MOBA games have always been one of the more popular genres of games, starting from its inception on DotA Allstars. Now, the MOBA genre has made a lot of titans like Dota 2 and League of Legends. However, the Pokémon series has now made its way to the genre with Pokémon UNITE.
In this article, you’ll find out more about Pokémon UNITE, including the release date and the features that you need to take note of.
What Is Pokémon UNITE?
Pokémon UNITE is an upcoming multiplayer online battle arena or MOBA announced on June 24, 2020, in a Nintendo Direct. The game is free-to-start, meaning players don’t need to pay to play immediately, but there are in-app purchases, specifically for characters. The game is created by TiMi Studios and will be released by the Pokémon Company.
Pokemon UNITE Release Date
The game is available for the Nintendo Switch and eventually on mobile devices. The Nintendo Switch version will be released on July 21. Meanwhile, the Pokemon UNITE release date for mobile is scheduled for September this year.
Time will tell if a PC version or a console version of the game will be created.
Pokémon UNITE Preview
After knowing the Pokemon UNITE release date, let’s now take a look at the features. Let’s talk about the basics: Pokémon UNITE takes place on Aeos Island, an island spoken of only in myths. Once players start Pokémon UNITE, they’ll find themselves with the Unite Battle Committee or UBC. The UBC runs Unite Battles now and again for entertainment, and for trainers to pit themselves against each other.
Pokémon UNITE’s gameplay is pretty similar to other MOBAs, but with a Pokémon twist. For one, players begin a match with each Pokemon’s initial evolution stage. So, for example, you don’t start as an Alolan Ninetales, but as an Alolan Vulpix. Of course, there are exceptions like Snorlax and Pikachu, but we’re dealing with semantics.
For now, though, let’s not talk about Pokemon and their evolutions. Let’s talk about the game’s controls and combat first.
Controls and Combat
When a match starts, all of the Pokémon in the game start as level 1. In addition, they’ll only start with their passive and basic moves. Along the way, they’ll need to defeat wild Pokémon that are all around the arena as well as the opposing team’s Pokémon. Doing this gains them EXP, which they’ll need to grow stronger and evolve.
Along the way, they can replace their basic moves with more powerful variants that give various effects. When they reach a certain level, they’ll gain the UNITE Move, a move so powerful that it can change the course of a battle. Of course, such power has limits. Thus, the UNITE Move can only be used a limited amount of times in a match.
To win a match, there’s a scoring system in play. Players need to get a higher score to win against the opposing team. Getting points means obtaining Aeon energy through beating Wild and the opposing team’s Pokémon.
After defeating other Pokemon, players then need to deliver the Aeon Energy to goal zones located on the opposing team’s sides. Do note that each of the game arenas on Pokemon UNITE can have different rules and Wild Pokemon. Of course, that includes which Legendary Pokémon appears in the match. Thus, it’s imperative to keep a close eye on things while you’re playing.
Currently, we know of four game modes in Pokémon UNITE. These are Practice, Standard Battles, Ranked Matches, and Quick Matches.
Practice Matches are where players can pick any Pokémon—yes, even those you don’t have—and test them out. You play against AI opponents, and players can then test out their chosen Pokémon’s skills and abilities here. This is great especially for free-to-play players as they have a limited amount of resources to buy Unite Licenses. For the whales, however, that’s not a problem, but it’s nice to have an option to bring Pokémon out on a test drive.
If you’re familiar with other MOBAs, then you’ll know that Standard Battles are matches that don’t have anything at stake. They’re for fun, maybe to test out a Pokémon against real players or to have a match with friends. Players have three options on Standard Battles:
- CPU Match: If you want to group with four other people against AI.
- Random Match: Play with and against random players.
- Friend Match: Create a match between 10 other players on the player’s Friend List.
After players reach a certain level, they get the ability to participate in Ranked Matches. Players face off against other players with the same rank. If the player’s team wins, they get points that help them advance in rank. If they lose, they lose points, et cetera. It’s the usual ranked ladder system on MOBAs. However, there are quite a few rewards at stake for the best of the best.
Last but not least is Quick Battle, which has players fight quickly, with less time, and against fewer people. The stages of Quick Battle rotate every once in a while. This means that players have no idea what stage they’re going to play on next, adding to the unpredictability. Like Standard Battles, players have three options to pick on Quick Battles:
- CPU Matches: the same as on Standard Battles, but only with two to three other friends.
- Random Matches: Play with, and against, random players.
- Friend Matches: Exactly like Standard Battles, but with fewer friends.
