Not everyone is familiar with the MOBA genre, and now that Pokémon Unite is available it may be the first time many are exploring this type of game.
We've put together a little primer to help you understand it better.
What genre is Pokémon Unite?
A MOBA, or Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, is a type of game where teams (usually two) come together to do battle on a map, with the objective usually of storming a base to win the match.
While the aim slightly differs in Pokémon Unite (scoring points), it is a MOBA in all but official name. The Pokémon Company prefers to use the term strategic team battle game.
Starting a Game
Players choose a Pokémon from a list, depending on what you have unlocked. There will be free Pokémon at all times, meaning you'll always have a choice.
It's also important to remember that no Pokémon can be duplicated on the same team. If one of your players has, say, Pikachu, then you must choose another.
There are different maps on Aeos Island, which are generally laid out symmetrically. This offers both teams identical halves of the field of play.
On these maps there are paths, with some maps having two paths (top and bottom) and some having a middle path.
Following these paths will lead to your opponents' goal zones. The number of these changes depending on the map.
Remoat Island has five goals per team, Auroma Park and Mer Stadium have three each, while Shivre City has just one goal per team.
Retreating to one of your goal zones will restore HP, so keep an eye on your health!
Playing the Game: Wild and Enemy Pokémon
Now you're in the game, ready to do battle, what should you do?
All players start at Level 1, and you'll be asked to choose one of two potential moves (attacks) to begin with. On Nintendo Switch, these attacks will be assigned to the R and ZR buttons.
These attacks have an area of effect, so you'll need to be close enough to an enemy for your attacks to land.
Now that you have a move to use, it's time to face Pokémon -- whether those of enemy players or wild Pokémon found on the map.
Wild Pokémon are located everywhere, and include the likes of Aipom, Audino and Corphish.
Special Pokémon such as Rotom and Zapdos may appear in the wild. These are like mini bosses, and defeating them usually gives your team a bonus.
Rotom helps your team take down enemy goals, while Zapdos grants a whole bunch of points you can then deposit.
What is Aeos Energy?
When you defeat a Pokémon, both wild and enemy player, it drops Aeos Energy. This is the main objective of Pokémon Unite, as it ultimately decides games.
Aeos Energy looks like Poké Balls. Simply run over these to collect them, and your Aeos Energy count will be displayed in the bottom-centre of the screen.
To score points for your team, you need to deposit the Aeos Energy into one of the enemy goals, similar to dunking in basketball.
When you're within range of the goal, simply hold the X Button to do this. If you have teammates alongside you within the goal zone, depositing will be quicker
Be mindful though, enemy players can defend the goal, by attacking you! Make sure you clear the area first, or have teammates to help!
Another thing to remember is that when your Pokémon is knocked out, it will drop Aeos Energy it is carrying, allowing the enemy team to pick it up.
There is a maximum of Aeos Energy that you can carry at any one time. Carrying high amounts means greater risk of losing it when knocked out, so choosing when to deposit the Energy in a goal can be key to winning matches!
Filling up enemy goals with your Aeos Energy will eventually lead to that goal being destroyed. Typically a goal will start with 80 health, and therefore needing 80 Energy to be destroyed.
An added benefit of this is that enemy Pokémon will no longer be able to heal up at this particular goal.
Levelling, Evolving, Unite Moves, and Held Items
Levelling and Evolving
As with the main games, your Pokémon can evolve. In Pokémon Unite, you do this by levelling up your chosen Pokémon, from the XP you gain defeating Wild and Enemy Pokémon.
For example, Charmander evolves into Charmeleon at Level 5, and then into Charizard at Level 9.
Some Pokémon cannot evolve, such as Snorlax, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't level up! Doing so means your Pokémon can learn new, more powerful moves which replace your basic moves.
Each Pokémon also has a Unite Move, a special stronger attack. This starts on a cooldown, which is reduced each time you defeat a Wild Pokémon, take over an enemy goal, or destroy one.
Once it becomes available, simply hit the LZ button to unleash it -- usually, these are best kept for group battles and bosses such as Zapdos While they are typically area-of-effect attacks, you can absolutely use them on single targets!
Also, each Pokemon can have one Held Item. These, as in the main games, grant bonuses to your Pokémon.
For example, your Pokémon will gain 100 Max HP each time you score a goal when holding the Aeos Cookie, while it will have 3% increased Sp. Atk when holding the Wise Glasses.
How to win at Pokémon Unite
The aim of the game in Pokémon Unite is to score more points than the opposing team when the time limit runs out.
- Held points don't count, they must be deposited in a goal
- Points are doubled in the last two minutes of the game
Images courtesy The Pokémon Company & MGG FR