Pokemon Masters is one of the latest mobile games that Nintendo released. They had been hyping it up for a while and when it released at the end of August, it didn’t disappoint.
I’ll admit – I didn’t get what Pokemon Masters was all about until I started playing it. I saw Pokemon’s various social media accounts hyping it up. I saw Brock and Misty, 3-on-3 Pokemon battles, but I never fully comprehended what the game entailed. This is mostly because I watched Instagram stories on mute and never bothered to look up the game.
However, it’s Pokemon. So, of course I’m going to get it. I didn’t get a chance to play it for a few weeks after it came out, but I was sucked into it the moment I did finally get to play.
Pokemon Masters is all about collecting trainers to be part of your team so that you can compete in the Pokemon Masters League (PML). This is held on an island called Pasio where gym leaders, champions, elite four members, and trainers travel from all over the regions to Pasio to compete in this tournament. Teams are formed to participate in 3-on-3 battles, one Pokemon partner per trainer.
In order to officially enter the PML, you and your team need to collect five badges. Each of these badges is held by a PML Leader that you have to track down and defeat in battle, similar to regular gym battles in the main games.
The game is made up of 18 chapters, which was shorter than I thought it would be, especially since the chapters are short themselves. They get a bit longer down the road, but they’re still pretty quick to get through. Each chapter has two elements: story and battle.
The story is, in my opinion, not the greatest. You and your partner Pikachu (no, unfortunately, you can’t choose which Pokemon you get as your partner) explore Pasio and make friends with various familiar characters from the Pokemon world. This includes gym leaders Brock and Misty from the Kanto region, Rosa, the female protagonist from the Unova region, Barry, the main rival from the Sinnoh region, and so many others. Each story part is a matter of the characters speaking with each other and to you with some voice acting here and there. All you have to do is tap the screen and occasionally “answer” which is choosing one of two response options. These scenes can vary from taking a minute to as little as ten seconds. It’s not very involved.
However, the game isn’t really about the story, in my opinion. It’s more about the battles, which I’ll get to in a minute.
As you go through the story elements of the game, you’ll travel to different areas in Pasio running into various trainers, adding familiar faces to your team, and occasionally running into Team Break. Like the core Pokemon games, there is a bad guy team that tries to get in your way. Team Break simply tries to steal everyone’s partner Pokemon. You battle them, defeat them, and they run away. Simple as that, just like the main games.
In between the story bits, there are battles. As you travel, trainers will lock eyes with you and challenge to a battle. At the end of the chapter, you’ll find who you’re looking for, battle them, and they’ll join your team giving you access to play as them and their partner Pokemon for future battles.
The battles certainly are the best part of the game. Every Pokemon only has one weakness, which is shown above its health bar so that you don’t need to remember 800+ Pokemon since it’s not like the mainstream games. Each move your Pokemon has uses energy. Some moves take one energy bar, others two, and some three. They slowly recharge so you can spam a 1-energy move over and over again or you can sit and wait for three bars to regenerate so that you can use a more powerful move.
I enjoyed the battle system. It added more strategy than you would think. The battles did have some lag, but there was a lot going on the screen with six different Pokemon trying to make a move – plus the sync moves. Once a Pokemon uses a certain number of attacks, they would unleash their sync move with their trainer which was a totally over-powered attack. However, the lag never bothered me and never made the game unbearable to play.
As mobile games tend to have, there are microtransactions in this game. You do not need to spend any money though. I made it quite far in the game without spending a penny. I just managed my gems well.
Pokemon Masters uses gems to find sync pairs, which is gathering more people for your team. However, you don’t have to do this since you recruit more trainers through the main story anyway. The gems are also used as rewards when you get through a chapter or training. There is a training mode where you can grind a bit in order to level up your team, evolve them, and gain more gems as well as support items that will help you unlock move moves for the Pokemon.
This game as a whole has so much to offer. Yes, the story is a bit lacking, but it’s similar to the main games in which you try to enter a tournament and a team of bad guys tries to stop you, which in turn, you stop them. It’s also a mobile game though so the story isn’t going to be as in-depth as a lengthy core game would be.
Pokemon Masters gets a rating of…
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Overall, Pokemon Masters is a great game. The story lacks depth, but I find it to be just enough for a mobile game. The battles are a lot of fun, even though the difficulty ramps up suddenly. However, that’s what the various training areas are for. Pokemon Masters has gotten a lot of backlash, but I honestly think this is Pokemon’s best mobile game yet. I enjoyed my time with it and will continue to enjoy my time with it. It’s definitely one to play if you’re a huge Pokemon fan.