Currently, Pokémon UNITE has four maps that were shown in previous trailers. These are Shivre City, Mer Stadium, Auroma Park, and lastly, Remoat Island. There are five confirmed maps, but the fifth map hasn’t been revealed yet. For now, let’s talk about the four maps already shown:
First off is Shivre City, the smallest map in the game with only one goal zone per team. Objectives are still the same, get points to the goal and the most points win. There’s no legendary Pokemon appearance here, but there’s an Avalugg at the center of the map. Killing it will spawn a barrier to defend the team’s goal zone.
In addition to this, there are special Speed Flux Zones all around the map. Strategic use of the Speed Flux Zones allows players to reposition themselves around the map accordingly. That, or retreat when they’re low on health to heal. In short, Shivre City is a great map if you want to have a quick battle with a lot of high-speed stakes.
Mer Stadium is a smaller version of Remoat Island, which we’ll talk about below. Due to the map being a smaller version of Remoat Island, there’s a lot of pretty versatile ways of movement. The paths in Mer Stadium have areas and places where players can hide themselves to do ambushes as well. Thus, careful consideration needs to be done before committing an attack.
In addition, the map’s center has a Legendary Pokemon, Zapdos, who gives off a great boost when killed. That, and the fact that killing Zapdos opens up the map’s center, as well as exposing all of the opposing team’s goals to your team.
Auroma Park is a weird map on Pokemon UNITE, but not in a bad way. For one, there are only two Goal Areas in this map as well. However, the difference between Auroma Park and Shivre City is the fact that both teams share the same Goal Areas. This adds a layer of complication and strategic thinking to the map that players need to adapt to.
In addition to the shared Goal Areas, the map also has conveyor belts to ship Pokemon around. Careful use would mean victory and defeat as, depending on where you’re going, you can either get a boost or allow enemies to catch up. Last but not the least, Regigigas is the arena’s legendary Pokemon, appearing in the center of the arena. Killing Regigigas gives a large number of points that can help in keeping the lead, or catching up.
Lastly, Remoat Island is considered to be the biggest map in the game. According to the developers, they created the map so that players can coordinate huge attacks better. That, as well as to strategize their movements accordingly based on the information on the map. This, they said, allows Remoat Island to have the “biggest brawls” when it comes to Pokémon fighting.
In addition to this, the map’s center will feature a Legendary Pokemon, aka Zapdos, that would roost. This gives players a chance to fight it and get points for their team. In addition to this, the bottom half of the arena also has a powerful Drednaw. Killing Drednaw gives juicy experience and shields to the team that kills it.
In terms of sound design, all of the Pokemon in the game are well voiced. The moves are crisp and great to hear, and there’s nothing that stands out in terms of sound discrepancies.
Usable Pokemon and Their Roles
As of right now, we know of 20 playable Pokémon when the game is eventually released: Attackers, 4 All-Rounders, 3 Defenders, 4 Speedsters, and 3 Supporters. Let’s talk about them in order:
With the greatest DPS of the bunch, these guys deal a lot of damage to enemies if they get close enough with skills and attacks.
Pikachu has been the adorable mascot of the Pokémon series for quite a long time now. And this time, he’s no longer satisfied as being just an adorable electro mouse. Now, he wants to kick ass. He zooms around the arena with electric attacks that deal quite the wallop and does have a few AoE attacks. Do note, though, that Pikachu’s incredibly hyperfocused on the offensive side of things. Thus, players who use him will probably get caught in the middle of enemy territory. Do make sure that you’re friends with other players and supports, ‘cause you’re probably gonna need it.
Scorbunny is one of the starter Pokémon on Pokémon Sword and Shield, and they’re pretty willing to scorch their enemies. Because Scorbunny is an Attacker Pokemon, the Fire Starter is incredibly good at ambushing opponents and being in places that would best surprise the enemy. As usual, though, make sure that you have the appropriate methods of escape just in case everything goes south.
Scorbunny will evolve to Raboot, and then Cinderace.
Next up is the Alolan Vulpix, whose abilities can not only slow but also silence and freeze enemies. Hailing from Alola, this variant of Vulpix is a tricky Pokémon to master. This Pokémon has speed and debuffs in spades, which will be useful when trying to hunt down opponents and other wild Pokémon. Do note that they’re very fragile, and thus, vulnerable to ganks and one-shots.
Alolan Vulpix will evolve to Alolan Ninetales.
Next up is Froakie, a Water-type and one of the more difficult Pokemon to main in Pokemon UNITE. And for good reason. For one, Froakie’s moves are dependent on slowdowns, dashes, and distractions. A good Froakie player will know when to move in for the kill, and then retreat. All in all, if you’re a technical player, then Froakie’s a good choice to bring into the arena.
Froakie will evolve to Frogadier, and then to Greninja.
