How to Play Pokemon Go: A Beginner’s Guide

Last Updated: July 15, 2016

If you grew up wanting to be the best Pokemon Master in the entire world, then your dream is about to come true because Pokemon Go is now available for download on both Android and iOS. This Augmented Reality game lets you transform your entire world into a Pokemon world where you can catch, trade, and battle with powerful Pokemon. If you grew up watching the Pokemon cartoons, then you know how much fun it is to train your team of Pokemon and take them to battles against other players and gyms to collect badges.

Pokemon Go is now available in the U.S. for download, and you can get it for free from your particular phone’s app store. However, people outside the U.S. can also play the game by simply installing it from another source. Check the simple method below to play Pokemon Go outside U.S.

How to download and play Pokemon Go Outside U.S.

Just head over to Google and search “Pokemon Go APK”. Download the APK file from a reliable source to your phone. Go to Settings > Security and Enable “Unknown Sources”. Now you can install the APK on your Android phone and start playing Pokemon Go outside the U.S.

For iPhone users, follow our tutorial on how you can install Pokemon Go if it is not available in your country yet.

How to Play Pokemon Go?

The above gym is beaten and taken over by Supratim ‘Heatedline’ Chakraborty. Beat him!

Now, that you have finally learned how to download Pokemon Go outside the U.S., you need actually to learn the basics of the game itself and how to play it. The game is pretty simple and straightforward. All you have to do is use your phone’s GPS Location and go around the town to discover new Pokemon, find other trainers, battle Gyms, and trade Pokemon with other people. You don’t need any extra equipment or peripherals to play the game.

Create and customize your character

After you log into the Pokemon Go game, you will be asked to create your character. You can choose a unique name and gender of your character. Customize the character with any gear or apparel you like and start your Pokemon trainer journey.

Explore the world

Explore-The World

You will notice that you are greeted by Professor Willow, the newest Pokemon professor, who teaches you the basic of the gameplay. He will give you a few Pokeballs and sends you away to catch your first Pokemon. You will automatically encounter the First generation starter trio, Charmander, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur. Just swipe the Pokeball in the direction of the Pokemon and it’s yours. However, future captures won’t be that easy.

After that, you will have your very own Pokemon. Now’s the time to learn about the Pokemon world around you. You see the entire map of your area just like Google Maps, and your Pokemon trainer avatar would be walking around this map.

Check the image below to learn about everything you may encounter during your journey:-


1 – This is the compass. You can use tap it to toggle between North-view direction or free rotation. You can also use touch gestures to change directions of your avatar on the map.

2 – This icon represents the location of Gyms. Teams can battle and train here.

3 – This icon identifies PokeStops where trainers can purchase items that include but not limited to Pokeballs, potions, incense, and Eggs.

4 – This is your avatar.

5 – Tapping this icon opens up your profile page, and you can view your achievements.

6 – This is the main menu. You can access settings, Pokedex, shops, and items from here.

7 – This icon displays nearby Pokemon that can be caught around your area.

Now that you are familiar with the basic of the game. Let’s move onto the actual capturing of the Pokemon. After all, it’s all about catching’em all.

Gotta Catch’em All


This is why Pokemon is fun, and this is the reason why everyone goes around their neighborhood. Pokemon Go is all about capturing new Pokemon and having fun while doing it. When you walk around, you will see Pokemon appear around you at random. The bar at the lower-right shows you which Pokemon are nearby. If there are silhouettes in the lower-right bar, then it means these are new Pokemon for you to catch.

When you encounter a Pokemon, just Tap on it, and it will take you to the capturing screen. You can use the AR mode which will show the Pokemon appear in your world or use the digital mode; it’s up to you. Swipe the Pokeball at the Pokemon, but beware the Pokemon can dodge the ball so aim for the center mass. Sometimes it will take a couple of tries to capture a Pokemon and sometimes just one Pokeball will do that trick. More rare Pokemon will require better Pokeballs and multiple tries.

Level up


You can level up both your Pokemon and the trainer character in the game. In fact, you need you character level at 5 in order to challenge Gyms around you.

You can level up your Pokemon by giving them special candies that can be collected by capturing the same Pokemon. For example, capturing a Weedle will give you Weedle Candies that can be used to level up or evolve the Weedle. Evolving takes far more candies than level up. So, capture a lot of Pokemon to get candies and evolve them. You can send the extra Pokemon to Professor Willow.

Become the Gym Leader


If you have ever played a Pokemon game on a handheld console or watched the cartoons, then you already know how a gym works in the Pokemon world. There’s a Gym leader who defends the gym while challengers come and try to beat the leader. In Pokemon Go, the Gym concept is tweaked a little. When you battle a gym and beat it, the prestige goes down a little. When the prestige hits the bottom, you can finally take over the gym and become the Gym leader. You must leave a Pokemon at the gym who defends it for you. The Pokemon will be removed from your collection when assigned to a gym.

If you find an empty Gym, you can just claim it without having to fight anyone. Leave a Pokemon and become the Gym leader you always wanted to be in the Pokemon world.

Where to play Pokemon Go?

You can play Pokemon Go anywhere. At your school, at your local park, on a mountain, in a cave, etc. All you have to do is move around while the game is on. This game does not work in the background, so you have to keep your phone in your hand with the game open. It eats up the battery quite fast; you can not be the very best without making a few sacrifices.

Team Rocket wants your money!

Not Team Rocket, but the developers have put in microtransactions to put a dent in your wallet. Pokecoins are the in-game currency that can be used to purchase items like Pokeballs, potions, bags, extra storage for Pokemon, and much more.

However, it’s not a complete cash-grab, and you can still enjoy the game without paying any real world money. Whenever you go to a new PokeStop, you get free items that can keep you going for quite a bit of time. If you really want to be the ultimate Pokemon collector, then you might have to shell out a few bucks for Pokecoins and buy a lot of items for the shop. It’s entirely up to you, and free-to-play is completely possible, it just takes a bit of extra time.

SEE ALSO: A Beginner’s Guide to Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

This game requires you to get off the couch and go out to play it. The more you explore, the better your awards and the more you will enjoy this amazing game. Always be aware of your surroundings to avoid any accidents or mishaps while playing Pokemon Go outside. Make friends and enjoy training Pokemon in this exciting new game for mobiles. If you have any more newbie-friendly tips, then feel free to post them in the comments below.

Featured Image Courtesy: Flickr