Pokémon Unite: the preview of the MOBA with Pikachu, Charizard and associates

Pokémon Unite: the preview of the MOBA with Pikachu, Charizard and associates

Pokémon Unite

The Pokémon Company and Nintendo have in common the ability to keep their projects hidden and not to let any more information leak externally than what was planned by the marketing department. A quality that has even improved with the various lockdowns: the two companies were protected by impenetrable iron curtains and it was impossible to understand what was boiling in the pot.

Let's think of Pokémon Unite, for example: after being announced several months ago, the MOBA with Pikachu, Charizard and associates has completely disappeared from circulation. The only information leaked was the sudden organization of an alpha on mobile devices in China; from which, moreover, very little has emerged. Now, however, we suddenly discover with a trailer the release period for Nintendo Switch: on iOS and Android it will arrive only a few months later.

In the new preview of Pokémon Unite we therefore discover how this awaited game for Nintendo will be Switch.

MOBA, but with a twist

The map of Pokémon Unite Without fear of denial we can say that Pokémon Unite is a MOBA, which is a variant of games such as League of Legends, DotA 2 and Arena of Valor. It is a game in which two teams of 5 players compete in special structured arenas with predefined courses, called Lines. Each player controls a unique character, the Champion or Hero, with special abilities that give him a well-defined role within the team.

Every game starts with all Champions at level 1 and with the same money. Progressively, however, based on the actions completed or the enemies defeated, the Champions can rise up to level 15, gaining in the meantime new abilities and evolving into the most advanced forms, if the Pokémon allows it. Charmander will become Charizard, while Pikachu will remain in its basic form, for example. In the same way, the money earned will allow you to buy more and more powerful items, each pokémon can wear three, or potions, thanks to which they can survive longer on the battlefield.

If in traditional MOBAs the goal is to penetrate the enemy defenses and destroy the opposing base, in Pokémon Unite the aim of the teams will be to score more points than the opponents by making "basket" inside special circles arranged along the map. It is therefore both a philosophical change, nothing violent is done like destroying something, both structural: the focal points will be multiple and to win, presumably, it will not necessarily be necessary to annihilate the opposing team.

It is true that to accumulate the Aeos energy faster, that is the unit of measurement that indicates the "goal value", it is necessary to defeat the enemies, but there will certainly be other ways to obtain this resource, such as defeating the monsters present on the map.

It is, therefore, a twist very much in line with Nintendo's philosophy, an approach similar to the one Splatoon has had with shooters: it is true that you fight, but you do it in a less bloody than in other shores.

From Tencent, with love

To create the game, Nintendo and the Pokémon Company have relied on Tencent and TiMi Studios, none other than the developer of Arena of Valor and its version oriental Honor of Kings. It is, in no uncertain terms, one of the most popular and loved MOBAs on iOS and Android, a real box-office champion capable of having a respectable export scene in the motherland. The Shenzhen studio, therefore, is the perfect choice for this kind of project, also because it already has experience with the development of Switch: Arena of Valor is also available on this console and, despite the lack of success, it is a valid game.

The roots in common between the two products can all be seen by analyzing the 19 pokémon that will be present at the launch. These units, in fact, for their movements, skills and style of play recall different heroes of Arena of Valor. Not that it's a bad thing: as we have already said, it is one of the best exponents on the market; so if you have to copy from someone, better do it from the best.

The peculiarities of Pokémon Unite, however, should guarantee a different way of playing and approaching the game, such as to make the experience suitable even for those who have consumed Tencent's MOBA.

19 Pokémon for you, could that be enough?

The starting Pokémon will be joined by more as the months go by The starting Pokémon roster will be 19 Champions. This is a rather low number when compared to that of the competitors, but it is the result, in our opinion, of a precise choice of both marketing and gameplay.

Let's start from the bottom: 19 is a large enough number to have variety and allow for experimentation, but small enough to ensure a good balance and a softer learning curve, suitable for those approaching the genre for the first time. The goal of Pokémon Company and TiMi Studios, in fact, is not to go to challenge the level of complexity of DotA 2, but to bring new players to the genre by exploiting the appeal of Pokémon.

This does not mean that Pokémon Unite will be a simple or trivial game, but that it must necessarily have the same approach as the main series or the trading card game: easy to start, difficult to master.

Expanding the roster at a later time will be one of the easiest operations in the world: on the one hand there are 898 pokémon among which to fish the most aesthetically appealing ones, on the other there are more than 100 heroes of Honor of Kings from which to draw inspiration for abilities and special moves.

The economic model of Pokémon Unite will be centered on the distribution of new characters, costumes and various skins. Every week a good number of heroes will be made available for free in rotation. In case you always want to use your favorite pokémon, it must be purchased either through the game currency or using real money.


The pokémon will be divided into 5 different classes: forwards, sprinters, versatile players, defenders and support. Attackers are pokémon with low resistance, but specialize in dealing damage with long range moves. Sprinters are pokémon that have high attack and mobility, ideal for lightning attacks and scoring goals. Versatile are balanced pokémon, suitable for any occasion. Defenders are Pokemon with high resistance, ideal for protecting allies and hindering opponents, while Supporters are Pokemon that can heal allies and cause status problems for opponents.


Technically speaking, Pokémon Unite doesn't make a miracle cry. After seeing Breath of the Wild 2 in action, it will not be TiMi's MOBA that will make you change your mind about the power of Nintendo's hybrid console. Despite this, the artists of the game have done what they had to do, that is to create a colorful and readable arena and give personality and recognition to the famous pokémon involved.

Fortunately, moreover, the team seems to have managed to fix the problems of the game's frame rates, present during the first presentation.

The real strength of Pokémon Unite, however, will be the ability to transfer saves and progress between the Nintendo Switch version and the mobile version (available from September) with your Nintendo or Pokémon Trainer Club account. It will also be possible to play with your friends in cross-play mode. In other words, Nintendo Switch, Android and iOS players will be able to team up without any limits.

The game, moreover, will be released only in English, but the development team has promised to add Italian by the end of the game. year.

Pokémon Unite is a very interesting project that could finally convince the console audience to play MOBAs. On the one hand, in fact, there is the Pokémon brand, real King Midas of the video game world, on the other TiMi Studios, a mobile MOBA veteran. Then there's cross-play, gameplay with a personal touch, and a free-to-play budget model that's not overly invasive. What could go wrong? The reluctance of console players and the presence of extremely popular and strong competitors.


It's a MOBA with pokémon Cross-save and cross-platform Particular gameplay DOUBTS The competition is fierce The public console never seemed very receptive to MOBAs Have you noticed any errors?

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