By Joshie Jaxon
Greetings, geek fans! Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two days, I’m certain you’re aware that Pokemon launched a new free app, designed to give us the closest thing yet to being Pokemon trainers here in the real world. However, they haven’t given a lot on in game tutorial information. There’s a quick start guide, but it’s iffy. Fortunately, people like me are here to share my experiences, and what I’ve been able to gather from friends so far. Let the geeks begin!
First order of business. Right now it can be a pain in the ass to try and get signed in, let alone be able to play. It can be frustrating, but when you think about the fact that everyone has been waiting to be a trainer for 20 years, it makes sense. Granted, the designers should’ve known and anticipated the size of their audience, but I’m not bitching. This is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s not unheard of for gamers to invest hundreds, if not thousands, of hours into a handheld installment. Add that up over 20 years, and you have a lifetime of bliss. Don’t let the muggles tell you otherwise. They have no joy in their lives, and their inner children are pouting in a corner.
Once you’re able to actually get signed in, you’ll get to create your avatar. There’s a variety of choices, though it’s not as vast as it could be, again, not complaining. So far, I’ve not found a way to change your look after you set it, so be 100% sure before you save it. You may not be able to go get the purple hair you originally wanted. You’ll also have to pick your name. Sounds easy, but this is an online game, names are snatched quickly. Don’t be surprised if you have to be pkmstr848277. Only slight exaggeration. After your avi is created, you’ll encounter one of the Kanto starters. I found a Bulbasaur hanging out in the street. I’ve seen people with Squirtle, but no Charmander so far.
I’m getting a head of myself though. The game needs your GPS active, as it goes off of your real world position. It will give you a street view of your area, not in Google level detail, but the main routes and roads are all there.
Once you encounter a Pokemon, you’ll face off with it. There’s no battle involved, think of it more like the Safari Zone. All you have to do is toss your Pokeball. There are two views while trying to capture a Pokemon, and I’ve gotta say, have the AR view can make things hilarious. I had a mouse appear in front of my cat, and thank the powers that be, you’re allowed to take pics and screencaps.
After you throw your ball, and deal with the real feeling of anticipation that it causes, as it decides if you caught it or not, the Pokemon is registered in the Pokedex. You can name them, so it retains the personal touch of the handhelds. You also get stardust, which is like currency, as well as candy for that Pokemon. For example, you can’t give Pikachu candy to a Charmander. The candy is used to evolve them. As you can see, it will tell you how many candies you need for it to evolve. There are no evolution stones, so once you have 50 Pika treats, you’ll get Raichu. From what I’ve seen so far, most two-stage evolutions need 50 in order to evolve to that final form. Three-stage need in the 20’s for first form, and higher from there. Those that don’t evolve, like Tauros, for example, can still use their candy. It allows them to power up and raise their CP, which is how hard they’ll hit in a gym battle.
From your overhead view of your avi, there’s a list of three Pokemon in the lower corner. If they’re in shadow, you haven’t caught them yet. I thought that was just a visual of what three were nearby. However, if you tap it, you’ll actually get a view of 9 nearby Pokemon, which could be some of the same kind or all different. There are footprints under them to indicate how close they are to you. You can tap on one while in that nine view, and it will change the three on the map to that specific one, so you can see how much closer you may be. I saw a Charmander shadow, but never found anything that brought me closer to him. Oh well.
You can carry up to 250 Pokemon, and since this is currently Kanto only, we’re limited to the original 150. That being said, don’t discount catching 10 Pidgey. Not only do you get candy and experience for each catch, you might find a stronger one than you currently have. They may also have different battle moves. Another reason to catch a lot is that you can trade them in to the professor for more candy, which then helps you have what you need to help them evolve. The amount of candy you have is listed under the individual Pokemon. Don’t worry, the candy type doesn’t change when they evolve. Oddish candy will still be Oddish candy, even after you have Gloom. Said Gloom will still use Oddish candy to become Vileplume. You can filter your Pokemon by number, recents, and CP. Number is easiest if you’re wanting to transfer in your 20 Paras for candy.
Finally, I’ll comment on items, but I’ve not had much experience yet, so I’ll probably be back here to update later. Potions are used when you take damage at a gym, but aren’t knocked out. Revive will take care of that. You can acquire incense that will draw more Pokemon to you, but I didn’t notice a difference when I used it. Gyms are all over, and I don’t quite know how they work. Once you challenge a gym at level 5, it’ll have you pick a team, which corresponds to the legendary bird trio. As you probably saw from my pic above, I went with Zapdos. Those teams help determine what kind of gym challenge you’ll have. I know that much. Also, I’ve heard as you level up, you’ll be able to encounter stronger and different Pokemon. Dunno if that’s for set levels. I’ll give more detail when I come across it, but I hope this helps you get started and not feel like you’re thrown in the deep end. Until next time, stay geeky, and catch ’em all.