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Pokémon Go: Here’s how to play the new augmented reality game

Pokémon Go is now available in Australia, and that means the country has an army of wannabe Ash Ketchums out there.

We thought we’d relay all we know about the game to each and every new player.

In this guide:

Getting started and catching Pokémon

You’ll begin the game as a level one male or female trainer (take your pick!). After customising and naming your character, you’ll very quickly be shown your first Pokémon on the world map. Touch the Pokémon to attempt to catch it!

To catch a Pokémon, you’ll need to use your finger to throw a Pokéball at your target. You’ll notice it has a large red ring around it; inside that ring is a smaller green ring. Aim for the green ring, as it provides a nifty XP bonus. Catching a Pokémon will also give you Candy and Stardust, both used to power up Pokémon. Candy itself can also be used to evolve your Pokémon (see here.)

Initially, you won’t have to worry about a Pokémon escaping from a Pokéball once inside. That said, the more you level up and the more Pokémon you catch, you’d better be ready for a proper fight. Some Pokémon won’t have a green ring around them, but a red one instead — and that makes them even harder to snare. You can use Razz Berries to make Pokémon easier to catch.

pokemon go catch

To catch other Pokémon, you’ll have to walk around in the real world — Pokémon Go uses your phone’s GPS to show your position on the map — until you see one on the map itself (see above, left). Touching the Pokémon on the map will take you to the capture sequence (see above, right).

On the catch screen, you can also hit the camera button to the bottom left to take a photo first, or the items button to head to your stash of goodies.

If you’re curious as to which Pokémon are closest to you, you can hit the prompt in the bottom right — it’ll show silhouettes of ones close by, alongside a step indicator. One step is very close, two is a little further way and three is even further still.

Character XP and levels

Your character will start out as a level one trainer, but you can very quickly level him or her up. You do so by catching Pokémon — of course — but also by checking into (or spinning) Pokéstops. We’ll get into those in a minute.

Here’s what each action is worth. You’ll receive:

  • 100XP for any Pokémon you catch;
  • 500XP for catching a new Pokémon;
  • 10XP for a nice catch;
  • 10XP for a curveball Pokéball throw;
  • 50XP for a great catch;
  • 100XP for an excellent catch; and
  • 50XP for spinning a Pokéstop.

The game’s initial levels seem to require 4,000XP each. You can click on your trainer’s photo on the bottom left of the game’s main screen to see how you’re progressing, check your journal and also view your medal progress.

pokemon go character

Once your trainer hits level five, he or she can begin using Pokémon Gyms (see here).


pokemon go pokestops

Pokéstops are as important for gaining XP as they are for getting gear. They are represented on your (semi-) real world map as a blue point with two squares. When you’re close enough to a Pokéstop in the real world, it will expand, also showing a Pokéball symbol. If you’re not close enough, you’ll actually have to walk towards that location in the real world — Pokémon Go uses your phone’s GPS to show your position on the map.

Clicking on the Pokéstop will tell you more about it, but most importantly, spinning the stop’s circular icon will offer up new Pokéballs, eggs and potentially other items. You’ll need those Pokéballs to keep catching Pokémon!

pokemon go pokestop

Pokéstops that you’ve recently accessed will appear purple on the map; that means they won’t offer up new items. Once they go back to blue, it’s back on.

When you go to to Pokéstop, you can use a Lure Module — known inside the Pokéstop itself as a Pokéstop Module. That attracts Pokémon to that specific Pokéstop for 30 minutes. Best yet, the Lure Module works for not only you, but everyone that’s near that Pokéstop.

Your Pokédex

You can access a wealth of content by clicking on the center Pokéball icon on the main map screen. From there you can open your Pokédex, showing all the Pokémon you’ve caught so far.

The shop

The center Pokéball icon on the main map screen also leads to the store. From there you can exchange Pokécoins for Pokéballs, incense, eggs and more.

You can earn in-game Pokécoins by installing a Pokémon at a Gym; it’ll allow you to collect resources from that defensive position once every 24 hours. At defence level 1, we were awarded 10 Pokécoins.

