The game is based around catching, trading, and battling Pokémon in real life through augmented reality, using the devices having Android and iOS systems installed.
Pokémon GO Plus can be separately purchased along with Pokémon GO. The device will enable the wearer to effectively search for Pokémon through the use of Bluetooth for the Apple or Android mobile phone.
So far, only the Generation I Pokémon (the original 151) are confirmed to be catchable. Baby Pokémon from Generation II are also catchable, but only from Eggs. The Pokémon's location varies based on the actual landscape (e.g. water-type Pokémon are likely to be found at rivers or oceans, while rock-type Pokémon are likely to be found at caves).
The trainer has to find a Pokémon, which is shown on the local map. To attract Pokémon to the trainer, an incense can be used, or a Lure Module can be used to attract Pokémon to a PokéStop. Once the Pokémon is found, by tapping the phone, the trainer initiates a battle. The trainer has to throw a Poké Ball at an exact angle to capture the Pokémon. A white circle represents the area in which the Poké Ball must be thrown in order to catch the Pokémon. A colored circle appears inside this white circle. The smaller the circle, the more likely the trainer is to catch the Pokémon.
Additional experience is earned for throwing the ball inside the colored circle. If the colored circle is roughly the size of the white circle or slightly smaller, the trainer will be rewarded with 10 experience for a "nice" throw. If the colored circle is roughly half the size of the white circle, one will be rewarded with 50 experience for a "great" throw. If the colored circle is tiny, one will be rewarded with 100 experience for an "excellent" throw. Similarly, the trainer can spin the Poké Ball to throw a curveball and earn a bonus of 10 experience. Initially the bonus experience for a "nice", "great", or "excelente" throw did not stack and would overwrite the bonus for a curveball. However, on newer versions this issue was fixed and the bonus can be combined
These bonus experience points are affected by experience multipliers. To make the capture easier, the trainer can use either a Great or an Ultra Ball to catch the Pokémon, or a Razz Berry to distract the Pokémon. A camera can also be used to take photos of the field. Once the Pokémon is caught, the trainer receives an amount of Stardust and the captured Pokémon's respective candy.
A colored circle indicates how difficult to catch a Pokémon is:
- Green - easy, the Pokémon will most likely be caught.
- Orange - normal, the Pokémon could escape out of the Ball.
- Red - difficult, the Pokémon is likely to come out of the Ball.
Evolving and hatching
To evolve a Pokémon, the trainer must give the caught Pokémon some candies, which are obtained through the game by catching other Pokémon, hatching Pokémon eggs, transferring Pokémon to Professor Willow or walking a specific distance with a Pokémon chosen as a buddy. The candy is only compatible with its respective Pokémon and its evolved forms, e.g. for Squirtle candies can only evolve Squirtle and Wartortle and no other Pokémon besides them. Pokémon with three-stage evolution need 25 candies to evolve for the second stage. Pokémon with two-stage evolution and second evolved form for three-stage evolution require 50 candies. (This only applies to the current Generation I Pokémon; Pokémon like Cleffa do not exist in that generation.) These are exceptions:
- Weedle, Caterpie, and Pidgey require 12 candies to evolve into their respective second evolutions.
- Eevee and Rattata require 25 candies to evolve.
- Poliwhirl, Haunter, Wartortle, Ivysaur, Charmeleon, Nidorino, Nidorina, Graveler, Kadabra, Machoke, Gloom, Dragonair, and Weepinbell require 100 candies to evolve.
- Magikarp requires 400 candies to evolve into Gyarados.
Levels are displayed as such in Pokémon GO, adverse to previous Pokémon titles. However, Stardust expenditure may be used for reference. The expenditure of an evolved Pokémon stays the same. Equal Pokémon with similar CP usually have the same Stardust requirements for evolving. The maximum spending limit of Stardust rises with the trainer's level. The relative level of a Pokémon is also given via a white dot on an arc above the Pokémon's display. Trainers can use the CP calculator (or Evolve calculator) to calculate how much Combat Power (CP) each Pokémon gains when it evolves.
