Pokemon Unite launched last week, and it absolutely smashed it in terms of downloads. Everyone I know has been playing the game since release, and it’s only getting better. Part of the appeal is that this is a free Pokemon game. It’s a great combination for downloads. However, the other part of why it’s been doing so well is that the gameplay is actually decent. This is a MOBA yes, but it’s a Pokemon MOBA. Everything is just about different enough that it makes it feel like a good balance between the two, and that’s where it needed to be if it was ever going to succeed.
The game revolves around the usual MOBA stuff. Start out small, kill ads in the jungle to level up, and attack enemy players. Each enemy you kill, whether it’s an ad or enemy player, generates points. You score in enemy goals with these points to push up your score and help your team win. Every few levels, you’ll evolve, if your Pokemon evolves. Even if it doesn’t, it’ll gain new skills as you level up. Every match has a sense of progression, with in-game events and goals being destroyed as you score more, forcing you to get closer to the enemy base.
However, there is a darker side to this game. It’s got a tonne of microtransactions. This is something that plagues MOBAs in general, but it’s pretty horrible here. The game pushes so many your way that you feel obliged to purchase something. The worst thing is that you can gain an advantage over others if you spend money. It’s a toxic way of implementing microtransactions, but it’s one we should have expected with a Pokemon MOBA. This game needs to make money, and I think it will even if people know that it’s horrible.
The bottom line is that the gameplay is good though. If you can cope with microtransactions existing and avoid them, then you’ll be fine. Stay away from the game if you’re impulsive and like to buy things though. The game is so full of marketplaces that even those without the impulse might end up spending money without realising it.