'Pokemon Unite' Characters, Features, and Reviews: Will It Become a Pay-to-Win Game?

'Pokémon Unite' Mobile Download for Android, iOS, Switch: Links, Gameplay and More Details
Pokémon Unite is now available for download for iOS, Android, and Nintendo Switch, Sept. 22, Wednesday. Photo : Getty Images / Handout

"Pokemon Unite" has received heavy criticisms from pro and new players alike. In less than a day after the Pokemon "MOBA" game was released, accusations are thrown for its potential "pay-to-win" progression.

"Pokemon Unite" was recently introduced as a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game for Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android. Players get to fight in 5-v-5 battles and complete objectives on a selected map. This game initially left an impression similar to games like "Mobile Legends" and "Wild Rift."

However, a deeper look revealed that "Pokemon Unite" has a totally unique and exciting game style.

'Pokemon Unite' Gameplay Features

In the "Pokemon Unite" gameplay, two teams of five Pokemons are pitted against each other. Each team is composed of five battle types:

  • Attacker - Deals heavy Ranged Damage to enemies
  • Speedster - High Mobility and Offense
  • All-Rounder - Balanced Offense and Endurance
  • Defender - High Endurance
  • Supporter - Inflict Status Conditions on enemies and Heal allies

Destructoid reported in summary that the game is like a basketball/soccer hybrid with lots of Pokemon killing.

  • Players kill Neutral Pokemon (AI) and enemy players to get Aeos energy.
  • Players grab the Aeos energy and score (or dunk) it in the opponent's goals.
  • Players need to defend their own goals and prevent enemies from scoring
  • Players' team with the highest Aeos wins.

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'Pokemon Unite' Characters and In-Game Store

To play the game, players need to buy a Pokemon License for each specific Pokémon. At the time of writing, there are 20 available Pokemons in the shop, and more are coming soon. Some iconic Pokemons and their respective price have been listed by iMore:

  • Alolan Ninetales - 8,000 Aeos Coins / 460 Aeos Gems
  • Absol - 10,000 Aeos Coins / 575 Aeos Gems
  • Charizard - 6,000 Aeos Coins / 345 Aeos Gems
  • Lucario - 10,000 Aeos Coins / 575 Aeos Gems
  • Mr. Mime - 8,000 Aeos Coins / 460 Aeos Gems
  • Machamp - 8,000 Aeos Coins / 460 Aeos Gems
  • Pikachu - 6,000 Aeos Coins / 345 Aeos Gems
  • Snorlax - 6,000 Aeos Coins / 345 Aeos Gems
  • Venasaur - 8,000 Aeos Coins / 460 Aeos Gems

"Pokemon Unite" features two different currencies: in-game "coins" and premium currency "gems." It costs approximately $8 for 490 gems.  

Will 'Pokemon Unite' Become a Pay-to-Win Game?

Despite its incredible potential, analysts and gamers are not impressed. "Pokemon Unite" got criticisms for two specific features.

First, the game had rigid progression for free-to-play gamers. Playing the game on free track only earned players around 2,100 Aeos Coins a week. It is important to note that this would cost three weeks of grinding to unlock one of the cheaper Pokemons for free, per Destructoid.

The second is a "held item" system that could be used during matches. Players could buy "held items" and equip them to their Pokemon for permanent bonuses. A Pokemon upgraded with many "held items" will undoubtedly come out as an unbalance and overpowered (OP) character compared to free track gamers, according to Dotesports.

"Pokemon Unite" is still in its early week release, so players are giving the game the benefit of doubt. It has long-term potential if developers could properly balance free-to-play gamers with pay-to-win advantages. If not, the game undoubtedly falls in the pay-to-win category.

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