Cramorant is yet another ranged attacker on the attacker class Pokemon. A Flying/Water-type by trade, Cramorant’s shtick is defense reduction, slows, and displacement. In addition to this, Cramorant’s passive allows players to be a bit more aggressive, as they can use their prey to counterattack. In short, Cramorant players usually dance around attacking and retreating, constantly. Thus, mastering a good offensive strategy and a retreat method is usually the key to being a Cramorant main.
Last but not least on the Attackers’ side is Bulbasaur, one of the original starters from Gen 1. Bulbasaur might be a weird choice for an attacker, but make no mistake, they’re incredibly terrifying to face. This is because of their ability to deal huge amounts of damage using DOTs and Burst. A savvy Bulbasaur main can, and will, turn the enemy team into sludge if positioned correctly. Combine that with some insane survivability through lifesteal and you have a juggernaut of a Pokémon to deal with.
Bulbasaur will evolve to Ivysaur, and then to Venusaur.
Next up are the All-Rounders, the Pokémon that are the jack of all trades, masters of none. These are the ones you go for when you want to have a little bit of everything, and then some.
Gible is an incredibly complicated Pokémon to play on Pokémon UNITE. A Ground/Dragon-type hailing from Sinnoh, this little fellow can and will bulldoze you to bits if you give him a chance. The Gible line of Pokémon has always been one of the more favorable evolution lines in the original games. And if we’re being honest here? That distinction is still applicable, as Gible’s pure power can make or break games. If you’re playing Gible well, you have full control over your opponent. If your opponent’s playing Gible, well, you best hope that you can outmaneuver him/her.
Gible will evolve to Gabite, and then to Garchomp.
Next up is Charmander, yet another Generation 1 Pokemon that will always be a perennial favorite. The Charmander evolution line has long been seen as a powerhouse, and on Pokemon UNITE, that hasn’t changed. Charmander’s flame attacks are either AoE, burn, displacement, or area denial. In short, if you’re near melee range, you’re probably going to die.
All in all, Charmander’s a Pokemon you get if you wish to turn the arena into a firestorm. You can indeed do that with any of the Fire types in the game, but it’s especially true for Charmander.
Charmander will evolve to Charmeleon, and then to Charizard.
Next on the list is Machop, yet another Gen 1 powerhouse Pokemon that eventually gains more arms the moment he turns to Machamp. Machop is yet another of the All-Rounders that have a lot of versatility in the game.
Machop will evolve to Machoke, and then to Machamp.
Last but not least on the All-Rounders is Lucario, a Fighting-type Pokémon that uses Aura in battle. Lucario is one of the more difficult All-Rounders to play with as he has a lot of movement abilities.
Optimal use of Lucario’s movement abilities is key to defeat or victory with him, so it’s best to be attentive to where he goes.
Next up are the Defenders, the Pokemon that have a lot of endurance to take attacks and even dish out some damage. We’re going to start with Slowpoke, Crustle, and then Snorlax.
Slowpoke in Pokemon UNITE is a really tough Defender to kill not only because of his high endurance, though that’s also a factor, but also because Oblivious is nuts. The Oblivious Passive is Slowpoke’s bread and butter and careful use of his other abilities would make Slowpoke an incredibly hard prospect to take down. In addition to this, his various Crowd Control abilities are a menace, which will disrupt enemy formations and teams.
Slowpoke will evolve to Slowbro. Time will tell if we will get Slowking as an Evolution.
Dwebble is a bit weird for a tank because it’s a tank that wants to dish out as much damage as it can take. In addition to its myriad of stuns and trap abilities, Dwebble can also sacrifice defense for increased damage. This makes Dwebble a terrifying prospect because it can switch buffs on a whim to gut the Pokémon attacking it. And when he gets low—he’ll just gain more defense thanks to his passive.
Dwebble will evolve to Crustle.
Last but not least is our favorite road blocker, Snorlax, who is pretty much a shoo-in for the Defender role. In addition to having so much HP and defense, Snorlax also has several ways to heal itself. From the Gluttony Passive to Rest, Snorlax will never die if played correctly, making it a hardy and dependable tank character. Certainly, one who would you want to use when the release date for Pokemon UNITE arrives.
Speedsters are Pokémon that emphasize quickly getting to the fight and getting out just as fast. They’re the scouts, the initial DPS, and Assassins. Do note that Speedsters are incredibly low on bulk and can die quickly. Thus, careful planning is necessary for success. To talk about Speedsters, we’ll start with Absol, then Talonflame, Gengar, and lastly, Zeraora.
Absol is the first Speedster Pokémon that we’re going to talk about. As for why he’s in the Speedster class? Well, it’s due to how fast he and his compatriots can kill other Pokémon. In terms of capabilities, however, Absol is one of the more difficult Speedsters due to the movement skills he has. Thus, the same warnings apply; make sure to know where you’re going, and always have a way to escape.
