Pokémon Unite is finally among us! The promising competitive video game with our beloved ones Pokémon as fighters, comes to Nintendo Switch for free. We are facing such a title MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), which includes much more famous and well-established video games such as, among others, League of Legends e Dota 2. Pokémon Unite brings with it the main rules of the genre but alongside a gameplay fresco e intuitive and all the charm of Pokémon. Let’s find out all the features of Pokémon Unite in our review.
Our Pokémon Unite Review
The basic rules for playing Pokémon Unite are very simple: two teams of five players compete in a map featuring two lanes and a neutral central area. Each player controls a Pokémon, each with their own unique abilities and play style. Within the map, the Pokémon controlled by the players will have to collect points by defeating some neutral Pokémon scattered around the map and stealing the points to enemy players. The points, represented in game as yellow energy balls, must be delivered to one of the enemy bases. The team with the most points at the end of the match wins.
Watchwords: speed and simplicity
Already from these few lines it is clear the simplicity that wants to keep Pokémon Unite which fits perfectly with the game times particularly far from the MOBA genre. Forget the endless 50+ minute games of Dota 2, each game of Pokémon Unite lasts 10 minutes. In these few minutes we will have to be faster and more capable than our team to transport the points where they are needed. To do it, we will have 20 Pokémon available controllable to choose at the beginning of each match, between Venusaur, Gengar, Lucario, Pikachu and the others. Although the number is small compared to the 893 Pokémon available out there, the guaranteed starting variety is truly remarkable.
Each Pokémon has a basic attack, 2 active abilities, a passive ability, and a fine movele or Unite. We are faced with a rather reduced set of moves compared to the classic MOBAs, which include at least 4 active skills, but which still manage to guarantee excellent gameplay. At the beginning of the game we will have only one skill that will allow us to carry out the initial tasks of the match such as acquiring points from Neutral Pokémon and press on the wools. The latter are characterized by presence of two allied “bases” and two enemies on each side. In addition to being the place to actually use the accumulated points to validate them, the bases will provide protection and care for the Pokémon of the respective team.
Achieved a certain number of points a base can be destroyed which will damage the enemy team who will have one less “safe” place. Similarly, the opposing team will have fewer points on the map to give their points to which will help the struggling team defend a smaller and smaller area of the map. This is a simple but effective pretext for the balance of the game.
There are no Pokémon without evolution
In general the gameplay is characterized by a very fast pace and full of action where we will frequently use the basic attack, ranged or melee, of our Pokémon. There is no mana in Pokémon Unite, the only limit of abilities is therefore represented by a loading time (cooldown). The two active skills we told you about, can be upgraded by leveling up. In fact, killing neutral and non-neutral Pokémon will also provide experience. The level increase of Pokémon is obviously reserved for the game you are playing and will affect the basic statistics and the development of skills, which we will see later.
By gaining experience we will be able to choose and develop active skills. Although, as anticipated, during the match we will only be able to use 2, those available are 4 but we will have to make a choice (at level 1 and level 4) on which one to use for this specific match. We will therefore have to carefully weigh our choice according to our opponents or the style of play we want to use. For some Pokémon, the level-up also results in a small animation of its evolution. If for example we choose Charizard as our Pokémon, we will start the match with More charming who only arrived at Level 10, will finally become Charizard. From this mechanic of the evolutions is excluded, currently, only Pikachu.
In addition to abilities, Pokémon can enter battle with gods objects that will offer more than useful benefits. There is no store inside the map as happens in other titles, but before starting a battle we can give our Pokémon up to three items that can increase its attack, speed, or give it boost buffs interesting. To these is also added an active object that will be used by ourselves during the match. We have, for example, the potion, which gives some HP, Attack X to temporarily boost the attack and so on.
Pokémon Unite: the various modes
The game offers a number of mode which can be selected from the main menu. These are anticipated by a short but effective one Tutorial which explains all the game mechanics in a clear and concise way. At the beginning we will have only the standard mode with which you can fight against other players online. Once you have reached Trainer level 7 and unlocked at least 5 Pokémon, we will have access to ranked matches with its own ranking system. At level 9 instead we will unlock the quick mode with a new map and special rules. As it turns out, Quick Mode will always introduce new maps with new rules for an extra dose of gameplay variety, which never hurts.
The Ranked mode will obviously be the host. The classification system is divided into 6 levels: Beginner, Great, Expert, Veteran, Ultra e Master. Each level is divided by 3, 4 or 5 sublevels and it will be necessary to win at least 3 matches without ever losing to move on to the next. Season 1 is already active in the game, so beware!
Let’s not forget the coaches
In addition to selecting the methods, in the main menu we will have the opportunity to participate in the matchmaking, train and take a look at the available Pokémon and their abilities. Ours will also be present here player profile which is associated with the avatar of a Pokémon trainer that we will be able to create at the beginning of the game, as well as customize it with lots of clothes and accessories. Our profile is also linked to a coach level which we have already told you about. In addition to giving us access to new modes, the trainer level will allow us to obtain rewards such as personal items, for Pokémon, in-game currency, skins and much more.
From the menu we will also have access to missions and ai daily events to be fulfilled to get tempting rewards. Obviously not even the mythical is missing Seasonal Battle Pass to buy (for real money) to get more rewards as you level up.
MOBA with style
From a technical point of view, Pokémon Unite boasts one lively and colorful graphic style in perfect Pokémon style. The animations are many, all different depending on the Pokémon and are exactly what we expected from each of them. Likewise Pokémon models are sensational, smooth and pleasant to look at. Some filing is still needed for some glitch O graphic defects, but we are confident for the future. This will have to make improvements (or at least we hope) to the game audio which although it boasts a gritty soundtrack, it presents many flaws in terms of audio effects of moves, hits, deaths and kills. The sounds related to these mechanics are rather mild and sometimes non-existent and affect quite a lot the degree of satisfaction that a match can generate.
In return the hardware of the Nintendo Switch manages to best meet the needs of the game, never so high, but which in any case require a good workload of the machine especially during the most lively actions. We have never encountered any frame rate drops or bugs that are particularly important.
Particular attention, however, must be given to balancing some Pokémon that are far too powerful compared to others. Force yes Zeraora, for example, is devastating in many situations while poor support Pokémon, such as Eldegoss O Mr.Mime, have a very low impact on the match and it is in fact very rare to find them in game.
The review of Pokémon Unite in a nutshell
Pokémon Unite has everything we expected from a Pokémon-style MOBA. Simplicity, clarity e speed are the main elements of this title that do not affect the degree of entertainment. The main flaws are related to the launch phases of any online competitive video game (see the balance of the characters), but with a good dose of patches and constant improvement, we are sure that Pokémon Unite can become one of the new players in the competitive scenario. .
Pokémon Unite is now available for free on Nintendo Switch and will be available on mobile devices starting September 2021.
- Simple but effective gameplay
- Just start 40 minutes
- Very funny
- Well done Pokémon and animations
- Some balance problems
- Soundtrack and feedback to improve