By now, you must be familiar with Pokémon Go, the latest Pokémon game for iOS and Android that uses VR and real-world locations to send players on an IRL quest to catch Pokémon. But considering it’s a global phenomenon, Pokémon Go is surprisingly lacking in beginner instruction. This may be on purpose—Pokémon Go has a huge social element, and fewer instructions means more people turning to each other for help.
But if you’d rather not ask your 10-year-old neighbor for the basics, we’ve put together a beginner’s guide that will answer all your questions about hunting down Pokémon, nabbing items, and sating your desire for world domination by controlling all of your neighborhood gyms.
How do I find Pokémon?
When you first start the game, you will see three starter Pokémon spawn/appear in your area: Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle. You can pick one of these Pokémon to catch, and once you catch it, the other two Pokémon will disappear. But finding your next Pokémon isn’t quite so easy—you’ll need to venture outside to find more Pokémon. Pokémon tend to spawn in areas that are well-populated, like parks, tourist attractions, and shopping centers. You’ll also find different Pokémon in different areas—water-type Pokémon will only show up near bodies of water, for example, while grass-type Pokémon can be found in parks.
You can also find areas where Pokémon are more likely to spawn by looking at your map: Areas with leaves flying up in the air are more likely to spawn wild Pokémon.
To catch a Pokémon, you’ll need to hit it with Poké Balls. This is fairly easy—just tap the Poké Ball and flick it toward the Pokémon. Each Pokémon will have a circle that is green, yellow, or red: Green means the Pokémon is easier to catch, while red means it’s difficult. As soon as you put your finger on the Poké Ball, the circle will start shrinking; if you hit the Pokémon while the circle is smaller, it will be easier to catch (and less likely to break free).
How do I run from Pokémon?
You can run away from a Pokémon instead of catching it by tapping the run icon in the upper left corner of the screen. You may want to do this if you find yourself wasting Poké Balls on a low-level or common Pokémon.