The trainer can also hatch eggs, allowing them to obtain rare-to-find Pokémon. The trainer has to visit a PokéStop to obtain the egg. To hatch the egg, the trainer must place it in an Egg Incubator (which can be found or bought in the online shop), then walk a distance. Riding a vehicle will not count as progress, as one must be going under 20kmph (12mph) for movement to count. Eggs can be found that require either 2km, 5km, or 10km to hatch. Eggs that require a longer distance traveled to hatch give rarer Pokémon. Hatching eggs also gives large random amounts of Stardust and candies of the hatched Pokémon.
|Distance to hatch||Hatching Pokémon|
|2km (1.24 miles)||Charmander, Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Caterpie, Weedle, Spearow, Pikachu, Clefairy, Jigglypuff, Zubat, Geodude, Magikarp|
|5km (3.10 miles)||Ekans, Sandshrew, Nidoran♀, Nidoran♂, Vulpix, Oddish, Paras, Venonat, Diglett, Meowth, Psyduck, Mankey, Growlithe, Poliwag, Abra, Machop, Tentacool, Bellsprout, Ponyta, Slowpoke, Magnemite, Farfetch'd, Doduo, Seel, Grimer, Shellder, Gastly, Drowzee, Krabby, Voltorb, Exeggcute, Cubone, Lickitung, Koffing, Rhyhorn, Tangela, Kangaskhan, Horsea, Goldeen, Staryu, Tauros, Porygon, Eevee|
|10km (6.21 miles)||Onix, Hitmonlee, Hitmonchan, Chansey, Mr. Mime, Scyther, Jynx, Electabuzz, Magmar, Pinsir, Lapras, Omanyte, Kabuto, Aerodactyl, Snorlax, Dratini|
- Main article: Pokémon GO Plus
A device, called Pokémon GO Plus, can be worn as a bracelet to enhance the gameplay.
- Main article: Experience Point (Pokémon GO)
The trainer can receive experience to level up and gain new items and unlock other ones. Level up the player character will receive rewards, which includes Poké Balls as well as other valuable Pokémon Go items.
At level 5, trainers can join teams -Team Instinct, Team Mystic and Team Valor - allowing them to battle against other teams in Gym battles. Teams have a name; a leader (Spark, the leader of Team Instinct; Blanche, the leader of Team Mystic; and Candela, the leader of Team Valor); a Legendary Mascot (Zapdos, Articuno, and Moltres respectively); and a corresponding color.
|Team Instinct||Team Mystic||Team Valor|
|Leader: Spark||Leader: Blanche||Leader: Candela|
- Main article: Gym (Pokémon GO)
At level 5, trainers can conquer Gyms from battles against opposing Teams. One person may have up to 10 gyms and collect rewards every 21 hours. These rewards include 10 Pokécoins and 500 stardust per gym. That's a max of 100 Pokécoins, and 5000 stardust every 21 hours.
- Main article: PokéStop
PokéStops are places for trainers to acquire items for free, such as Poké Balls and Eggs; Potions, Revives and Razzberries at level 5; Super Potions at level 10; Great Balls at level 12; Hyper Potions at level 15; and Ultra Balls at level 20. Lures can be applied to stops to attract Pokémon for 30 minutes. These stops refresh and can be revisited every 5 minutes.
- Main article: Combat Point
Combat Points or CP, is an indicator of a Pokémon's power, be it a wild or a trainer's Pokémon.
- Main article: List of moves (Pokémon GO)
The Pokémon use moves differently than in the other games. They know up to 2 moves which may change upon evolving. The base move is weaker and can be used with no limits. The special move is the stronger of the 2 and charges up with each use of the base move. The special move can be used by holding down on the screen during a battle.
- Main article: Pokémon GO items
In Pokémon GO, some items can be received through leveling up. However, the trainer can also buy them by using PokéCoins, which is the currency in-game.
|Amount of PokéCoins||Price in ¥ (Japan)||Price in € (EU), $ (US)||Price in £ (UK)||Price in $ (CAD)||Price in $ (AUD)||Price in $ (SGD)|
- Main article: Medals (Pokémon GO)
In Pokémon GO, several achievements, called Medals, can be obtained, through the game, mostly by capturing a certain amount of Pokémon.
- About two weeks after the game's UK release, Sam Clark from the south of England managed to catch all the Pokémon in the game, making him the first to do so in Europe.
- Nick Johnson is the first American to catch all 142 characters in the game available in the USA. Two corporate sponsors (Marriott Rewards and Expedia) have offered him a free trip around the world to capture the remaining Pokemon that are not currently available in the United States. Full article.
- Despite all Pokémon games being compatible with Nintendo platforms, Pokémon Go is the first Pokémon game being available in iOS and Android platforms.