Pokémon Unite Review: Not Quite A Slam Dunk For Switch Owners

“While the core gameplay of Pokémon Unite is fun, strange design choices and a complicated microtransaction system make simple MOBA difficult.”


  • Unique point system

  • Satisfying fight

  • Mostly balanced

  • Easy to record and play


Pokémon is a franchise that focuses on travel. Every time you open a case or download a new title, you know you are on an adventure that will take you to a new place in the ever-expanding world of Pikachu, Charizard, and friends. In my time as a Pokémon trainer, I’ve traversed the land of turn-based RPGs, navigated the AR landscape, and even traveled into the depths of the roguelike realm, but I never thought I’d find myself at the foot of Mt. would find again. MOBA.

Yes, Pokémon Unite is primarily a multiplayer online battle arena, much like League of Legends and Dota 2. However, it’s far more accessible than those notoriously dull games: Unite is a fun, easy-to-learn spin on the usual Pokémon formula that gives players new experiences with their favorite pocket monsters.

Pokémon Unite was released for Nintendo Switch on July 21st. It’s coming to mobile sometime in September, though Nintendo and developer TiMi Studio Group (a subsidiary of Tencent) aren’t yet to announce an exact date. The game is free to start and features a variety of real money microtransactions. While spin-offs are nothing new to the franchise, Unite is the latest in a long line of Pokémon mobile games aimed at taking the franchise in new directions.

By and large, Pokémon Unite is an approachable, if not exceptional, MOBA. The gameplay is fun and the design choices are original, but it often feels more like a Pokémon-skinned MOBA than a real-life Pokémon game. Focusing on the pick-up and play factor means it lacks the depth of other MOBAs and the Pokémon RPGs. The game’s mobile-centric design lends itself to a number of performance issues and a suspicious pay-to-win mechanic. Among all that junk, however, Unite isn’t a bad game. Only a few layers need to be shed.

A fight for the ages

Unite takes place on Aeos Island, where Professor Phorus and her assistant Erbie teach players the basics. Unite Battles take place on the island, where Trainers collect points by collecting their Pokémon Aeos Energy and scoring goals in their opponent’s target zones. Pokémon teams compete against each other in 5v5 battles, with each trainer controlling one Pokémon. The team that scores the most points before the time runs out wins.

It’s a refreshingly easy experience that ensures fights never drag on and losing teams always have a chance to return. It gives players a lot of individual freedom of action as they don’t need the help of their teammates to defeat AI-controlled wild Pokémon and…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>