How to play Pokémon GO?

Sign up

To sign up for the game, you'll need to use your Google account or sign up for a Pokémon Trainer Club account. Pokémon Go stores all your information on its servers, so you'll need to use one of these two methods to link your Pokémon data to your device.

After signing up, you'll want to customize your digital avatar. You can choose your gender, eye colour, hair colour, shirt, hat, pants, shoes, and the style of your backpack. Once you've done so, you'll enter the main area of the game: The Pokémon Go map.

pokemon go avatar customization
pokemon go map

Essentially, the main area of the game is a brightly-animated version of Google Maps. You'll see (unmarked) roads, rustling grass (marking Pokémon in the area), and local landmarks disguised as PokéStops and Pokémon Gyms. As you move in the real world, your avatar does too. Pokémon will pop up on the map with a small vibration as you walk along, and if you tap on them, you can try to capture them.

Player icon: Your player icon is at the bottom left corner of the screen. Tap on this to view your character's information, as well as a list of in-game achievements.

Backpack: This is where all the items you pick up on your journey are stored.

Pokédex: Your index of Pokémon, complete with information on all the species you've already caught.

Pokémon: Here, you can see all the Pokémon that are in your possession.

Nearby Pokémon: Tap on the bottom right corner of the screen to see which Pokémon are nearby.

Pokemon nearby

Pokémon Go uses your phone's GPS to track your location. The avatar moves as you move in real world. You can catch your favourite little creatures as you walk around. They are out and about all around you in the real world just waiting to be captured.

Turn on your Pokémon Go application and enjoy walking around. When you get close to a Pokémon, your phone will vibrate to alert you, and you will see it on the game map. Then all you have to do is tap on the Pokémon, and toss your Poké Ball!

When in Map View, you'll notice a small grey box to the right of your virtual avatar, which displays a few Pokémon icons. Some of these icons will be coloured in, revealing a complete drawing of a Pokémon. These are Pokémon you have encountered in the game before. Other icons will appear greyed out. These are Pokémon you have not yet encountered.

Tap box, and you'll see a menu pop up with up to nine Pokémon in your local area, each with little footprint markings underneath. The number of footprints indicates how far away that particular Pokémon is. If you see a single footprint or no footprints, it means the Pokémon you are tracking is quite close. On your map, you'll see little bursts of leaves, which helps indicate where those nearby Pokémon might be hiding.

Anything with two or three footprints means you've got some walking to do, though the game doesn't make it clear which direction you should head in. You're basically playing Warmer/Colder with the Nearby feature until you find the Pokémon you want.