Reviews - Updated on March 31, 2022

Relevant for platform: NSW

MOBA in the Pokémon universe – sounds both funny and logical. Pocket monsters are very different from each other and have unique abilities – why not try to put them in a game in one of the most popular genres on the planet? This is how Pokemon Unite appeared, a kind of simplified version of Dota 2 or League of Legends, which captivates no less than world hits.

Pokemon League

We get to the island of Aeos, where trainers arrange battles between Pokemon. To do this, the mysterious energy that is saturated with the entire island is used – as soon as one Pokemon eliminates another, energy is collected in its ball, and it must be “surrendered” to one of the enemy zones in order to weaken the enemy’s defense. The squad with the most points wins.

Throw in the right amount of energy – the zone disappears, and you can move around the nearest area at normal speed. While it is active, Pokémon in enemy territory are greatly slowed down.

In normal mode, one map is available – the stadium, at different ends of which teams of five Pokémon appear. There are two lines – on the left side of the map, your zones are located on them, on the right – enemy ones. There are also several connected paths in the center. We always start the match with the first level Pokemon, so at the start it is necessary to kill creeps in order to gain experience, energy and abilities – some Pokemon evolve during the match, others simply become stronger without external changes.

You need to hurry, because sooner or later you will have to face other players. Everyone who understands the meaning of the game and has been trained, strives to get to enemy zones in order to throw energy into them. The more it is in your inventory, the longer you need to hold down the corresponding button, and this is dangerous – you can be interrupted at any time. Plus, remember that a Pokemon standing inside its zone restores health, so it’s better to fight it away from it.

Pokemon Unite Overview

The maximum level of a Pokémon in a match is 15th.

Everyone will come in handy

Pokémon are not only divided into five types (attack, support, defense, versatility and speed), but they can also fight either up close or at a distance. If you want to defend zones from advancing enemies, take the Snorlax defender – this strong fat man does good damage, and as he pumps, he can acquire a large shield that repels opponents. For those who like to be in the center of action, Zeraora is a very strong and fast Pokémon that can deal electricity damage in a small area while simultaneously making normal attacks.

Wigglytuff is interesting in that its effectiveness depends on the use of the environment – you can greatly ruin the enemy’s life by pushing off the walls and constantly hitting him.

At the beginning of the match, the Pokemon has only one move, and the second is unlocked a little later – they are activated by pressing R and ZR. There is also a standard attack. Upon reaching certain levels, at the bottom of the screen, you can choose how to replace (or how to improve) a particular skill. For example, a charizard breathes fire for a short distance, and over time, its fire will reach targets located a little further. It will be possible to change this ability for a blow that knocks back enemies. Finally, in the second half of the match, an “ult” becomes available, which briefly makes the Pokémon especially strong – it can only be used a couple of times. All Pokemon have different abilities, and everyone will find a fighter to their taste.

In my case, a favorite pokemon was found quickly – the zeraora, which is given to everyone on release, is very good in any situation. But experimenting and playing with different creatures is not allowed here – since the game is shareware, it will not be possible to collect all the Pokemon soon. One is given to you for completing the basic tutorial, another is a zeraora (but after August 31 it will become paid), plus a few more to get just by logging into Pokemon Unite every day. But that’s not all – you can quickly buy a couple of Pokemon in the store for the accumulated money, and three more are available temporarily and change periodically – so that you try them and buy them if you like them.

Sometimes it is better not to approach a zeraora.

Few, but generally enough. I can’t say that I’ve ever experienced a shortage of Pokémon, and the strongest of them (users have already managed to agree on this) are cheaper than the rest. In two days, you will be able to save up for Snorlax and Eldegoss, which can easily be called the best in their categories. Although it’s always a shame when your “main” is taken away at the character selection stage, there’s nothing to be upset about, since the rest of the Pokemon are just as fun to play.

