Pokémon Go: what you need to know

Pokémon Go cheating

Remember Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Blastoise, Charizard and the gang? Well, they’re back with a bang on Pokémon Go.

Niantic only launched the app this month and it’s already taken the world by storm, to say the least. It’s been released for both Android and iOS devices and is a free-to-play augmented reality mobile game. The masses have already started playing and embracing the all-too-familiar Pokémon phrase, “Gotta catch ’em all”.

The game requires players to physically explore their surroundings and hunt down different Pokémon. The developers have made sure to stress that players be alert and aware of their surroundings at all times. As things have been going, you can find a Pikachu, a Charmander or maybe even a dead body.

A big plus point of the game is that players are finding themselves actually going out and searching for these imaginary pocket-sized monsters instead of sitting hunched up in a dark corner staring at a Gameboy Advance or smartphone screen.

Pokémon Go uses your device’s GPS to place Pokémon in and around the surrounding area using a technology similar to geocaching. You can see the creatures first on the in-app map, then through your smartphone’s camera. Players will find water-based Pokémon (such as Magikarp) near lakes, ponds, the creek or beach, while the grass-dwelling variety (e.g. Treecko) can be discovered in parks, cornfields and so on for the other types as well. Players just need to make sure that they have a decent battery life and data plan to handle the strain that comes with a game like this.

However, Pokémon Go doesn’t purely rely on catching the eponymous creatures. Players also have to train and evolve them so that they can be used to take over and defend gyms that are dotted around the map. There are also eggs, which players can collect, incubate and hatch to reveal new Pokémon for their collection. However, these eggs will only hatch if players actually walk around to incubate them. You can also take cool (and often comical) pictures of Pokémon in various surroundings.

Dubai has already seen reports of some Pokémon at the top of Burj Khalifa, near the creek and on Jumeirah beach. Dress for the weather, be sure to wear a comfortable pair of shoes. Most importantly, be aware of your surroundings – some people may not appreciate being snapped. Even with a Zombat on their head.

And don’t Pokédrive.