Pokémon Masters has dropped on iOS and Android devices and as expected for a free mobile app, it's filled with microtransactions. If you're keen to play it but want to skip the grinding, you'll need to pay up big time.
The in-game currency for Pokémon Masters is 'Gems'. Gems can be put toward trainer collection for your lineup, known in-game as ‘Sync Pairs’. This means if you want to collect a more strategic lineup of different trainers and Pokémon types, you’ll need to scout for new Sync Pairs.
The app gives you an ‘offering rate’, which determines the possibility of scouting one of the players to add to your team. Top-tier trainers (with five stars), according to my playthrough, obviously have the rarest chance while the more common trainers are easier to obtain. Whoever you land is complete luck.
The system is pretty brutal with it being possible to get a Sync Pair you’ve already acquired while scouting.
Each sync pair scout will cost you 300 of Gems. To earn Gems in-game, you need to undertake battles. You’ll earn about 30 for main battles while you’ll get 10 for Sync Pair story and the smaller missions. For logging in each day, you’ll also get around 50, with the game clearly trying to push you to check in daily.
If that’s taking too long, however, you can buy them for exorbitant prices.
Before we get into prices, the app strangely differentiates between the paid Gems you buy and the non-paid Gems you collect. I checked my balance in game and the purse clearly stated I had a certain number of non-paid Gems with my paid Gem balance being a fat zero. Essentially, those paid Gems make scout pulling cheaper. Instead of the usual 300 Gem rate for non-paid ones, you’ll just have to pay 100 in paid Gems.
The lowest Gem package is for $1.49, which will get you 100 Gems or one Sync Pair scout. For the 10-times Sync Pair scout, you’ll need at least 1000 Gems or two 520 packages for $15.98. The biggest Gem pack you can purchase is a bundle of 9800 for $124.99.
The game won’t let you accumulate more than 80,000 gems, which good luck if you even get close to. If you couldn’t be bothered grinding and opted to purchase an amount of that total, it would cost a little more than $1000.
The one positive addition Pokémon introduces, which barely passes as a positive, is that the app allows you to opt in for a spending limit notification. Clicking on your Poryphone, heading to Settings and then the second tab will allow you to toggle the ‘Spending Notifications’ option, which alerts you when you’ve exceeded certain Gem totals within a month. The first notification is at 3000 Gems or around $44.99.
We’ve just started taking a crack at the game so we’ll have more insights over the coming days as the gameplay becomes more familiar. On first glance though, if you’re hoping for an app as addictive as Pokémon Go initially was or as developed as the flagship games, you might wanna give this one a swerve.
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