Not long from now, we’re going to get to play two major mainline Pokemon games in quick succession when Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl and Pokemon Legends: Arceus launch in the space of around two months. Before that happens though, Pokemon still has some more stuff on offer, and soon, will be delivering Pokemon Unite. And as its launch approaches, here, we’re going to talk about the most crucial details you should know about the game.
WHAT EVEN IS IT?
Pokemon might be a role playing series, first and foremost, but over the years, with countless spinoffs, it’s tried its hand at various other genres, from fighting games to dungeon crawlers to turn-based strategy RPGs and more. With Pokemon Unite, it’s branching out once again, which is a free to start MOBA. Expect real-time strategy-lite battles, and with the game being a free to start battle, also be prepared for significant monetization.
So here’s the big question- how exactly are matches going to be structured in Pokemon Unite? Each match will see two teams of five players each going up against each other, and each team’s goal is to score more points than the other before the match’s time runs out. You score points by moving to one of several control points scattered throughout the map, and will level up and become more powerful as the match progresses.
MOVES AND ITEMS
Before the beginning of each match, you will select which Pokemon you want to play as, on the basis of their unique attributes and what moves they can potentially learn. Interestingly enough, you’ll also be selecting the moves that your Pokemon can potentially learn, as well as the items they can hold during battles, and both those things will, as you can imagine, have a significant impact on how you strategize- so make those decisions wisely.
Since this is, of course, a PvP game, it goes without saying that opposing players will pose the biggest threat to you- but they won’t be the only threat. Also found in abundance across the map in each match are wild Pokemon, which you’ll fight and defeat to level up, grow more powerful, and learn new moves. Interestingly enough, the game also has legendary wild Pokemon, which promises to throw an interesting wrench into how matches progress.
So, we know about how matches in Pokemon Unite are structured, and we know about wild Pokemon in the game- put together, that tells us exactly how to win a match. Each time you defeat an enemy Pokemon – be it wild or otherwise – they drop Aeos, and it is by taking this energy into opponents’ goal zones that you score points. Clearly, then, working with teammates to try and break past enemy defences and putting up your own defences around goal zones is going to be key in Pokemon Unite.
Of course, evolutions are a crucial part of any Pokemon experience, and they will have a role to play in Pokemon Unite as well. Though you will start each match with a low level unevolved Pokemon, battling against opponents and wild Pokemon will help your own Pokemon become more powerful, which means that the Pokemon you begin a match with can evolve as well. Evolutions are temporary, but will make you much more formidable on the battlefield, so use them wisely.
Another hallmark of the Pokemon franchise is types and type matchups, and the rock-paper-scizzors style strengths and weaknesses that different Pokemon and move types pose to each other can often be a crucial part of any fight’s strategy. Sadly, that’s not going to be the case in Pokemon Unite, with it having been confirmed that there are no type-based strengths and weaknesses in the game.
Each Pokemon will also come equipped with a Unite move- which, as you may have figured out, is essentially an ultimate. Unite moves will vary across the roster of Pokemon available, with each having different strengths and advantages, such as being able to deal large amounts of area and effect damage in your immediate vicinity. Unite moves will, of course, be limited, so you can’t just go spamming them.
Speaking of the roster, exactly how many playable Pokemon are going to be available in Pokemon Unite? Well, it ain’t gonna be the full National Dex, that’s for sure. So far, nearly twenty Pokemon have been confirmed to be in the game at launch, including the likes of Charizard, Pikachu, Snorlax, Garchomp, Lucario, Cramorant, Gengar, Alolan Ninetails, Greninja, Mr. Mime, Venusaur, Absol, Talonflame, Cinderace, and many more.
Pokemon in the game’s roster are also divided into five different categories, each with their own unique strengths and weakness. The Attackers like Pikachu and Greninja have low endurance but can deal heavy ranged damage. Defenders such as Snorlax and Slowbro are experts at taking the hits and protecting other Pokemon in their teams. Speedsters like Talonflame and Gengar have high mobility and offense. Support Pokemon such as Mr. Mime and Wigglytuff can heal allies and inflict status conditions on opponents. Finally, there are the All-Rounders like Charizard and Machamp, who, as the name suggests, have balanced endurance and offense stats.
REWARDS AND HOLOWEAR
Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a multiplayer game (especially a free to play one) if it also didn’t reward you with stuff for playing more and making progress, from unlocking new Pokemon to new cosmetic wear your for trainer, to even cosmetics known as Holowear for your Pokemon. From a fancy suit for Mr. Mime to a pirate’ outfit for Cinderace, there seems to be some interesting stuff on offer here that should interest players. Of course, there will be paid microtransactions as well- you can spend Aeos gems to unlock special items, and Aeos gems, in turn, can be purchased with real money in the game’s shop.
Pokemon Unite is going to launch on mobile devices as well as the Nintendo Switch, and being a multiplayer game, thankfully, it’s also going to support full cross-play. It’s been confirmed that regardless of which platform you’re playing on, you’ll be able to play Pokemon Unite with and against players on all other platforms.
So when exactly is Pokemon Unite coming out? It’s going to be a staggered launch, with Switch players getting the game first. On the Switch, it’s out on July 21, which is followed by a launch for iOS and Android devices some time in September. An exact release date hasn’t been confirmed for the mobile versions, but it’s safe to assume that we’ll find out soon enough.