Pokemon Unite is out now on iOS and Android, bringing the franchise’s first ever MOBA to a mass audience.
The game initially launched on Nintendo Switch on July 21 of this year, and was announced for a September 22 mobile launch in an August Pokemon Presents livestream. It swiftly racked up more than 5 million pre-registrations.
Anyone who’s familiar with the original Pokemon format, most recently demonstrated in Pokemon Sword and Shield, or even the location-based mobile game Pokemon Go from 2016, may be a little surprised by Pokemon Unite.
It’s a MOBA, which stands for ‘multiplayer online battle arena’. Famous examples of the genre include DOTA, League of Legends, and – on mobile – Vainglory.
This is a competitive online genre that sees small teams facing off against one another in futuristic sports arenas, indulging in real time scraps, supporting automated units, and attempting to score points against one another.
Pokemon Unite transplants these essentials to the world of Pokemon, with familiar cute critters taking the place of the usual playable hero characters, and plenty of wild Pokemon to defeat in neutral territory. It’s a much more casual take on the MOBA genre than, say, League of Legends: Wild Rift, but you’d expect that given Pokemon’s broader demographic.
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Each 5v5 match takes a fixed 10 minutes to complete, and the winner is the team with the most points at the end of that time. These ‘Aeos’ points are collected by taking on wild Pokemon and banking them at your base.
As you might expect, there’s a hefty in-app-purchase system here, chiefly enabling you to shortcut the character customisation element.
It could be the ideal game to show off that brighter, more fluid iPhone 13 Pro display this Friday.