After a strange release where Pokémon GO was only available in Australia and New Zealand, the game is finally out in the United States. So far neither Ninantic Labs or The Pokémon Company has commented on the slow release, nor have they released any particular time table for when the rest of the world can expect to be able to download the app.
You can grab the app in the Google Play Store and the Apple Store. While the game is free, you have the option to spend some money to grab items like more Pokéballs or incense to attract Pokémon to you. The prices aren’t crazy expensive, but if you go crazy it could add up fast.
The app lets you start off by customizing your trainer. There is some variety of skin tone, but not much customization of hairstyle or body shape, which is a little disappointing. But onward from there, you get to grab your first Pokémon! You get to choose from the classic starters, Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle.
If you forget to name your Pokémon once you catch it, you can go to the Pokémon section of the menu and edit your pocket monster’s name. You’ll also get to set your own nickname, and unfortunately they don’t allow any duplicates. So if you have a common name you’ll have to get a bit creative.
So how do you catch more Pokémon? Just walk around! On your map you’ll see little spots of what look like leaves rustling or blowing. When you get to that space, a Pokémon will appear and you’ll have to try to capture it by swiping a Pokéball at it.
In order to battle your Pokémon with other trainers’ Pokémon, you’ll need to go to a gym, which are scattered through the world. You have to be level five in order to fight, so you’ll have to work on leveling up before you can have your first battle.
Pokémon GO can be a bit of a battery hog, so watch out for that. There is a battery saver setting in the menu, so if you’re having problems with your phone dying quickly, you might want to turn on that setting.
Now go out there and be the best you can be! But do make sure to be careful and stay aware of your surroundings.