But before you jump into the latest Pokémon adventure, be sure to heed these tips. This is a different kind of game. You're going to catch Pokémon in the real world, take on gyms, become a gym leader and lots more. It's plenty of fun, but it's got a bit of a learning curve, so let us help you out with that.
The game doesn't teach you how to play, really
When you first boot up Pokémon Go, it'll ask you to log in with either your Google account or Pokémon Trainer Club username. Whichever you decide to go with, remember it, because that's how you'll sign in on any and all future devices you want to play on.
From the get-go, the game's tutorial is fairly weak. It tells you very quickly how to start playing, but you'll have to look around the game's menus to really learn everything. There's a "Tips" menu that tells you a bit about gyms and PokéStops, and you'll learn how to evolve your Pokémon with candy and power them up with Stardust.
You'll collect candy from catching more of the same one Pokémon (each Pokémon has candy specific to them) and you'll use it, with the Stardust, to power up and eventually evolve your Pokémon. It's tough at first, but you'll get the hang of it. After all, you're a Pokemon master.
This is not a traditional Pokémon game
You choose your player character, customize them a bit and hear from the dear Pokémon professor. It's similar to the other Pokémon games in that regard, but then things get weird. You're thrust onto a Google Maps overlay, with your avatar character set up sort of like a navigation system. There's a radar-like ring around you that will show you when Pokémon appear, and you'll click on them to enter capture mode.
But unlike other games in the series, you won't actually have to battle the Pokémon to capture them. Nope, here the game activates your phone's camera and lets you see the Pokémon in your real surroundings. Then you'll toss PokéBalls at the monster in question to capture it.
You've got a Pokédex that'll show you everything you've caught so far, and you'll level up as a player the more you do in the game. Hatch an egg? Catch a new Pokémon? These types of activities gain you experience. And in typical mobile game fashion, there is a shop where you can spend real money on PokéCoins, which in turn get you more PokéBalls, Incense (which draw Pokémon to you for a limited amount of time), Lucky Eggs, Storage Upgrades and more. But don't worry, you can find these items at PokéStops too.
There are only 151 Pokémon, for now
Get ready for a nostalgia overload, because just the original 151 Pokémon are in this game. Now, this doesn't mean the 'mons of Johto, Hoenn and beyond won't show up, it just means they are testing the waters. Don't be surprised to see this change as the game picks up a player base.
You will need to go outside to play
Unlike the other Pokémon titles, this game actually requires you to go outside and play. Sure, you could just set your phone up in the car and go for a drive, but what's the fun in that?
As you take a stroll, go for a morning job or run some errands, you'll come across PokéStops and Pokémon gyms. PokéStops, from what we've seen, are at monuments, markers, churches and schools. Basically places where there's a high concentration of people, be it for tourism or not. This is also where you'll find certain gyms.
Once you hit Level 5, you pledge your allegiance to one of three teams: Instinct, Valor and Mystic). Then, you can take over a gym that has not been claimed by your team and make it your own, leaving one of your Pokémon to guard it. You can also battle already claimed gyms from other teams, and the battling system is pretty straightforward: swipe left and right to dodge special attacks, and tap and hold to use your own. If you spot a gym your team already has held, you can either add one of your Pokemon to it, or train there.
Don't catch and drive
This one is pretty obvious, but it's also super important. You shouldn't be using your phone while driving anyway, so this is no different. And word to the wise: You don't actually have to go into a PokéStop to get the items. Police stations in Australia have been having a very specific problem with this: