Now reading...
Going Out with Pokemon GO

Pokemon GO
Pokemon Go. Will it go hard or go home? The beta for Pokemon GO has been out for almost a month and it is now time to talk about it. I was fortunate enough to be one of the beta testers who went out to go catch’em all!

Pokemon GO is currently in beta testing with an expected July release date. This will be Pokemon’s first big attempt in going into the mobile field with such a huge project. So a lot of people are excited for this opportunity.

Personally I have been indifferent about Pokemon GO. I never went out to search for information about Pokemon GO and how it played. I simply listen to podcasts and read the press releases about the game. This was done so I could go into the game with an open mind without too many expectations. The only expectation that I wanted for Pokemon GO was that it was going to be a Pokemon game on my iPhone where I get to catch and battle Pokemon in a brand new way.


MapThe first thing you need to know about Pokemon GO is that it works on a geocaching system. The game uses your GPS coordinates on your phone to see where you are. It then searches out Pokemon that are close by to you in a 200 meter radius. Once you have picked out a Pokemon to go after, you can simply walk towards it. The game does a good job in telling you how far you are from a certain Pokemon. When you get to the Pokemon then you have the chance to catch it.

I have heard about geocaching before and was curious about it. Pokemon GO really makes it simple to do because it tells you how far you are from the specific point where the Pokemon is. Though it can become much more then just that as you will see when I go into my thoughts and experience with the game. So lets get into it.

As soon as you open up the Pokemon GO app, you are greeted by a Pokemon professor. Those who like the trainer customization from Pokemon XY will enjoy this part as you get to choose your character and customized it. You do not have too many options when it comes to clothes but it is enough to create a character that is ready to go into the brave new world of Pokemon.

Once you customize your trainer then you are all ready to go out to catch some Pokemon. The first Pokemon you will catch is a choice between Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle. This is suppose to act as a tutorial to catching Pokemon in Pokemon GO. You get to catch one of these Pokemon as your first Pokemon. The problem is that this isn’t a good tutorial as you have to stumble around with throwing Pokeballs and figure out where you need to throw the Pokeball in other to catch the Pokemon.

Now that you have your first Pokemon then you can really get into Pokemon GO. This is the best part of Pokemon GO where you get to go out and capture Pokemon. In the bottom corner you get to see which Pokemon are in the area and how far they are. It is an amazing feeling to pick out a Pokemon to go after. You can see the distance between you and you can feel your excitement as the Pokemon you want goes from 200 meter to 20 meter. When you get to the last 20 meters then you know you are about to catch the Pokemon. It becomes really fun when you get to that part of the game.

EncounterWhat is even more fun is that you may encounter other Pokemon as you are en-route to the Pokemon that you are chasing after. You are simply walking and then you feel a vibration that is telling you that there is a Pokemon that you can catch. It is always your choice if you want to catch the Pokemon but any Pokemon trainer will want to catch the Pokemon. After all, you may find a Pokemon that you haven’t seen before or gather more Candy to evolve another Pokemon of that species that you have already captured.

The act of catching Pokemon is one of the best and honest Pokemon experiences that Pokemon GO does so well. You feel a real sense of adventure when you are just out there and catching Pokemon just like in the main series games. Though the only difference is that you are actually activity moving around and seeking out the Pokemon.

You can go around your neighborhood to catch Pokemon in Pokemon GO but I do not think that is the best way to play. Playing in your neighborhood will restrict you to your backyard and street which restricts your movement. Even worst, there may be a Pokemon in a neighbor’s backyard that you are unable to access. It is the worst feeling when Pokemon GO says there is a Pokemon in an area where you can’t get into. That Eevee is so close yet so far!

Now, if you want to truly enjoy Pokemon GO then you will need to go to a open area like a park. Luckily I had a huge park close by that allowed me to do this. Places like the park had tons of PokeStops and Gyms for me to explore. I simply stayed on the path and caught any Pokemon that was found on it. It was amazing to simply jog around and feel a vibration to indicated that a Pokemon was close by to capture. The park can give you plenty of opportunities to find a varity of Pokemon that you can capture such as Tangela, Zubat, and Jigglypuff. These Pokemon may be simply the ones in my area so it may vary compare to what you may find. Either way, a park is perfect for this game as it is a safe environment that is open enough to allow you to explore and capture plenty of Pokemon.

When you encounter a gym then that is where you will take part in battles. If the gym is under somebody control then you are able to challenge the Pokemon that was left behind. The battling system isn’t what you are use to in Pokemon games but it is perfect for the Pokemon GO experience.

You are simply tapping on your Pokemon to make them battle the opponent’s Pokemon but it is more then just that. There is also the option to make the Pokemon move around the circular battlefield in order to dodge attacks and catch the opponent’s Pokemon by surprise. That is quite different compare to the main series games. This way you, the trainer, can play an active role in the battle. The battles are quick so you can take part in a battle and two minutes later you will be done. If you challenge the gyms enough times then you can take over the gym as your own.

The PokeStops are slightly disappointing. They are mostly at landmarks such as churches, signs, and other well known locations. You can easily find them if you rotate your perspective. The problem is that there isn’t much to do at them. In the beta, they were simply used to install Lure Patches. That is if you know that this was the function that the PokeStops play. If you do this then Pokemon will be attracted to the PokeStop. It makes it easier to gather more Candy to evolve Pokemon. If you are looking for PokeStops to farm Candy then this will be perfect but overall I was disappointed at the use of the PokeStop.


Before I go over my final thoughts on Pokemon GO, I want to answer a few questions I was asked about the game. My responses will be based on my experience with the game.