If you elect to buy them, Aussie prices for Pokécoins are as follows:

  • $1.49 AUD for 100 Pokécoins;
  • $7.99 AUD for 550 Pokécoins;
  • $14.99 AUD for 1,200 Pokécoins;
  • $30.99 AUD for 2,500 Pokécoins;
  • $62.99 AUD for 5,200 Pokécoins; and
  • $159.99 AUD for 14,500 Pokécoins.
Your Pokémon — powering up and evolving

The center Pokéball icon on the main map screen also leads to your Pokémon.

pokemon go evolve

Clicking on a Pokémon lets you do a variety of things:

  • You can rename your Pokémon by clicking the pencil icon to the right of its current name.
  • You can power up the Pokémon by clicking on “Power Up” — this requires Stardust and Candy.
  • You can also evolve your Pokémon by clicking on “Evolve” — this requires a lot of Candy, though. You’ll need to catch a lot of that Pokémon before you can do this.
  • Scrolling down will show you the Pokémon’s attacks and where you caught it.
  • Scrolling down will also allow you to transfer the Pokémon back to Professor Willow. Clicking “Transfer” will remove the Pokémon from your collection — and permanently — but in exchange gives you Candy for that type. It’s a good move if you have multiples of the same Pokémon and want to power up or evolve your main.


The Pokémon area also provides access to eggs that you’ve uncovered at Pokéstops.

You can incubate and eventually hatch the eggs as follows:

  • Click on an egg. It will show you how far you’ll have to walk to hatch it.
  • Click on “Start Incubation” to put the egg in an incubator. You’ll then have to get walking!
  • If you want to save battery while incubating your egg, go to settings and turn on Battery Saver. If you walk around with the app open, but your phone turned bottom to top, your screen will turn off but the app will still register your movement.

pokemon go egg

It appears you can only incubate and hatch one egg at a time with your starter Incubator, though it does have infinite users. We received a three-use Incubator when we hit level six, and you can buy more Incubators through the in-game shop.


The center Pokéball icon on the main map screen also leads to your Items.

From here, you can check on and use a number of items.

Here’s what we know of so far:

  • Pokéballs: How many you have to catch more Pokémon.
  • Potions: Can be used to restore 20HP to a Pokémon that’s taken a beating at a gym.
  • Revive: Can be used to revive a fainted Pokémon. It will restore half the Pokémon’s XP.
  • Incense: Can be used to lure wild Pokémon to your location for 30 minutes.
  • Lure modules: These are used at Pokéstops and attract wild Pokémon to that location for 30 minutes. The Lure affects not only yourself but any other trainer that uses the Pokéstop.
  • Lucky Egg: These provide a double XP boost for 30 minutes.
  • Razz Berries: These make it easier to catch a Pokémon. You can use one by clicking the items button (in the bottom right) when trying to catch a Pokémon.

Pokémon Gyms

Once you hit level five, you can head to Pokémon Gyms.

Before you battle, you’ll be able to choose from one of three teams:

pokemon go gym teams

If you find a gym that’s empty, you can install yourself as the gym’s Leader. That’ll pit your best Pokémon against other real life players’.

If you go to an occupied gym of a different colour to your team — red or blue if you’re yellow, as an example — you’ll be able to fight that Leader. If you go to a friendly gym — one the same colour as your team’s — you’ll be able to train with at Leader. To do so in either case, click on the punching glove to the right. It’ll auto-select your strongest Pokémon to fight with, though you can select a different one if you wish.

pokemon go gym battle

You can attack by tapping your opponent, or you can swipe left or right when fighting to dodge attacks. Successful attacks will build your super; a long press on your opponent will trigger it.

Winning a gym battle will earn you XP. If you’re in control of a gym, you’ll earn gym prestige. If your team isn’t in control of that gym, you’ll decrease its prestige. In the image above and to the right, the gym has 2,000 prestige out of 4,000 available for that gym level. Once you go over that amount of prestige, you’ll level the gym up.

If your team is in control of a gym, you can assign one of your Pokémon to help support it as well. The level of the gym corresponds to how many Pokémon can watch over it; a level 3 gym can have 3 Pokémon installed, as an example.

Do you have any tips for new or returning players? Let us know in the comments below!

Pokemon GO is available on both (select) Android and iOS devices.

Update: We’ve started some advanced tips right here.


Steve Wrighthttps://www.stevivor.com
Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist for the past ten years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.