Pokémon fans eager to get in on the team-based multiplayer battles of Pokémon Unite following last month’s Japan-only network stress test don’t have long to wait at all. The free-to-start PokéMOBA starts service on the Nintendo Switch on Wednesday, July 21, giving us a little less than a week to pick our mains. I call Slowbro.
When The Pokémon Company announced its partnership with Chinese juggernaut Tencent to create what’s essentially a stripped-down League of Legends starring pocket monsters, it felt like I was writing an article for The Onion. On top of the absurdity of the premise, who announces a MOBA in 2020? But a year later, now that I’ve gotten a few test matches under my belt, I’m a believer in the team battling powers of Pokémon and can’t wait for next week’s launch.
The announcement of next week’s launch comes with a brand new trailer highlighting the basics of battling on Aeos Island. It’s pretty simple stuff. Pick a Pokémon, join a team, battle across the arena map, collecting energy from fallen foes both player and computer-controlled. Deposit that energy in the opposing team’s bunkers, and when time is up the team with the most collected energy wins.
In celebration of the game’s launch, players who sign into Pokémon Unite on the Switch before August 31 will score Zeraora’s Unite licence, allowing them to use that Electric-type mythical beast in battle.
Pokémon Unite will also be launching for iOS and Android devices at a later date, at which point players on that platform will be able to secure a free Zeraora for their stable of pro-pocket monster battlers.