ByMatthew Bailey, writer at Creators.co
I'm an Ubisoft Fanatic. Watch_Dogs, Assassin's Creed, Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell - Those are my jams! -- Married, father of two boys.
Matthew Bailey

We’ve been waiting, for what seems like forever our chance to catch our favorite Pokemon in ‘real’ life. Now, thanks to Niantic Labs and Nintendo, we finally have our chance to be an actual Pokemon trainer – and it’s AMAZING! News hit yesterday stating that Pokemon Go was available in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. For the rest of us in other areas of the world we waited patiently, and then it happened (at least for the US) at 9PM Eastern Standard Time, and we could officially download the game from both Google Play for Android devices and the App Store for iOS devices.

I’ve been playing for hours now, wandering around the best I can. I met my first Pokemon in my backyard, it was Venonat if you’re curious, and I can honestly say that I’m in love with this game. Hopefully you’ll download the app now and start playing (well, after you finish reading this article of course). So, now I’d like to help you get accustomed to how Pokemon GO works.

3 Simple Tips And Tricks

At some point we all need to just learn how to play new games as they come out, but it’s always nice to have some help as to how it works so we aren’t just spinning in circles. Here are 3 simple tips and tricks to get you well on your way to becoming the greatest Pokemon trainer ever.

Start Catching Them (Yes, All of Them)

Now, the whole premise of Pokemon GO builds off of Niantic’s smash-hit, Ingress, that had you traverse your neighborhoods and any part of the world that you were visiting and join in a global battle for power. It all rode on the concept of traveling to various locations in the real world (so physically moving around). Pokemon GO follows the same foundation, as you travel you’ll encounter new Pokemon – just like you did in all the Gameboy & DS games as you traveled from city to city in Kanto, Hoenn, Kanto, Sinnoh, Unova, Kalos and Alola.

If you’re like me, then you probably don’t have a lifestyle that causes you to pack up your bags on a weekly basis and travel cross-continentally, but don’t fret because staying in your neighborhood is a good thing, and essentially how you progress as a trainer. You’ll encounter the same Pokemon repeatedly, and you should be catching them all. The more of the same Pokemon you capture, the better, because as you capture them you gather a few extra goodies: ‘Stardust’ and a breed-specific candy. Also when you catch them, don’t forget to trade them back to the Professor and he’ll reward you with some extra candy.

You’ll need the Stardust to strengthen your Pokemon quickly, as well as evolve them to the next stage, and catching lots of the same Pokemon is the best way to guarantee (freely) that you’ll be able to strengthen your Pokemon and face the pivotal test: the Gym Battle.

Pay Attention To The Footprints and Rustling Leaves

Now, it isn’t “officially” explained as to what the footprints mean, but I believe that the footprints next to each Pokemon currently in your vicinity stand for how likely you are to encounter the Pokemon shown, and how close you are to them. In essence it’s like a simple game of “hot or cold” and you have to move around until you find them.

Along the same lines, as you’re moving through the real world, your augmented reality on your phone will have your character moving around interacting with the world. You’ll see the occasional rustling leaves as you move, these leaves hint that there may be Pokemon lurking around. This is where it gets interesting because the rustling leaves change based on time of day and (hopefully weather) so while you may find a Pidgey in the morning, you may discover a Haunter in the same vicinity at night.

Notifications Are Important

For many of us lifelong fans, who started playing the original games back in the ‘90s, we’ve been waiting for this game – but now that we work regular jobs and possibly have families of our own, we don’t have the time to wander around aimlessly looking for Pokemon. Yet, don’t let that stop you from capturing them, Pokemon GO has notification options that can help you track down Pokemon when they wander into your area.

The notifications only work if your phone is on, so if you set it down and the screen times out and locks you won’t be notified of available captures. But don’t worry you can purchase a $35 accessory, the Pokemon Go Plus wearable that will notify you of new Pokemon without you needing the phone to be constantly running.

Another option is to turn off the screen lock feature of your phones and just use the battery saver function, which just darkens the screen without locking it. This way you’ll still get the vibrating buzz when a new Pokemon is available so you can break away and catch it.

Are you ready to catch them all?