In celebrating the start of Pokémon GO’s U.S. Field Test (beta), The Pokémon Company and Niantic Inc., shared more details about the highly anticipated mobile game — specifically the battle mechanics and gym details.
As you’re probably aware, Pokémon GO blends the real world with the virtual game, allowing players to find and catch more than a hundred different Pokémon as they explore the real world around them.
When you approach a Pokémon in the wild, your phone will notify you and give you the opportunity to engage and catch the Pokémon using the phone’s touch screen to throw a Poké Ball. Poké Balls and other special items can be found at PokéStops, which are located at interesting places such as public art installations, historical markers, and monuments.
In Pokémon GO, you are encouraged to join one of three teams and engage in Gym battles with other teams. After joinin a team, you will gain the ability to assign your Pokémon to Gyms. Like PokéStops, Gyms can be found at real locations in the world.
Similar to other Pokémon games, battling is essential. You can battle using the Pokémon you’ve caught to gain control of a Gym. By using your own Pokémon’s attacks and dodging incoming attacks by swiping left and right on the screen, you can defeat the defending Pokémon to reduce the Gym’s Prestige. Once the Gym’s Prestige reaches zero, the defending team will lose control of the Gym and the victor’s Pokémon can be assigned to defend the Gym. When a team has control of a Gym, team members can increase its Prestige and level by training their Pokémon with other defending Pokémon. As the Gym gets to a higher level, the defending team gains the ability to assign more Pokémon to defend it. They can also team up with friends and battle together at a rival Gym to take down stronger Gyms faster.
In the game, you will interact with the world through your in-game Trainer avatar. The trainer’s appearance can be customized by choosing from a variety of different clothes and accessories to make their avatar stand out from the rest. The customized Trainer image will appear on the map as you move around, on your profile page, as well as in Gyms under your team’s control.
Pokémon GO Plus
A portable device called the Pokémon GO Plus will enable you to enjoy the game even while you’re not looking at your smartphones. The device connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth and notifies you about events in the game—such as the appearance of a Pokémon nearby—using an LED and vibration. In addition, you can catch Pokémon or perform other simple actions by pressing the button on the device.
Pokémon GO is currently in beta testing in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and as of today, the United States. Stay tuned for more details.