One nuance

At the same time, monetization in Pokemon Unite was so clever that at first you don’t even want to delve into it. The match launch screen shows two currencies – gold coins and paid gems – but in fact there are many more. There are tickets that are spent on consumables and items in the store. There are fashion tickets needed to purchase some items of clothing. There are Holowear tickets that change the appearance of Pokémon – you can dress Machampa in beach shorts and put a wreath on it. There are item enhancers…

It’s worth stopping here, as these amps have caused some nasty discussions about whether there is a pay-2-win here. Pokémon can take with them things that improve their characteristics. Some increase strength and attack speed, others increase health, and so on. The base versions of these items are weak, making it difficult to notice the effect of them. But amplifiers make them noticeably more powerful. For example, there is a bandage that gives +1 attack and +0% attack speed. Having poured the accumulated amplifiers into it and bringing it to level 10, I got +5 to attack and +2.5% to speed, and this is not the limit – at the maximum, level 20, the indicators will be twice as high.

Pokemon Unite Overview

Although the game score is not displayed, teams are sometimes told that they have an advantage or are behind. If it is obvious that there is no need to suffer further, you can surrender by a joint vote.

Each Pokemon can be equipped with up to three things, and it is obvious that with three pumped items, the character will be stronger than his “naked” version. It’s hard to argue with the fact that this is pay-2-win – if you come across an enemy that deals more damage and is stronger in itself, it will become more difficult to emerge victorious.

A very unfortunate decision, especially considering that the game already has something to spend money on. If you don’t want to save coins for Pokemon for a long time, you can pay. If you want to dress the coach in something special, do the same. There was a battle pass here (where, by the way, dozens of amplifiers are given for free), and its paid version also costs money. Moreover, the currency is not returned – after two months you have to pay again. Fortunately, there aren’t really any real rewards there – cosmetic items for the trainer, no matter how cute they look, you will see only in the wardrobe and on the start screen, but basically the pass offers them.

Pokemon Unite Overview

The most frustrating thing is to put a bunch of amplifiers into an item that is actually not very good. Therefore, I recommend that you first read the advice of other players.

Not everything is bad

There is a feeling that the developers themselves got confused in a bunch of currencies and did not notice the obvious problem with amplifiers. On the other hand, as with any pay-2-win, investing money does not guarantee winning. Firstly, you still need to learn how to play, and secondly, this is team entertainment, so a bad team can pull even the strongest coach to the bottom.

So far, I haven’t got into matches after which I wanted to write an angry review about monetization and injustice – I have a lot more wins than losses, including in the rating mode. But over time, when users begin to better understand the game and pour money into it, the situation may worsen. Fortunately, the developers are beginning to suspect something – they have published a survey in which you can indicate in one of the paragraphs that the game has a very intrusive monetization that gives gameplay advantages. Maybe the tick put by many will change something?

Pokemon Unite Overview

Sometimes it seems that in the match you did something alone.

It seems that if there is a pay-2-win, then it is obvious that you should not touch the game. But my hand doesn’t rise to give a low rating – it’s not just that I sat in Pokemon Unite for several days in a row (and will continue after passing the review), encouraging my friends to download it. Most likely, the point is the duration of the matches – they last only ten minutes. It takes less than a second to search for players, then another minute to select Pokémon, and after only a quarter of an hour you can search for the next match. Everything is very fast, and therefore exciting. Moreover, there is no need to wait for the rating mode – it becomes available after a few hours.

If you want even shorter matches, there is a “Quick Game” mode for this – the maps are smaller there (and they differ from the main stadium), the teams are the same (three or four people each), and the time is reduced to five minutes. I mostly go into this mode just for the dailies, but it’s still commendable that already at this stage there is entertainment in addition to the standard five-on-five matches.

Pokemon Unite Overview

Currency and cosmetic items can also be obtained in the “gacha” – after every third or fourth match, a reward awaits you.

If it weren’t for the controversial monetization, it would be easier to recommend Pokemon Unite – the unusual idea is well implemented, the gameplay is captivating, the Pokemon are charming and diverse. But when you try to understand millions of currencies, your head starts to hurt. I hope that the situation with improvements for items will be changed so that it is possible to praise the game without further explanation. It’s good and sure to be a hit when it hits mobile platforms in September, but it could be made even better.

Pros: interesting idea and good implementation; Pokémon, as well as the ways of their development during the match, are quite diverse; addictive gameplay, also thanks to a very fast search for matches.

Cons: with monetization they were so smart that they could not do without pay-2-win.

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