Coming as quite the surprise to its franchise, TiMi Studios‘ Pokémon Unite provides an accessible competitive MOBA for Nintendo Switch, with easy-to-understand objectives and an addictive gameplay loop. However, there are some unfortunate issues with its character balancing. Some Pokémon are evidently more powerful than others, which in turn can make some matches especially frustrating. Microtransactions can have a concerning effect on gameplay as well.

The primary objective of Pokémon Unite is to defeat wild and enemy Pokémon to score points. You achieve this by reaching your opponents’ goal posts on the other side of the map, but obviously your enemies are striving for the same thing. This simple premise provides an addictive gameplay loop that has kept me occupied every day for the past week. Working together as a team is extremely satisfying, and I’ve enjoyed playing it online with my friends. Queueing solo isn’t ideal, as Pokemon Unite is best played with a full team of five and voice chat.

The game has a few modes, including Quick, Standard, and the highly competitive Ranked mode. Each mode is what it sounds like, with Quick matches lasting only five minutes.

There are other mechanics in place that boost your chances of winning, such as Rotom making an individual goal post defenseless, allowing you to score double points. In the same way, Zapdos can be defeated near the end of a match, which makes all enemy goal posts defenseless. At the time of writing, defeating Zapdos feels like the “make-or-break” moment in Pokémon Unite. As a result, this often makes the previous eight minutes of a match feel meaningless, especially if your team isn’t working together properly. Right now, strategy and management surrounding Zapdos has too much say in whether or not your team is victorious. Meanwhile, other Pokémon such as Drednaw and Bouffalant introduce worthwhile buffs that don’t feel overpowered and that can be easily counteracted with the right setup.

There are a variety of playable Pokémon to choose from in Pokémon Unite, each with their own roles and spanning all eight generations of the franchise. Just like with most spin-offs, there is an obvious level of favoritism directed towards the first generation. However, developer TiMi Studios has promised that more Pokémon will be arriving in the future. Gardevoir was released a mere week after launch, and Blastoise is scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks. That being said, the roster itself is quite varied and each Pokémon has a unique play style. You’ll likely find a favorite soon enough, and my go-to choice in Pokémon Unite is Cinderace, as I enjoy playing ranged attackers.


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