Pokémon GO on a budget – a free to play guide

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Pokémon GO on a budget – a free to play guide

USER GUIDE | Submitted by carrotking37 on January 17th 2017When Pokemon GO came out, it was hailed as a sort of an idealistic, all-usable mobile app without too much stress on paying for items and other microtransactions. Recently, however the importance of payed features has increased, and lower-budget or more casual players who enjoyed the equality of in game play between paying and non-paying players are beginning to leave the game.

As a player who takes pride in having spent no money in-game, it pains me to watch similar players quit a game I so enjoy and firmly believe can be played on a low or no budget. In this guide, I will touch upon and research how and what is the best way to play Pokemon GO low budget.

The smartphone barrier

The first and largest barrier stopping people from playing Pokemon GO is not having a smartphone at all or not having a compatible smartphone.

To address the first, despite the hate, it is possible to get a cheap smartphone which will run Pokemon GO perfectly well. It is true that an iPhone 6 or 7, or a Samsung phone, will run it to optimal performance. However, whatever your budget (almost), you can find a phone to run Pokemon GO. Phones between $150-$300 are relatively easy to find one to run the game. I fall in this quota with a $190 Motorola G2.

However, below this range, it gets more difficult. Don’t worry: you can still play the game. Several phones under $100 are capable of running the game. The best cheap phone for Pokemon GO, and the most expensive on the list, is the Oukitel K4000. At USD 99, it is still not the cheapest, but out of all the under $100 phones will provide the best experience. Next up is the ZTE Overture 2. It is only 50 dollars, but only comes with a Cricket plan, which could deter some. Finally, the third option is the BLU R1 HD. Coming in at $49.95 on Amazon, it is the cheapest phone that will run it reliably, but it will not run AR mode. This only really makes catching ‘mons harder, however, and many IOS and Samsung players play with it off out of choice anyways.

How to play Pokémon GO with 1 GB of RAM?

As you may know, some phones will say on the App Store, Play Store or alternative that Pokemon GO is either ‘not applicable with your device’ or it just won’t be there. If this happens, you should check online what your phone’s RAM or random access memory is. If it is below 1 GB, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DOWNLOAD THE GAME.

You will need a new phone to run the app, and trying to do so without one will slow down or even crash your device. If it is 1 GB or above, you can always download it on apkmirror.com.

Do not, however, use any other APK sites. These might download malware or viruses onto your device. APK Mirror is the safest option, and will always give you secure and real APK’s.

How to save money while still playing every day?

OK. Now you have Pokemon GO on your phone. What next? It is still said to be pay to win due to the importance of in-game items. I will now go through each buyable item and explain why you do not need to buy them with real money to play the game.

1. Poke Balls

Poke Balls are possibly the easiest item to go without buying. They make up over 50% of Poke Stop drop rates, and you should be able to go without buying them at all.

2. Lucky Eggs

These are undeniably useful, as they double XP for 30 minutes a pop. However, unless your ultimate goal is reaching level 40, they too are unnecessary. I and many other players have reached level twenty, where CP levels max out, without the use of lucky eggs. If you are a power-leveler, however, try Pidgey stacking as a replacement.

3. Incense

This item attracts Pokemon to your location for half an hour at a rate of one every 5 minutes or every 200 meters if you are walking. However, they will almost never attract a rare or a useful Pokemon. My last incense (which it may be noted that I activated accidentally) got me, in order, Pidgey, Rattata, Pidgey, Spearow, Goldeen, Weedle, Rattata, Caterpie, Pidgey and, the highlight of them all, Jigglypuff. Using Incense is in general the worst buyable item, and even if you do intend to spend I would urge you away from incense.

4. Lure Modules

You gotta hand it to Niantic: Lures are a sweet temptation to a free player. A Lure is placed in a special slot on a Poke Stop and will bring Pokemon to the aforementioned Stop for 30 minutes. They are one of the more coveted items, and cost 20 coins more than an incense or lucky egg. However, there is one big loophole: lures, unlike incense, attract the Pokemon for all to see.

This is a big advantage to less affluent or more saving-oriented players. If you see a lure on the map (it’s hard to miss – it looks like a Poke Stop has become a cherry tree), walk on over to see what comes along.

5. Incubators

Pokemon eggs, in the game, need to be put in an incubator and walked around. You get one, infinite-use, incubator, and then you can buy three-use disposable ones from the shop. These too are not necessary. While you will need to hatch eggs to get the newly released baby Pokemon, buying incubators only increases your productivity slightly and otherwise eggs are not extremely useful.

6. Upgrades

There are only two – item storage, and Pokemon storage. I have found that these are unnecessary, and that by culling lesser potions and Poke Balls in favor of their more effective versions, and transferring unneeded Pokemon, you will survive without these.

It is to be noted that all of these items, save the upgrades, can be gotten by levelling up. Also, by conquering and retaining gyms, you can get Pokecoins without buying them for real money, and access these items free of (actual) charge. I hope this guide encourages someone to keep playing, or get back into playing, Pokemon GO, and keeps it full of free players like me.

If so, my purpose is served. Good luck!

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Zeroghan started the Hub in July 2016 and hasn't had much sleep since. A lover of all things Pokémon, web development, and writing.

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