While these days the black-and-white pixelated graphics of Pokémon Red and Green look a bit crude, the vast world and attention to detail was a huge step up from arcade games of the ‘70s and ‘80s.
From there, the franchise quickly exploded in popularity, and in came Pokémon cards, manga, and eventually an anime television series. Now, some of those Pokémon cards we ‘90s kids all traded our allowances for during recess sell for thousands of dollars to collectors. Wait, was I the only one that did that? Never mind.
In 2016 — 20 years after Pokémon Red and Green’s first release in Japan — Niantic published Pokémon GO, an augmented reality mobile game for iOS and Android that integrated the player’s real life surroundings with 3D Pokémon characters. Though augmented reality has been around for a long time, Pokémon GO has arguably raised a high bar for future games and changed the gaming industry.
While it’s true people are still looking to their phones when they shouldn’t, Pokémon GO gets people out of the house, exercising, and interacting with others. Many have even expressed it helps them battle their health issues. Plus, it’s just plain fun, so it’s no wonder people are still playing it daily and new players are still downloading the app.
So for you new players out there, here’s 25 tricks that should help you catch ‘em all.
25 Buy Spare Incubators
Sitting on your phone is not a recommended method.
Since incubators have limited use, you’re going to want to stock up on extras. The more incubators you have, the more eggs you can hatch. The more eggs you can hatch at once, the more Pokémon you get, and the less you have to walk. It’s a win-win!
24 Buy More Pokemon Storage Right Away
Like the name suggests, buying more storage will allow you to carry around more items, which can only help you catch more Pokémon. Upgraded bags give you an additional 50 spaces in your inventory for you to fill with Poké Balls and incubators, upwards to a maximum of 2,000 spaces.
You’ll also want to invest in some Pokémon storage upgrades, which — you guessed it — allows you to carry more Pokémon.
23 Mass-Evolve Your Pokémon
As exciting as it is to find your Pokémon are ready to evolve, both because getting new Pokémon is fun and you get XP from evolving them, don’t just stuff your Pidgeys full of candy to get them evolving the second they’re ready.
Instead, save your evolutions and keep an eye out for Pokémon GO events that offer double XP. While you’re at it, save your Lucky Eggs, too, since they increase your XP gain for 30 minutes. When you’ve got all your bonuses ready, mass-evolve all the Pokémon you can and watch all that sweet sweet XP roll in.
22 Catch ‘Em All — Literally
As mentioned in the last point, a great way to wrack up your XP is to mass-evolve your Pokémon with Lucky Eggs or during XP bonus events. So in your early days, keep as many Pokémon as you have candies for — even the duplicate low-Combat Power Pokémon.
These are the exact Pokémon you’re going to want to mass-evolve when the time comes. Doing this will help you level up faster, and the faster you level up, the higher chance you have at getting stronger Pokémon. See, mom, I told you hoarding had benefits!
21 Don’t Wait To Hatch Your Eggs
Although it might seem like a good idea to save your Pokémon eggs until you’ve reached higher levels, this is actually the opposite of what you should do.
When you acquire a new Pokémon egg, the Pokémon doesn’t level up with you; its stats remain limited to whatever level you were when you got it. Meaning, if you wait until you’re level 50 to hatch the egg you got at level 12, the Pokémon’s strength won’t match those you caught at higher levels. So hatch your eggs as soon as you can!
20 Do Research Tasks At Community Events
If you’re looking to fill out your Pokédex with shinies or other rare Pokémon you might not be able to find while you’re wandering out and about in the wild, be sure to attend your local Pokémon community events to increase your chances to bag some goodies.
During these events, the spawn rate for particular Pokémon is increased, so players have a chance to catch uncommon Pokémon (bragging rights included) and meet fellow players from their neighbourhood. While you’re there, you’ll want to do as many Research Tasks as you possibly can, because the more tasks you complete, the more Pokémon you can get.
19 Save Your Coins For Special Events
By now, you’ve probably noticing a trend with these tips: save save save. There’s a lot of cool stuff in Pokémon GO, and it can be easy for new players to get taken up in their eagerness to level up and catch rare Pokémon, but there’s benefits to saving.
Occasionally, Pokémon GO holds special events — often during the holidays — where a ton of items are available to purchase in bundles. So if you’re in need of Lucky Eggs, lures, Poké Balls, and incense, it’s a good idea to check for any upcoming events before spending your hard-earned cash.
