Pokémon Masters is a brand-new mobile game by The Pokémon Company and its partner DeNA. Theoretically, it should be a traditional Pokémon RPG just like similar titles we’ve seen throughout the years. You travel across Pasio – an island where the classic Pokémon Masters League happens – and start your Pokémon adventure there.
Of course, the ultimate goal is to win said tournament. However, as a Pokémon game, you’ll get to do much more than just competing. But before we go further into the story, let’s take a quick look at it from a gameplay perspective.
A familiar Gacha RPG look
For fans of mobile Pokémon games, you should recognize and point out that Pokémon Masters looks like another typical gacha RPG. Whenever you’re not seeing cinematic cut scenes, you’d probably be participating in turn-based battles, except that it’s 3v3 rather than the typical 1v1. Here, trainers bring up a Pokémon of their own, level them up, unlocking skills for harder battles or eventually, evolving. Pretty Pokémon-y, but Masters does try to shake things up a bit.
Unique combat system
In Pokémon Masters, you don’t release skills towards your enemies turn by turn as you normally do. Here, you have an energy bar to keep an eye out for. Once the bar fully charges, you get to pull off a move with any of the available Pokémon, provided that the skill isn’t on cool-down.
After a certain amount of moves, a super powerful attack is available to unleash upon enemies. These are Sync Attacks that uses unique element of the Pokémon to deal damage. That being said, Pokémon Masters puts heavy emphasis on the Pokémon elements, and you should take enemy elements into consideration when designing teams.
An endearing storyline to follow
The battles in Pokémon Masters take place within many chapters in the main story. This makes Pokémon Masters a unique title, in contrast to many Gacha competitors. The writing is extremely amazing and solid. While most people usually skip this part in other Gacha RPGs, this time it’s worth it to take the time and enjoy the plot and characters in Pokémon Masters.
Beautiful graphics & art style
Not only the content, but the presentation is also excellent and as gorgeous as it can be. Honestly, you can mistake it for a Switch game at first glance. The game looks colorful and alive; you can almost feel like the cartoon characters have come into life. As Pokémon Masters lets you visit many different locations as well as meet new Pokémon and characters, it’s just wonderful to see this high level of flourishing visuals everywhere you go.
The Gacha system
Pokémon Masters features a standard Gacha system, allowing you to unlock characters. It could be a single one at a time or even 10 in a go, all depending on you. Right now, the game is offering a special deal where you can get a guaranteed 5-star character or the ability to pull a Pokémon daily for 100 gems, which is one third of its original price. Here’s the catch: paid gems are accepted only. As the game lets you earn tons of free gems, you don’t get to spend them as freely as paid gems, which have way less restrictions.
The gacha of Pokémon Masters is quite expensive even though it targeted younger audience. A single summon costs $3 (Rs 210), which is $30 (Rs 2100) for 10 summons. In addition, you get a daily pull at the cost of $1 from the original $3, as well as a chance to purchase gems at a much lower price once every month.
A greedy prospect regarding IAPs
When summoning, there’s a 73% chance to receive a 3-star Pokémon, 20% chance to receive a 4-star and a slight 7% chance to get the highest 5-star Pokémon. At the moment, there are 43 Pokémon available to summon, which worth $129 (About Rs 9270) of spending if you’re super lucky in your summons. Obviously, that won’t happen and you’d probably end up spending much more.
Needless to say, this is quite alarming. However, the game does offer you loads of free gems every day for pretty simple actions. You’ll receive 10 gems to seeing a cut-scene and 30 for joining a battle. Also, you’ll occasional unlock new trainers while progressing further in the game. If you’re a free-to-play player, it’s possible to play the game without spending anything and save up until the very end. By doing so, you can still come close to finish collecting all the trainers thanks to free unlocks and summons.
This is another problem to keep in mind: you’ll sometimes, if not usually, receive duplicates from summons. If the game goes into later phase, you might be in trouble for not having a specific Pokémon trainer combo. Because of that, you might have to spend more money to access some part of the story. Although this is not something that would definitely happen, the potential expense into it is somewhat alarming.
The final and most important question is: Is Pokémon Masters worth playing? Well, it depends on what kind of players are you. If you’re simply a Pokémon fan, you’ll love seeing your favorite Pokémon and trainers in the game as they appear in stunning graphics. At the same time, the writing is a big plus: a joyful and engaging story is there to save you from the skip button.
However, for fans of core Pokémon RPGs, they’ll quickly recognize how easy the combat system is. Very little challenge is there, the AI is somewhat inferior as they rarely use elemental strengths for an advantage. In addition, The Pokémon Company seems to be a bit greedy in this Pokémon title that we don’t often see. As not many people have completed Pokémon Masters yet, it’s not possible to comment on the average cost to play the game. However, as we mentioned above, you can easily throw hundreds of dollars out of the window with ease.