Looking Back At Pokemon Unite In 2021

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Looking Back At Pokemon Unite In 2021

The good and the bad in the journey of Pokemon Unite this year.

A game developed by TiMi Studios and published by The Pokemon Company. Pokemon Unite has become popular on Nintendo Switch and mobile devices. However, no game is perfect and Pokemon Unite has its fair share of flaws. We will look at the game’s incredible journey, highlighting its positives and negatives.

The start

Pokemon Unite started with a Japanese closed beta launch. However, the game’s announcement video received a lot of negative feedback and the game itself gathered mixed opinions from people.

Pokemon Unite launched for Nintendo Switch on 21 July 2021 starting with 20 characters. However, just like its beta version, the game got a mixed reception. While people liked what the game offered in terms of its MOBA experience and fun-to-play characters, the seasoned players of the MOBA world quickly recognized that it is not so Free-to-Play as it sounds. However, the game moved on and kept improving on various other factors.

Pokemon Unite’s Journey

Pokemon Unite was already making impressions on Switch players. In mid-September, the game crossed 9 million downloads on the platform, a number which saw positive growth later. In the meantime, the company announced that the game will release on mobile platforms on 22 September, 2021.

Prior to the release the game reached 7.5 million pre-registrations, which was a telling sign that Unite was going to get very popular amongst mobile users.

After its launch on the mobile platform, the game met its first milestone with 30 million downloads according to a research report from Sensor Tower.

Unite launched a major update on Halloween with a festive theme, balancing patch notes and new content for the game. The popularity of Pokemon Unite continued, and they also nominated the game for Google Play’s Best Of Users’ Choice Awards, which they won in multiple regions. They also nominated the game for Best Mobile Game of 2021 at The Game Awards, but lost to Genshin Impact.

The Pokemon Unite logo appears, surrounded by various Pokemon including Snorlax, Charmander, Glaceon and Bulbasaur. Beneath it the words "50 Million Downloads" appears in bold gold letters

The Pokemon Company’s title reached 50 million downloads by 6 December, reflecting on how popular the game had become despite having some major drawbacks which needed attention.

The Negative

The shadow Pokemon, Gengar appears wearing a striped helmet and goggles

Pokemon Unite is a free-to-play game, but it isn’t actually free. The game’s structure is such that players who want to play it casually and still have access to all Pokemon or have an equal standing in the game can’t do so. If you are new to Pokemon Unite, right off the bat you notice that not all Pokemon are accessible for free. You need Pokemon Licenses, which come at the cost of Aeos Coins. The game doesn’t give out these coins easily to the players, and they need to grind a lot to get them. However, there is another way to get the coins, and that is to buy them with actual cash.

Pokemon Unite’s pay to win structure doesn’t stop at that. The game also has Aeos Tickets which help you buy cosmetics and Item Enhancers. Even if you could do without cosmetics, the latter is a completely different story. Item Enhancers help you increase the stats of your Held Items, without which you cannot compete against other players. Once you are out of Aeos Tickets, you cannot upgrade the items unless you plan to spend a hefty time playing the game.

So there you have it, Unite is free-to-play and yet has these major hitches which stop casual players and the ones who can’t spend their hard earned money from playing.

Unite is a MOBA, which means it will have strategy and teamwork involved. However, to make the game friendlier to children of all ages, they have limited the means of communication. So in a proper match where you probably want to win, you can’t openly type in chat. This makes it hard to coordinate with your teammates and win games. The best way to play in higher ranks is by teaming up with your friends and using a third party instant messaging application.

The Positive

The Pokemon, Pikachu, appears in a red santa hat and christmas themed waistcoat along side two Trainers, also dressed in festive clothes

Not everything is bad about Pokemon Unite. The game is fabulous and very fun to play, especially for Pokemon fans. Once you get over its pay to win aspects, you can compete and have a thrilling experience in the games. It is a more casual MOBA, which is less intimidating for newcomers in the genre and lenient on the ones who play for fun.

The developers keep releasing new updates to give new content and introduce new Pokemon in the game. Their new update on Christmas has also added a new look and exciting rewards for the players along with some cosmetics which can be bought from the store.

New Year

Pokemon Unite has yet to complete a full year. However, the game has already shown a lot of promise and can definitely improve to catch more attention. Balancing its pay to win structure and giving a more raw experience of MOBA by introducing a new game mode could be a good way of attracting the serious gamers who want a challenge. The game is still young and the upcoming year can be more progressive for it. Regardless of what the game presents, Pokemon Unite will give you a trip down memory lane and that’s for sure.

Feature Images: Pokemon Unite

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Anuj Gupta
Anuj Gupta is a freelance journalist who loves the concept of esports. He has played multiple titles and has vast experience in Dota 2 and CS:GO. A passionate fan of Dota 2, Anuj loves to analyze games and coach new players.