Pokémon Masters mobile game review
Jacob Waring — Online Editor
The Pokémon Company has released a new app called “Pokémon Masters,” a mobile game for both iOS and Android phones.
Right off the bat, the game is absolutely nothing like the main games such as “Pokémon Red”, nor is it similar to “Pokémon Go”. Players are not catching these fantastic creatures, but collecting famed trainers, gym leaders and elite four members. Each character has one set of Pokémon that goes along with the character.
Essentially, players take on artificial intelligence controlled characters in three–on–three battles, which means players can use three trainers along with the Pokémon that can evolve. There is a gauge that depletes after certain moves and when empty means players cannot do anything but take abuse from the opposing Pokémon. Players must have the right combination of Pokémon to have a type advantage against opposing characters.
This is a game for Pokémon fans, not casual players who think every Pokémon is Pikachu. I mean, players must have played a lot of the main Pokémon games or watched the anime to have any connection to particular characters. From Brock and Misty to Lysander and Watson, if someone does not know who they are, then there is a good chance a lot of the characters will mean nothing to them.
Players also only have access to certain Pokémon which is a bummer if their favorite is not accessible to use or even in the game. Brock’s Onix does not evolve and I believe there are other Pokémon that will not evolve even if they traditionally do. Either they plan to add Jasmine, a classic steel type gym leader found in “Pokémon Gold” and “Pokémon Silver” games at a future date, or Steelix is just excluded.
The good news is there is no stamina, which means players can play as often as they want. The bad news is this game is obnoxiously slow to play while most mobile games load much faster. You can unlock characters by either playing the main quest or by paying gems to randomly unlock them. There are still some grinding elements which most mobile games tend to incorporate in some form.
The microtransactions are not obnoxious, as I feel the game itself is generous with the daily awarding of gems. It is feasible to save up but makes the game drag out even more. I hate how the game separates paid gems with gems earned, as some of the deals to get characters are great, but requires a fee.
The storyline, which I will not delve into to avoid spoilers, is decent. It is more aimed at kids than adults which I find odd as it relies heavily on past characters only older players may be aware of. The main games have one of the bad guys wanting to obliterate the world and there are descriptions of Pokémon devouring children or kidnapping them. Pokémon has gone there before with darker elements.
The graphics are nice and will appeal to Pokémon fans.
Still, the game plays too slow. There are a limited selection of Pokémon and trainers. Players do not even get to choose their own starter and are stuck with Pikachu. I get that it is the franchise’s mascot but would have been nice to have a choice. The fact that players can customize their own characters but cannot pick the starting Pokémon is just odd.
At the end of the day it is a decent game, just not for anyone beyond those who are legit, die-hard Pokémon fans.