Fletchling is yet another Speedster Pokémon that has similar movement capabilities to Absol but favors high burst damage. Don’t get us wrong, Absol has that as well. However, Fletchling, and especially Talonflame, can rip Pokémon to shreds if they get in range. Their passive, Gale Wings, makes escaping easy when at high HP, and most of their abilities have some means of escape.
Fletchling will evolve into Fletchinder and then Talonflame.
Last for the speedsters is Ghastly, who has several unique options due to his spread ability. They’re pretty much a good definition of a Glass Cannon, as their low HP makes them a prime target. However, once they manage to get into the fray, they’re very much a menace, as befitting to a ghost. A lot of their abilities also have methods to debilitate their opponents, which is something to consider.
Ghastly will evolve into Haunter, and then Gengar.
Zeraora is the game’s first playable mythical Pokemon, and it fits the description. A fast Electric-type, it zips around the battlefield, dealing as much damage as possible before beating a hasty retreat. This Pokemon’s abilities are among the tippy top of the Speedster Class, though we don’t have any idea of its abilities yet.
In addition to this, Zeraora is a limited-time Pokemon. Nintendo Switch users need to register and log in to the game before July 31 to claim him. Meanwhile, mobile users are promised to also gain access to Zeraora on the September release of the game there.
Lastly, we have the Supporters, who each have their ways to support their allies and turn the tide of battle. Some of them can be pretty nuts if used correctly. To start, we’ll talk about Mr. Mime, then Jigglypuff, and lastly, Gossifleur.
Mr. Mime is a straight-up Barrier Master of epic proportions. Think Annivia from League of Legends, but with more barriers, and a lot of ways to stun enemies, DoTs, and slows. As a Psychic-type, Mr. Mime can be a veritable menace, with a myriad of ways to control the area around him. Not only that, but he has high endurance as well, making him a tough opponent to kill.
Next on the list is Jigglypuff, a Pokémon that people who watched the anime know all too well. The Pokémon has their signature Sing attack. And thanks to the Cute Charm passive, enemies will slow down when attacking you, giving players time to use moves. Also, when necessary, Jigglypuff can deliver quite a wicked slap to the face.
Jigglypuff will evolve to Wigglytuff.
Lastly, we have Gossifleur, a Pokémon with healing and movement speed manipulation. Gossifleur’s abilities all center around healing, damage mitigation, and slows. This makes Gossifleur easy to use as your only goal is to heal and mitigate damage. The slows also help in adding a bit of utility on Gossifleur, making it a really good way to escape fast Pokémon like Absol or Gengar.
Gossifleur will evolve into Eldegoss.
Other than these Pokémon, there’s already talk of three more that will be added later this year. Blastoise and Gardevoir are the ones confirmed, but the third Pokémon is still unknown.
Pokemon Unite vs. Other Mobile MOBAs
Now that we’ve talked about Pokemon UNITE’s features and release date, let’s talk about how it might compare against other mobile MOBAs. Here are a few suggestions while waiting for the Pokemon UNITE release. We’ll start with Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, then Arena of Valor, and lastly, League of Legends: Wild Rift.
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
Mobile Legends is usually considered to be the mobile MOBA that started it all, though there were a few controversies here and there. The game had a huge following back when it was released; after all, you can play a MOBA on mobile. Essentially making it so that you can play wherever you want so long as you have an internet connection. Due to this, alongside some collaborations and other things, Mobile Legends retained its player base.
However, Mobile Legends is pretty much a direct rip from traditional MOBAs like League of Legends and Dota 2. The map’s almost the same in general, with some exceptions on jungle areas. Some heroes look and even play the same as LoL and Dota 2. Still, that’s old news. In short, Mobile Legends is one of the prominent Mobile MOBAs out there.
Arena of Valor
Next up is Arena of Valor, another of the prominent mobile MOBAs out there. Arena of Valor is still a straight-up copy of all the MOBAs that we’ve mentioned, but it does have its unique flair. And by unique, we mean the sheer amount of game modes that the game has and the collaborations that they included. Some collaborations in question include Sword Art Online, the DC Universe, Bleach, Contra, and even KFC.
League of Legends: Wild Rift
Last on the list is League of Legends: Wild Rift, a mobile version of the popular League of Legends MOBA. The game still has its usual gameplay and look, but with fewer heroes. However, it’s been confirmed that the game will eventually have all of the original heroes from the main game. For now, though, we’ll have to be content with just 49 heroes in the game.
Is Pokemon UNITE Worth Downloading on Its Release?
If you want to have a MOBA that uses your beloved Pokémon in a battle, then yes, you might want to get Pokémon UNITE. The game is a fresh take on the Pokémon franchise with a lot of potential. Certainly, you would want to check out Pokemon UNITE for mobile devices when its release date arrives. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see more of the game in the future.