The Pokemon Company continues its relentless mission of trying its hand at every possible video game genre under the sun, and so I suppose it shouldn't have been a huge surprise that they would get to MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games at some point. Although I've dabbled in MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games like the free to play Smite and the juggernaut, League of Legends, I haven't really gotten far enough into any of them to be able to make any sort of real comparisons, but Pokémon Unite has been pretty easy to jump into and learn the ropes.

The game seems to have the standard trappings of the genre with PvP gameplay, three lanes, a jungle area where you can defeat environmental enemies to obtain buffs for your team, and a sizeable roster of characters you can play as, each specializing in different roles (in this case ranged and melee attackers, speedsters, and defenders). Pokémon Unite adopts the standard with free to play games of this type whereby the subset of available playable characters rotates, and you have to pony up some of the in-game currency in order to unlock a character permanently. You can accrue this currency over time via the free battle pass missions and various login bonuses, or you could speed up the process by paying real money and/or springing for the paid battle pass. No surprises there, and there are also purely cosmetic costumes that use a different currency that I believe purely require real money.

The game has built-in tutorials and a series of beginner missions that, if you complete them all, unlock a character, and at a certain point you'll unlock the ability to play ranked matches. I had a decent amount of fun getting to know the game and playing through a few matches each day, and although it was easy to win games early on, as my rank increased the game did get more challenging. I found the flow of the game to be a little repetitive as you build up your character and evolve it as the match progresses, but this type of game is all about coordinating your strategy with your team and that whole aspect is completely missing when playing with random people online and with no way to communicate aside from a basic list of phrases.

Pokémon Unite is bright and colorful and as usual for long-time Pokémon fans it's fun to see the variety of 'mon included with additional characters and costumes being released regularly. It's easy to play, so theoretically even younger players could get into it, although I'm not sure how much they would stick with it. I presume the game has enough depth that it could be satisfying to play at a competitive level too, but I have no idea how popular it's become. For myself I can say that this was a game that I didn't mind sinking some time into to finish the beginner missions, but I doubt I'm going to pick up again anytime soon, unless I had a group of friends who wanted to play it.


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