BattlingQuestion 1: How the battling systems works?
The battling system is a simple tap and move game. You tap on your Pokemon and they will preform an attack. Each Pokemon that you capture will come with two attacks that they could learn. There is a basic attack and an advance attack. I do not know how the Pokemon chooses which attack to use but sometimes it will use the stronger attack when you tap on the Pokemon.

The battlefield is a circle and you have the option to move your Pokemon around. This will help your Pokemon in dodging attacks. I also think that it helps to put you in a better position to attack your opponent.

There is a bit more control as using a Pokemon who is super effective against the Pokemon at the gym. So the type advantage system is being implemented in Pokemon GO.

The battling system is rather simple but I believe it was made like this so the battles will be quick so you don’t spend too much time in one spot.

Question 2: How does evolving works?
I didn’t collect enough Candy to evolve a Pokemon so I didn’t have the chance to evolve any of my Pokemon.

Though from what I can tell, it takes 50 Candies to fully evolve Pokemon. If a Pokemon evolves once then they need 50 Candies to evolve. If a Pokemon evolves twice then they will evolve when you feed them 25 Candies and they will evolve again when you feed them 25 more Candies. So an Oddish will evolve into Gloom when you feed it 25 Oddish Candy. That Gloom will evolve into Vileplume when you collect and feed it 25 Oddish Candy. Though when you evolve a Pokemon, you need to choose an Oddish out of twenty-five to evolve. So in the end you will have one Gloom and twenty-four Oddish.

Questions 3: How do gyms work?
When you find a gym, you will have two options. You can challenge the gym if it is in the control of another team. Once you have dropped that gym’s prestige by defeating the leader a few times then you can control that gym by leaving your own Pokemon. You can leave any of your Pokemon there.

If the gym isn’t under anybody’s control then you can take it over for your team. I left my strongest Pokemon there to defend the gym. I haven’t checked up on him but I hope he is doing fine.

SomethingQuestion 4: Is the Pokemon Go Plus going to be helpful?

It is nice to hold my phone in my hand while walking and throwing Pokeballs by swiping my finger. The problem is that this can get tiring. If I had the ability to simply just stop for a moment and press a button to catch a Pokemon then that will be easier at times. It can be a bit awkward to simply stand at a busy sidewalk and pointing your phone at some empty area while throwing Pokeballs. Especially if there is only one Pokemon around you.

So if you are going to be in an area with mostly just one Pokemon then Pokemon GO Plus is going to be useful for you. Especially if you are planning to farm Candies to evolve Pokemon.

Question 5: How do I get fossil Pokemon?
I honestly have no idea. I didn’t encounter any fossil Pokemon to see if they are in the game. There are Pokemon Eggs so my best guess is that you will get fossils in the game to eventually revive. Overall, I have no idea.

Question 6: Are Pokemon inside buildings?
You can find Pokemon inside buildings. I have capture a Rattata inside a school and just this morning I found a whole bunch of Pokemon such as Drowzee and Jynx inside my hotel room.

Question 7: Where are the Ghost Pokemon located?
You can find them in normal places just like the rest of the Pokemon. I am going to guess that it will all depends on where you are though as I found none in my neighborhood.

Question 8: How often do Pokemon pop up?
They are pretty regular. The Pokemon GO up shows you Pokemon that are 200 meters away. So if you walk for about five minutes then you can easily find a few. Sometimes you can find them swarming around you and it is up to you on which one you want to catch.

There was only one time when I logged into Pokemon GO and found no Pokemon. When that happened, I simply closed the app and reopened it. After that I found a few Pokemon that I could chase after.
Map 2
Question 9: Are Pokemon in set locations? (Ex: If a Pikachu appears in the corner of my backyard, can I expect more Pikachu in the same corner?
The locations where Pokemon spawn can vary. I did notice that sometimes Pokemon will appear in the same spot as another as another. Though it wasn’t the same one as the one that was there before.

Most of the time Pokemon just appear at random places. I am going to guess that when a Pokemon appeared in the same spot as another one that it was coincidence.

Question 10: Where is my Shuckle?!?!
When Pokemon GO is release, it will only have Generation One Pokemon in it. So that means Pokemon from Generation Two and beyond will not be included. It has been mention that these Pokemon will be included later on in the game.

As to where is Shuckle, I am going to say that because the beta is a reflection of what is going to be release then it was decided to simply use Generation One Pokemon in the beta.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Pokemon GO is a pretty fun app. It really encourage you to get out and go explore the area around you. When I saw that my choice in Pokemon was restricted in my neighborhood because of the fences, I went right away to the park to explore the open area there for Pokemon. I haven’t been to this park in years. So if Pokemon GO’s intentions was to get me to visit places like the park and explore then it was successful.

I would recommend that there was some sort of tutorial system. Maybe it could go in-depth in explaining how to capture Pokemon and how to throw the Pokeball. I heard that a curve ball raises the chances of capturing a Pokemon and I did throw a few. The problem is that I had no idea how to throw one. Maybe there could be a tutorial in how to search out a Pokemon as well. That way it will be easier for people to understand the interface.

I can also see how Pokemon GO was built. It was meant to be a quick and easy thing that people can do as they walk around. The capturing and battling system reflects that. It may not be the Pokemon experience that most Pokemon fans are use to but it is one that works for Pokemon GO. Even if you fail in capturing a Pokemon then you can quickly get back to your walk to capture another one.

This experience with Pokemon GO was amazing and I am excited for the full game to be release. Pokemon GO can really go places when it is release later this year. So you better look forward to having this game on your phones!

Enjoy the screenshots from the game below and get ready to go out with Pokemon GO!

Ongoing Conversation