18 Pay Attention To The Weather
As any fan of Pokémon knows, every Pokémon is part of an elemental category, such as water or fire, and because of that, they come with their own strengths and weaknesses.
One of the cool things about Pokémon GO is that it utilizes the real life weather conditions of its players to create a more realistic gaming experience. For example, if you’re playing during a rainy day, you’re more likely to run into a water-type Pokémon and get more Stardust, and the water Pokémon you already own will get a power boost. So don’t let bad weather get you down!
17 Build A Battle Team Early
Pokémon battles have been around since the very beginning; after all, that was sort of the whole point. So it’s not surprising that Pokémon GO also comes with its own gym system, and offers a few different ways for players can get their Pokémon fighting.
Even beginner players should focus on creating a team of Pokémon with varying elemental strengths for gym battles. It doesn’t have to be a perfect team, but taking control of a gym and getting your Pokémon to remain there will give you coins and other bonuses, which can only help you in the long run.
16 Don’t Waste Your Money On Incense
Since catching all the Pokémon is the name of the game, purchasing incense seems like a good idea, right?
Incense: lures monsters to players like hipsters to Starbucks.
Well, that’s up for debate. Although catching Pokémon is important, and there’s plenty of guides for how to use incense, some believe it’s a waste of money when it’s likely going to draw in the same kind of Pokémon you’ll get just by walking around. So it’s probably best to proceed with caution before you buy.
15 Level Up Before You Go After Powerful Pokémon
Having powerful Pokémon is exciting, but it’s better to wait until you’ve levelled up and gained some experience with low-CP Pokémon before jumping right into a raid against a powerful Pokémon.
Mewtwo didn’t get powerful by being easy to catch.
A Pokémon’s max CP is based on your level. For example, if you’re level 15, your Pikachu’s CP maxes out at 337. So even if you have a few strong Pokémon yourself, if the Boss’s CP is significantly higher than your Pokémon’s, it will still be difficult to catch, and so you’re more likely to waste your resources trying.
14 Discard Tasks You Don’t Like
This one’s pretty straightforward, but if you’re just starting out, it’s easy to get caught up trying to do every task that’s handed to you.
Tasks are daily challenges given at PokéStops that give you rewards upon completion. The more days you complete count towards a Research Breakthrough, which gives you an opportunity to catch rare Pokémon.
While tasks are meant to be a challenge, you’ll occasionally get one you’re not up for. Instead of saving it for another day, it’s better to throw it away and try something else rather than let an incomplete task gather dust.
13 Get 7KM Eggs From Your Friends
Pokémon GO is great for going out and interacting with your fellow nerd. Alongside the increased social interaction and decreased depression observed from players, forming friendships through the game also gives you in-game benefits, such as friendship bonuses, the ability to trade, and sending gifts.
Putting on pants has never been so beneficial.
One such gift available is the 7km egg, which is exclusive only through friendship gift exchanges. With 7km eggs, you have a chance to hatch an Alolan Pokémon, a regional variation of Pokémon that have their own abilities.
12 Don’t Throw While Pokémon Are Attacking
Stumbling upon a Pokémon that you’ve been dying to catch can be exciting and nerve wracking all at once, but remember that there is a bit of skill and know-how involved in successful catches — otherwise there’d be no need for a tips list.
Keep calm and remember your training.
Patience is a virtue, even in Pokémon GO. Because of how the game’s mechanics work, learning how to time throws — many reporting success after the attack animation — and for which Pokémon can benefit you and net you more Legendary Pokémon.
11 Place Lures At Close-Quarters PokéStops
PokéStops are points where players receive XP and items when they visit. They’re also where you can set lures to encourage Pokémon or other trainers to visit.
Since Stops are usually local monuments, they also encourage learning.
If you live near a hot spot where there are lots of PokéStops close together, you can cut down on physical effort by placing a few lures among them, which will bring more Pokémon to you, and spend some quality time spinning the PokéStops every few minutes to get more items.
10 Catch Common Pokémon For Stardust
One of the key ingredients needed to get more powerful Pokémon is Stardust. Stardust allows you to power up your Pokémon, and each time you catch a new one you gain more Stardust.
Stardust: it’s like magic fairy dust, but for monsters.
Like most tips on this list, it’s recommended that you hoard your Stardust and use it strategically, and the more Pokémon you catch, the more Stardust you get. So even if you already have 20 Eevee, go ahead and catch another one to add to your Stardust stockpile.
