18 Jul 2021 1:08 PM +00:00

When does Pokemon Unite, the new MOBA game, land on Nintendo Switch?

We're a handful of days from the release of Pokemon Unite and we can't wait to get stuck into this new MOBA experience on our Nintendo Switch and Mobile devices. The Pokemon 25th Anniversary is on the way later this year and this could be an exciting first step in celebrating such an event. It's a bit of a risk, but it could pay off! Here's what we know...

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LATEST - What Actually Is A MOBA Game?

If you're not sure what a MOBA game is, we don't blame you. MOBA stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena and is a format of competitive multiplayer game popularised by titles like DOTA 2 and League of Legends.

The fan-developed title, DOTA (also known as Defense Of The Ancients) was actually one of the first MOBA titles. However, since then, it has become increasingly popular thanks to esports events like the DOTA 2 International and League of Legends World Championship.

Pokemon Unite might not have that much impact, yet, but it follows in the footsteps of these esports giants with top-down multiplayer combat that looks like a lot of fun.

Pokemon Unite Release Date Confirmed

Let’s start with the most important detail... When do we get to give Pokemon Unite a go?! Until now, all we've seen is information about the Regional Beta.

Finally the developers have announced that Pokemon Unite will release on July 21, 2021, for the Nintendo Switch, with the mobile version (iOS and Android) following in September of the same year.

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Which Pokemon will be part of the game?

Of course, Pikachu, Charizard, and Snorlax could not miss this new adventure. But there are some interesting exclusions. Here's the list of the Pokemon confirmed so far:

  • Pikachu
  • Venusaur
  • Charizard
  • Alolan Ninetails
  • Mr. Mime
  • Snorlax
  • Garchomp
  • Cinderace
  • Crustle
  • Greninja
  • Talonflame
  • Absol
  • Gardevoir
  • Machamp
  • Eldegoss
  • Lucario
  • Slowbro
  • Wigglytuff
  • Cramorant
  • Gengar
  • Zeraora
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There have been some additional Pokemon spotted in early trailers and leaks like Blastoise, Bouffalant, Toxicroak, and Bewear, but these are not officially announced or expected to drop on launch.

A scene from Pokemon Unite with Snorlax and Pikachu
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CATCH 'EM ALL: Sample gameplay from Pokemon Unite

All Game Modes

Pokemon Unite's main game mode consists of 2 teams of 5 players competing against each other. Each player control a different Pokemon. However, Pokemon stirred things a little. Traditionally, you aim in a MOBA is to destroy the enemy base while you do everything you can to defend yours.

For what we could see in the Beta version, Pokemon battle each other across the map in order to gather a resource called Aeos energy. You collect this energy in small amounts by defeating wild Pokemon (computer-controlled) or in larger amounts by defeating player-controlled enemies.

Once Aeos energy is gathered, you must take it to one of the opposing team’s goals and deposit in a base. Enemies will try to interrupt your dunking with attacks, or steal your Aeos energy by killing you.

Though types like grass, fire, water, and dark have no strengths or weaknesses in the arena, Pokemon are categorised into one of several roles — Attacker, Defender, Speedster, Supporter, or All-Rounder. Nonetheless, the mechanics are simpler than other games of this kind, so feel free to bring your favourite Pokemon to the battle.

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A scene in Pokemon Unite with Pikachu trying different outfits
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DRESS UP: You can change the looks of your Pokemons

Microtransactions

Pokemon Unite’s shopping takes place between battles, where you can spend Aeos coins and Aeos tickets earned in battle to unlock new pocket monsters to personalize your trainer and your companions.

Aeos gems, purchased with real money, are reserved for the really fancy stuff, like full trainer and Pokémon costumes. Or you can just call them skins.

We can expect rolling updates to the Pokémon roster (or potentially more microtransactions to unlock them later down the track). We'll keep you posted.

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