Still hunting for that elusive Pikachu? If it seems like the adorable lightning rabbit has been avoiding you, there may be an important question that you haven't asked — what do the footsteps mean in "Pokemon Go"? I'm not talking about the footsteps you have to take in order to catch the little monsters, but the animal tracks that appear in the nearby list in the lower right of the screen. It doesn't matter if you're level two or level 10 — grasping all the little details of this augmented reality game can be difficult, and I promise to relay all my Poke-knowledge without any Poke-judgement.
These tiny footprints should not be ignored as they can be used to track down desired Pokemon. By now you have probably noticed the nearby list to the right of your Pokeball. The small tab displays images (or outlines, depending on whether or not you have caught said Pokemon before) of the three Pokemon closest to you at any given time. As you walk around the list will change, and update, signifying new Pokemon with the pulse of a blue ring.
Click on the list, and a full page will appear, revealing the nine Pokemon closest to you. The Pokemon are arranged from nearest to furthest starting in the upper left hand corner. The footprint icons underneath each Pokemon pic tells you their approximate distance from your location.
YouTube channel GameXplain goes into detail in their recent video about what exactly the number of footprints mean (which is super helpful, as Niantic has not released these facts). Three footprints underneath a Pokemon on the nearby list signifies that it is within a kilometer of your location (approximately 0.62 miles). Two footprints means it's within 100 meters — which Usain Bolt ran in 9.58 seconds, so no pressure. If there is only one footprint underneath that rare Pokemon you are hot on their trail (it's about 10 meters away); if there are no footprints, then that little guy should be popping into view any second. One city block is approximately 80 meters, so if you do the math, a Pokemon with two footprints is fairly nearby.
In order to accurately track a desired Pokemon, GameXplain recommends leaving your nearby list open fully as you walk. While the number of footprints may not change very often, you can read if you are getting closer or further to a certain Poke by watching its placement on the list.
If the Pokemon is moving up and to the left as you walk, you are getting closer to it. As it moves farther down the list, you are losing its scent.
For more helpful hints, check out the entire video here:
Employing this technique is not full-proof and you may still lose track of a Pokemon now and again — but don't stress! There are still plenty of other ways to find the Pikachu of your dreams!
Images: Screenshots/"Pokemon Go", GameXplain/YouTube