Part 2: Finding Pokémon
Now onto the game proper. The aim of the game, at least at first, is to find and capture Pokemon, all 151 of them. This page tells you the best way to find them, ways that the game doesn’t always make very clear.
Expert Tip: Your starting Pokemon doesn’t always have to be Bulbasaur – it’s certainly the first Pokemon that will show up, but if you walk around away from your starting location, you should encounter one of the other starting Pokemons, including Pikachu!
There are two helpful features in the game that helps to you find nearby Pokemon. As you walk around, you may notice wind swept leaves in certain locations – these are hints the game gives you as to possible Pokemon locations nearby – head to these locations and you’ll most likely find something, even if it’s just another damn Zubat or Rattata.
The game also offers you a hint of what could be lurking in these locations via the Nearby Pokemon list, accessible right from the main screen.
Open it up and you’ll see a list of Pokemon nearby, some will be greyed out because you haven’t encountered these yet. Do you see the footprints underneath each Pokemon, from one set of footprints to three? These show how near (one footprint) or how far (three footprints) the Pokemon in your area are. A Pokemon without footprints means you’re in the right spot already, and you’ll soon get that buzz on your phone that indicates a Pokemon is here.
Update: The game currently has a bug where all the nearby Pokemon are shown with three footprints. Until Niantic fixes the bug, you should rely on the “order” method below.
Update 2 (0.31.0 App Update): Niantic has removed the footsteps features for now, possibly to help with server issues.
The order they appear on the list is also important, with the top left being the nearest, and the bottom right being the furthest (even if all of then have the same number of footprints). With the Nearby Pokemon screen on, and tracking the position of Pokemon on the list as you walk around, you can use it as a Pokemon tracker to see if you’re getting closer, or further away, from your prized catch.
Where The Wild Pokemon Are
Some locations are better than others for finding Pokemon. For most spawn locations (the one with the leaves), Pokemon appear every hour at spawn points, and these locations appear to be relatively fixed (so if you visit the same locations every hour, you’ll find some new Pokemon to catch). If you’re lucky and you live next to a spawn location, you should check every hour (not necessarily on the hour, it could be 15 past, 10 to, or some other fixed time) for new Pokemon.
You’ll find spawn locations will tend to favor one kind of Pokemon over the other, and it may be due to their geographical location (so water Pokemon may appear more often near water, for example).
If you don’t feel like travelling, ad want to increase your luck, then use a Incense to lure Pokemon to your location. These last 3o minutes and attract Pokemon to your location, and instead of one spawning every hour, that time is cut down to about every 5 minutes instead. Incense only really helps the player that placed it, although some report it helps nearby players as well (but not in my experience).
Bug Workaround: Lures and Incense not giving you new Pokemon? You may have to force quit the app every 5 minutes to force it to refresh. More about this here.
Poke stops (more on these in Part 4 – Getting Goodies) can also have a Lure Module attached to them, which makes them even better places to get Pokemon. Lure Modules are like Incense, but they work over a wider area, and their effect is even greater. Lots of businesses are buying and placing Lure Modules to attract customers, so don’t forget to thank them on your next visit.
Got a Tip? Or spot something not quite right on this page (my bad)? Post everything in the comments below.