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Pokemon Unite Mobile Review: A Worthy Adaptation

Pokemon Unite Review

September 22 marked a huge day for Pokémon Unite. With the release of the mobile port, alongside huge new balance updates, Pokémon Unite rapidly evolves. By gauging the updates, alongside the port itself, this Pokemon Unite Mobile Review will discuss and review the current state of the mobile game. Separating categories for the game into key elements, this review will individually access the improvements while noting the issues.


Controls

The mobile controls function relatively well. The touch screen takes a while to get used to, especially for those unfamiliar with mobile MOBAs. But after a couple of hours, the muscle memory sticks. Key functions, such as looking through the mini-map and prioritizing targets, were drastically improved. By clicking the mini-map, players can quickly glance across the stage. Since map awareness is essential for MOBAs, the ease of access allows mobile players to efficiently navigate the stadium.

One quick look at the control customization menu reveals that players are unable to customize the button layout, and are instead forced to tolerate the preset provided.

The only options players have are to move the analog stick alongside the entire button layout to the left or to the right. There are no size controls and no custom positions for buttons. Considering smartphones come in all shapes and sizes, the lack of detailed customization leaves a sour taste in players’ mouths. Tablet users will find their hands sore after reaching across the screen to press key moves, while phone users may find themselves distracted by the overly huge analog stick.

In addition, many mobile MOBAs have the ability to utilize the auto-attack button to aim. By holding the big circle, players can drag the target to prioritize whatever they want. This makes managing a clumped-up group of minions easier. The Unite Mobile port is missing this. Therefore, although the mobile port improved upon the targeting system, there is still much left to be desired.

Considering it’s a whole new platform for the Pokémon MOBA, when reviewing the mobile port, it is impossible not to compare the version to its Switch predecessor. Assuming players are playing on a powerful smartphone, many will find the mobile experience superior to the Switch version.

Mobile vs Switch

The mobile version, as a whole, is far more user-friendly. The Switch port forces players to utilize something called a lock-on icon wheel to control the Pokémon’s auto-targeting. Players must utilize the right analog stick and accurately navigate the wheel to the specific Pokémon. With a total of six different options, properly navigating the wheel with the control stick becomes difficult during intense moments. On the other hand, the mobile version uses a simple touch command. Players can click the portrait of specific Pokémon they want to prioritize their attacks on, and the system handles the rest.

Take a quick look at the photos below.

Switch version
Pokemon Unite Review
Mobile Version

During intense skirmishes, this quality of life update drastically increases the accuracy of play.

Overall, the mobile port’s controls handle wonderfully. When played on a powerful device, the game looks far more impressive than the Switch. With higher frame rates and better quality graphics, the mobile port looks phenomenal.

After playing a couple of games, the layout becomes more intuitive to handle. Using the touchscreen to aim important skill shots becomes far easier than using the Switch’s analog stick. The Switch’s analog stick does not provide enough sensitivity controls and adjustments to cater to multiple different picks.

The Switch’s analog stick works almost as an all-or-nothing mechanic, with the details within the circle’s radius being incredibly hard to navigate. What results, for a very aim-reliant Pokémon, are MUCH more difficult to play mechanics. Mobile devices do not have this issue, since the aim would simply directly follow the player’s finger placement. This makes aim-reliant Pokémon, such as Venusaur and Gardevoir, perform better on the Mobile port.

Game Updates

The mobile release brought massive game-changing updates. Nerfing overwhelming playstyles, while buffing less meta picks, Pokémon Unite as a whole seems more balanced than ever. Of course, there are still certain Pokemon that play a bit unfairly. But the same can be said about every MOBA in existence.

Pokémon Unite received criticism for being pay to win. Held item upgrades, which serve as the base for every mon, cost way too much to upgrade. The higher the level, the higher the cost. This upset the player base, as many were unable to justify the high barrier of entry.

Item Upgrades

In the most recent patch, Unite developers introduced Super Item Enhancers.

Pokemon Unite Review
Super Item Enhancers

These Super Item Enhancers upgrade a single held item to the max grade, 30. Players are granted three each. Upgrading a previously upgraded item compensates the previous item enhancers. In other words, there is no loss in upgrading a grade 20 item to 30. All the currency players used to reach grade 20 will be compensated.

This directly addresses the pay-to-win formula. By providing such a lucrative event reward, the Unite developers are communicating effectively with the player base. They are listening to the community’s concerns, and are working to improve every aspect of the game. Of course, Unite still has microtransactions. But the biggest, most game-related pay-to-win factor has been mitigated.

Since players are limited to only three of the Super Item Enhancers, they need to be careful to not waste the enhancers on a poorly optimized held item. Understanding this concern, Pokémon Unite also offers 7-Day Max-Grade Trial Cards. These allow players to run a week-long trial of a fully upgraded item, thereby providing knowledge for the Super Item Enhancers as well.

Pokemon Unite Review

Seeing as how Unite added three new held items as well, all of which seem very promising, these 7-Day Max-Grade trial cards are much appreciated.

Overall Pokemon Unite Mobile Review

Pokemon Unite’s mobile port launched in an overall great state. The addition of balance updates alongside new items help keep the game fresh, while remaining true to its nature. By directly addressing many of the game’s problems, alongside introducing Unite to a whole other demographic, September 22 was a great day for Pokemon Unite. Though some optimizations and small changes are needed, the mobile version is an amazing way to experience Pokémon MOBA. As the first day of launch, fret not, and expect the game’s issues to be addressed in the future. For those skeptical about whether to try the game or not, definitely download the app and experience the game firsthand. The mobile port is a great Pokemon Battle Arena experience.


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1 comment

Super Item Enhancers Pokemon Unite September 22, 2021 at 11:51 am

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