostalgia. The choices you are given are the first generation's iconic trio; Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle. Who you pick right now ultimately won’t change your game since actual battles won’t be on your radar for a while, so choose your favourite. For anyone that wants to embrace their inner Ash, however, walk away from the trio. They will respawn in front of you when you get far enough, and if you do this a few times a Pikachu will show up that you can pick instead.

First Steps

You now have your first Pokemon, congratulations. Now, throw everything you know about Pokemon gameplay out of the window. The aim of this game is to catch absolutely everything that you can see. See those five Caterpie? Catch them all. See that Geodude you have ten of? Well, now you have eleven. Catching Pokemon in this game does not involve battling, it involves throwing copious amounts of Poke balls at whoever you are trying to catch until you get it or they flee. Or until your Poke ball supply runs dry. This brings us to our next must.


The reason Pokemon GO is a great fitness app is that unless you are lucky enough to live next to a Pokemon Stop, you have to go outside. The main way to get them is by walking to your closest PokeStop and spinning it. This grants you balls, potions and eggs amongst other things, and you will run out of Poke balls quickly if you don’t regularly visit PokeStops. Also, regular walking will allow you to hatch eggs and gain candy from your Partner Pokemon as well as the normal health increases. So, get outside and spin those stops!

Picking a team

By catching Pokemon, you will gain Trainer EXP that will level you up, and when you reach level five you will have the option to join a team which will open up a lot of gameplay options. The options are Valor, Mystic and Instinct, each having its own mascot and flavour text but they don’t really differ beyond aesthetic. These are important for social aspects such as gyms as you will be working with other team members, so it might be a good idea to see who the prominent team is in your area and side with them. You can tell by the colour your local gyms are, which are essentially the taller PokeStops with Pokemon in them.

Powering up

So, it's been a few days, you've joined a team and you're surrounded by the fifty-two Rattata that you've caught on your walks but they are all sitting on CP, it's time to power them up. Levelling and evolving in this game is all about candy, and you get it in three main ways; catching Pokemon, transferring Pokemon and walking with a partner. But wait, there's more! CP is the main indication of a Pokemon's power. However, there are also IVs to take into account.

By Appraising your Pokemon in the Pokemon screen you will get an overview of its Attack, Defense and HP, along with a star rating, and these are the most important stats. Max CP will increase as you raise your Trainer Level, star rating will not. A 100cp One Star Pokemon will not stand up against a 75cp Three Star Pokemon. So, appraise all those Rattata, find the best Three Star you can, transfer the rest and throw as much candy as you can at them.

Raids and Gyms

Now that you have a Raticate who can chew through steel, it is time to do some battling. Two of the biggest features you want to participate in Gyms and Raids. Gyms are team activities, which consist of either defending or taking over an opposing team's gym. By battling the defenders of a rival gym you can oust them and claim it for your own team. When you own one, you can leave a Pokemon to act as a defender. You will lose access to this Pokemon for the duration it is in there, but they will bring back Poke Coins when they are defeated, depending on how long they have been there.

Raids are community-wide events that randomly pop up at gyms. All players in the area can join in to defeat an ultra-powerful pokemon that ranges in difficulty. When defeated, you will get the opportunity to catch this pokemon with special Premier Balls. The number you get will depend on your performance in the raid battle.

There is a lot more to explore in this game, but these are the first steps that will prepare you for your adventure to become a Pokemon Master.

Pokemon GO icon
Download now!