Pokemon GO officially launches and lacks the extensive tutorial that many gamers are looking for. Here’s a guide to leveling up and catching them all.

Pokemon GO is officially released in a few countries (after a confusing soft launch), including the U.S., and last night many Pokemon trainers hit the streets and started playing the game. Although there is some great potential in Pokemon GO, it is similar to Niantic’s last game, Ingress, in that it lacks an extensive tutorial. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

The built-in tutorial offers enough info to get players started and out into the world, but not much more. The new silver fox Professor shows up and teaches players how to throw a Pokeball and catch their starter buddy. After that, the professor mostly disappears and tells players to get out into the world and start exploring. This is where things can get a confusing…

Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll see in the world, what the basic locations and items are, and how to reach level 5 so you can start capturing gyms



While walking around town (in the real world by actually putting one foot in front of the other), players will find locations on the minimap that look like a blue Pokeball symbol. These are Pokestops and are the easiest way to pick up items and experience points in the early game (without using microtransactions).

Once a Pokestop is within range (that pulsing circle around the avatar), players can click the Pokestop and a circular image of a real world location will appear. Sometimes it’ll be a bench or a building or even a coffee shop. Spin the picture in the circle by swiping it and when it’s done spinning some items will fall out and float in bubbles. Pop the bubbles and these items will be added to your inventory and experience points will be added to your character (these are tracked in the lower lefthand corner).

After successfully visiting a Pokestop, it will change from blue to purple on the map. That means it’s exhausted and you can revisit it later when it’s blue again (usually about fifteen minutes to respawn). Pokestops are in the same spots for everyone, but one won’t be exhausted because a different player visited it just before you.

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