So you've downloaded Pokemon Go, the internet is awash with pictures of Weedles in people's cereal and Tentacools in toilets but what's the best way to actually play? Here are some quick tips I wish I'd known before I started.
That collection of three (probably) greyed out Pokemon at the bottom right of your screen indicates what's in your area and how close they are. Touch that menu and you'll see what critters are around. No pawprints means you're right on top of the Pokemon and should see them pop up shortly, while two or three paws means you need to wander a bit. Got a Meowth in one paw? He’ll buzz shortly. Try walking in a big circle. Even around your flat can sometimes work.
The floaty blue bricks you can hopefully see spread out around the map are what's known as Pokestops. They tend to be local landmarks like churches and tourist spots but I found some charity shops in there too. When you get into range, you'll get a bit of info, a nice picture and, most importantly a slew of new items that probably contains some much needed Pokeballs.
You don’t need to go right up to a Pokemon to catch it. If it has appeared on your map then you just need to touch it with your finger and you’ll enter the catching screen for Pokeball flicking. This means you don't need to go into a stranger's garden/car/personal space to retrieve a Pikachu. Phew.
If you can see pink petals falling around a Pokestop, that means someone has attached a lure. This means Pokemon will be attracted to it and it’s active for 30 minutes. This can be used by all trainers so be a good human and activate at a stop you think most people could benefit from it.
The incense item is exceptionally useful if you want to bring in the most wild Pokemon right to your spot. Unlike the lure which can be shared, the incense means you'll produce a purple cloud for half an hour that will draw Pokemon to you. This is really helpful if you are perhaps in an area where you aren't going to go terribly often. I used incense at the beach the other day to make sure I got the most water Pokemon.
Make sure you use all available incubators for eggs. These depend on you walking a certain distance so the minute you have a free incubator, get an egg in it - don’t waste those steps. You'll find the eggs in the section next to your Pokemon and when they hatch you'll get a tonne of stardust you can use for upgrading your pocket monsters.
Keep up with your items. You have a limited number of item spaces and this fills up remarkably quickly if you’re hitting a lot of Pokestops. Want to use up some bits? Try dishing out those Razz berries to hard to catch Pokemon. Turns out they really love fruit and it'll make them easier to catch in your Pokeball.
So it turns out that if you have really fast fingers, you can nab Pokemon from the train or bus. The app doesn't count your travel as steps but you can still see Pokemon on the map and if you can tap them quick enough, you can capture them from your seat. You'll need to be fast with that Pokeball though or they'll disappear. Cheaty...
You have a choice of three teams to play as once you reach Level 5 - Instinct, Mystic or Valour. Team Instinct is yellow, Mystic blue, and Valour red so this is why you can see different colours associated with gyms in your area. If you're wise, get your friends on the same team and you can strengthen gyms of the same colour together.
So those big imposing towers with certain levels and team colours? They're gyms and largely reside in big landmarks such as train stations. Gyms run on Prestige and can store up to 10 Pokemon. If a challenger arrives and gets through all of the Pokemon, they can remove Prestige and potentially try and steal the gym for their own team. When you win at a gym, you have to leave a Pokemon to fight for you. Understandably, you won't want to leave your best Pokemon but if you leave a weak one, they'll level up. Just remember you won't get them back until your team has been defeated.
To fight a Pokemon at the gym, you don't have the same set up as the standard game. When you arrive in the arena you only have two move types - basic and special. In order to perform your basic attack all your need to do is tap away on your Pokemon. Fill up the special meter and you can send out your special attack by holding your finger on your Pokemon. You'll also need to dodge incoming attacks too, which is just a matter of swiping left and right on the screen.
If you want to fight at gyms you're going to have to level up your Pokemon, so that means increasing their CP stat. You can do this in the power up section when you are looking at your individual monsters - a combination of Stardust and Candy will do the trick. You can get Candy when you send back that specific Pokemon to Professor Willow so keep an eye out for that specific Pokemon and keep sending them back to earn more. It's big numbers of Candy that'll let you evolve too.
Here's an interesting factoid - a member of the GamesRadar+ team wanted to get closer to a Pokestop without actually moving physically closer to it, and he found that restarting the app made his character appear close enough to quickly claim the items. If you can't quite get in range of your target then that might give you the boost you need.
Do you have any more tips for Pokemon Go? Let us know about them in the comments.