9 Don’t Just Use The Team The Game Recommends
Turns out computers aren’t always right.
Pokémon GO now recommends raid teams for you. While there’s some mixed opinions about the teams the game recommends, the game builds your team based on the opponent type, and on resistance rather than attack. So while the pre-made teams might not be the best option for you to go with, it does pay to give them some consideration.
8 Check Local Parks For Nests
If you’re looking for a way to fill out your Pokédex with Pokémon that tend to stay in specific areas rather than the common types you can find everywhere, then heading to your local park in search of Pokémon nests is a great way to get started.
Parks also have wasp nests, which are significantly less cute.
Because nests spawn high numbers of the same Pokémon, they’re also great spots to collect candy for that particular Pokémon if your supplies are running low.
7 Level Up Before You Spend Your Stardust
As you know, the strength of your Pokémon and the Pokémon you find out in the wild depends on your player level. Since you can’t buy Stardust and can only get it through playing, you’ll want to learn how to use it wisely.
Many players recommend waiting until you’ve reached level 15 or higher to start using Stardust, since the lower your Pokémon’s CP, the more Stardust you’ll need to increase it to maximum power. It’s much better to save your Stardust for Pokémon that are already close to their maximum power so you’ll get more out of it.
6 Don’t Use Your Strongest Pokémon For Gyms
This one might have you scratching your head. Obviously if you’re going to leave Pokémon to defend your gym, you want your best and strongest because it’ll last longer and you’ll get more coins, right? Well, not necessarily.
Bigger isn’t always better.
Ultimately, the stronger your Pokemon is, the harder it’ll be to beat, and the longer it’ll stay in the gym where it slowly loses HP and can’t be removed. Unfortunately, the rewards have significantly decreased in recent years, so you’re better off sending a low-CP Pokémon to the gym and keeping your best at hand for raids.
5 Keep Tasks That Reward Pokémon Encounters
I know, I know, I just said you should toss away tasks that you’re not up to doing. But if ever there’s an exception to that rule, this is where it comes into play.
Professor Willow’s got the good stuff.
Occasionally, rewards for completing Field Tasks will be encounters with Pokémon. These are the tasks you’ll want to try your best to complete, because the Pokémon you encounter may be a less-common one. You can also complete Special Research Tasks for Pokémon encounters, including one for the Mythical Pokémon Mew.
4 Save Rare Candies For Legendaries
Like Stardust, candy is an important item to keep handy for when you want to give your Pokémon a power boost or evolve them. Pokémon will only eat candies that are made specifically for them, so unfortunately you can’t feed your Meowth candies that are meant for Jigglypuff.
I’d rather eat food meant for me, too.
Since catching Pokémon only gives you candy specifically for them, it’s difficult to power up your rare Pokémon. However, any Pokémon will eat Rare Candy, so even if you don’t have any Legendaries when you get rare candies, save them for when you do!
3 Be Strategic With Technical Machines
There’s more to Pokémon GO than just going for a walk and catching Pokémon. As I’ve beaten over your head repeatedly by now, mastering the game requires some patience, but it also requires some strategy.
Technical Machines (or TMs) can be obtained through completing research tasks or prizes from winning raid battles, and they’re what you use to teach your Pokémon new attacks. Using TMs makes a Pokémon forget an old move, and the new moves are randomized, so make sure you consider your options before choosing.
2 Save Blue Incubators For Long-Distance Eggs
Egg hatching can be a challenge. You have to walk a certain distances with your eggs in an incubator, and as mentioned above, incubators have a limited number of uses.
Though it might seem a little backwards, a good way to get the most out of your incubators is to put your short-distance eggs into the orange, infinite-use incubator, and your long-distance eggs into the blue ones. Replace the short-distance eggs as they hatch, and in the time it takes to hatch one long-distance egg, you’ll have hatched several short-distance ones without losing your blue incubator!
1 Don’t Let Sentimentality Win
You may have heard the phrase “[end] your darlings” before. It’s a popular piece of writing advice that basically means “get rid of stuff you don’t need.” Surprisingly, it also works for Pokémon GO.
Does anyone else hear Sarah McLachlan? No? Okay.
Look, we all get attached to our first Pokémon. You’ve spent a lot of time with them, it’s only natural. But unfortunately, your first Pokémon will likely not be able to keep up with the ones you catch and hatch as you level up and will just take up valuable space. Fare thee well, old monster friends.