After what felt like an eternity of waiting as others across the world were able to enjoy Pokémon GO, the highly anticipated mobile game from The Pokémon Company International and Niantic, Inc. is now available at download in the United States.
Pokémon GO is available for both iOS (App Store) and Android (Google Play) devices, and is free-to-download (though there are numerous microtransactions). It is currently available in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, and is said to be “coming soon” to Canada, Europe, and South America.
As a reminder, Pokémon GO blurs the real world and virtual world of Pokémon, using real locations to encourage players to search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokémon.
In the game, players around the globe explore their surroundings to find and catch wild Pokémon hiding in their midst. Some wild Pokémon appear in their native environments—for example, Water-type Pokémon may appear near lakes and oceans. Once players have encountered a Pokémon, they can catch it by using their smartphone’s touch screen to throw a Poké Ball. Poké Balls and other special items can be found at PokéStops located at interesting places, such as public art installations, historical markers and monuments. As players increase in level, they are able to catch more-powerful Pokémon and gain access to more-powerful items.
While working to complete the Pokédex, players will be able to evolve Pokémon by catching multiples of the same species and can even find Pokémon Eggs which hatch after a player walks a specific distance. Players are encouraged to keep exploring and encountering the many different Pokémon needed to complete the Pokédex.
Additionally, players can join one of three teams, Mystic, Instinct or Valor and assign Pokémon they have caught to an open Pokémon Gym location or to a Gym claimed by a fellow team member. Teams must battle against the defending Pokémon in their rival teams’ Gyms to lower a Gym’s Prestige and claim the Gym for their own team. Cooperation amongst team members is important in securing as many Gyms as possible.