By Shannon Kirsch, Special to OnMilwaukee   Published Jul 24, 2016 at 9:56 AM

Pokémon Go is a reality-based mobile game that makes players go on a physical journey to catch Pokémon. This new craze has taken the nation (and eventually the world) by storm. People have fallen off cliffs, gotten shot atfound corpses and even have caused mobs in New York and Washington in their quests for imaginary critters. 

It's been so crazy in just the Wisconsin area that the police department in Hales Corners had to comment on the increase of foot traffic and general loudness in the area in a rather comical fashion. 

For those who want to start participating in the Poke-phenomenon sweeping the globe, here’s a small overview of Pokémon Go and some tips to help catch 'em all.

How do I catch a Pokémon?

A Pokémon will appear on your phone and then you'll click on it. Afterwards, a poke ball will appear at the bottom of the screen. After, you'll throw the ball by swiping up to catch the creature. Make sure to feed rare or high-leveled Pokemon razz berries (not raspberries, razz berries) to make sure they don't run away. You can do this by going to the items menu while catching the Pokémon. The more Pokémon you catch, the more experience (XP) you receive and the quicker you level up.

Where should I find certain types of Pokemon?

The game uses GPS to track where you and your camera are to catch your Pokémon in AU (Augmented Reality). On many countless gaming websites, it states that water Pokémon are near bodies of water, grass-based are near grass, ghost pokemon are caught at night, etc. However, in my personal experience, that not entirely true. One day, I caught three Magikarps, a fish-like water Pokémon, in the Walgreen parking lot, and I keep finding bat-like Zubats during the day. 

How do you catch a Pikachu?

When you initially start, you have the option of taking either Squirtle, Bulbasaur or Charmander. However, if you ignore them, they will disappear and keep respawning. The fourth time you ignore them, you will have the chance to catch the iconic electric creature. It’s been rumored that Pikachu and other types of electric Pokemon are also near industrial areas. 

I see a Pokémon I want in the tracker. How do I find it?

When you’re searching for these creatures, you’ll see footprints on your tracker on the lower right hand corner of your screen. If the Pokemon has three steps under it, it means the creature is far away; if there’s only one, it should be close. However, there’s currently a glitch in the game, and that doesn’t actually mean anything just yet; all the Pokémon have three steps below them. Hopefully, Niancon is working towards resolving the issue. It’s also extremely likely that players will see a Pokémon on their tracker but never actually get the opportunity to find or catch it. 

There is also this website called Pokevision that lets you see what Pokémon are in your area. However, their servers have been extremely unstable most of the week.

I have 40 Pidgeys. What am I supposed to do with this?

When you have a massive quantity of a type of Pokémon, you can exchange the lower levels to the Professor who will give you candy. You do this by going to the Pokémon you want to get rid of and scrolling down to transfer. Each Pokémon equals only one candy. Every time you catch a Pokémon, you'll get three candies for that type of Pokémon. This candy will help you evolve your Pokemon into a a different stronger Pokémon or you can power up your Pokémon which will increase their CP (combat power). Most Pokémon need 50 candies to evolve. If a Pokémon has a high combat power, that means they're stronger and are of a high level. 

Why do I need 400 candies to evolve Magikarp?

Magikarp doesn't look like much of a Pokémon since it's basically just a floppy orange fish. However, when Magikarp evolves, it turns into the massive sea serpent, Gyarados, which is the Pokémon you see on your loading screen.

How do I stock up on Poké balls?

There are Poké Stops all around you at landmarks and notable places like churches, works of art, important buildings, etc. When you get to the Poké Stop, you have to twirl the circle in order to receive items such as eggs, potions, Poké balls and XP. You may come across some Poke Stops that have pink flower petals surrounding them, which means there there is a lure on that specific stop to attract Pokémon from all around the area. Poké Stops also reset nearly every five minutes, so it's worth it to hit the same spot multiple times each day. 

Is there any way to attract more Pokémon?

Yes. In your items you start out with, incense attracts Pokémon to just you. Usually, if you find a Pokémon in a specific place, any other players can catch it too. However, if you use incense, you're the only one who can see and catch the Pokémon the incense attracts. It's worthy to note that the Pokemon you see on the tracker may not be the ones you get when you use incense. If you use incense near Poké Stops, you're more likely to get more diverse Pokémon.

I acquired an egg from a Poké Stop. How do I hatch it?

When you click the red Poké ball at the bottom of your screen, click on Pokémon and swipe right. Click on one of the eggs to put in an incubator. In order to hatch i,t you have to walk, run or bike how many kilometers are listed below the eggs. Yes, kilometers, not miles. You can’t drive your car since it won’t register if you’re traveling over 20 mph, and you can’t go on a treadmill because the GPS only tracks the land you cover. 

What happens when you hit level five?

When you get to level five and go to a gym, there are three teams you can pick: Team Instinct, which is all about trusting your instincts; Team Mystic, which is all about evolving your Pokémon and using wisdom; and Team Valor, which focuses on strength and being the very best (like no one ever was). Take note that you can’t change your team after you’ve picked.

What do you do at a gym?

At a gym, you fight other Pokémon from people at that gym by aggressively tapping your phone screen on your opponent or holding down your thumb to build a power attack. The point is to boost your experience and to help your team team you take control of the gym. If you actually beat all the Pokémon at the gym, you can leave your Pokémon there to represent your team. When your Pokémon gets beaten, it will be returned to you with Poké coins to buy extremely useful items.

Additional tips

  • Servers have been incredibly unstable lately so don't become too frustrated.
  • Make sure to turn your phone on Battery Saver mode in the settings menu. Otherwise you’re going to go through your battery insanely fast.
  • Have trouble catching a flying Pokémon? Turn off the AU (Augmented Reality) in the top right corner which will make the Pokémon more level to the ground and therefore easier to catch. This will make your Pokémon look like you’re catching them in a cartoon world versus the real world.
  • Make sure to download Google maps in your area offline which makes you lose significantly less data. Click here to learn how.
  • When you use a lucky egg, you’ll earn double XP for a half hour. It would be wise to evolve your Pokémon and be in a place where there are tons of Poke Stops. This will help you earn double the amount of experience in order to level up quicker. You get Lucky Eggs when reaching level nine among various other levels.
  • As mentioned before, try to use Pokevision to see what Pokémon are in your area. However, it might take out the surprise of stumbling upon a Pokémon.
  • Eevvee, an adorable little creature that resembles a fox mixed with a rabbit, can evolve into three different types of Pokémon. There are three nicknames you can give them to control what they evolve into: Sparky turns into Jolteon (electric), Pyro turns into Flareon (fire) and Rainer turns into Vaporean (water).