In a surprise Pokémon event on May 28, the Pokémon Company announced multiple new products. Some of them are pretty out there, like the Pokémon Go Plus + — it's an activity tracker that includes sleep tracking — which is supposed to help you train Pokémon in your sleep... weird.
An exciting piece of news though is the talk of a new Pokémon game, designed for mobile phones. Pokémon Masters, made by DeNA — the makers of Mario Run and Mario Kart Tour — is a battle game that you play in portrait mode and features a lot of familiar faces.
What's the game about?
Pokémon Masters is set on the man-made island of Pasio, and was built with only one purpose, to house the Pokémon Masters League. The PML is designed to pit one Trainer with their favorite Pokémon — called Sync Pairs — against another Sync Pair in teams of 3v3.
The story has you traveling around the island looking for Sync Pairs to team up with so you can become the ultimate champions! A lot of Sync Pairs come to you in the process of the story, but there are more to be purchased in the store for Gems you can either buy for cash or win in the game.
What's new in Pokémon Masters?
Update August 27, 2019: Pokémon Masters release date revealed
We finally have a confirmed release date for Pokémon Masters and we don't have long to wait at all, It's coming on August 29, just two days from now. We hope you are all ready because this is going to be your next big time sink.
🔥 3 Days till Launch! 🔥— Pokémon Masters (@PokemonMasters) August 26, 2019
Today’s art comes from the official international Pokémon account! ✨
It’s Koga and Crobat!
What a dramatic angle! It’s as if there’s a whole story being told in this one image!#PokemonMasters https://t.co/VafwqZC25K
We have been playing the game on the Canadian access for a while now and even created a beginners guide for you so you can be prepared for the launch. It's happening gang so be ready!
Update August 7, 2019: Pokémon Masters is available for Early Access in Canada!
DeNA has opened the game for Early Access in Canada, though only for Android devices right now. We have no timeframe on when, or if, it will go into TestFlight for iOS but as the game is due for release in September, it seems likely that it will stay Android only.
The game does require you to be in Canada and it checks every time you load it to make sure. It is possible to use a VPN to get around this but be careful if DeNa catches you it could mean a ban! We are going to spend some time with the game over the coming days and start writing some helpful guides so we are all ready for the iOS release.
Update July 24, 2019: Pre-Registration is now available!
Pokémon Masters is now available to pre-register on both iPhone and Android. This means we are getting closer to launch as an app can only be pre-registered for a certain number of days — normally around 90 days — so we can expect to see it in the next few months. You can find the pre-register link here.
We also have a huge playlist of Pokémon Masters tutorials to go through before the game starts. It does beg the question though; if the game is far enough along for tutorials on every little thing, surely the game is ready for launch? Ah well, it's coming soon so that's good news!
Update July 19, 2019: New gameplay trailer
The latest YouTube video fro DeNA show us some interesting gameplay. We got to see a little of the way you will fight in the game, using three trainers from across the game to fight other trainers, but it also gave us a glimpse of how co-op games will play.
It seems that when you work with other, human players, you can create powerful "Unity Attacks" which will join the power of your Pokémon together and fire a devastating attack on the opposing team. This is a nice touch and will require you to work together to get the win, rather than just button bashing until you beat the opposing team down.
The press release also mentions something called Sygma Suits. These suits can be worn by the trainers you pick and will change the Pokémon that trainer fights with. The example given is that Brock will normally fight with Onix, but with his Sygma suit on he will fight with Tyranitar instead. This suggests new Sygma suits will become available as time goes on, likely as in-app purchases.
Update June 6, 2019: New details about Sync Pairs arrives as well as a new location!
We have been given some more details about how the team system works from The Pokémon website. Called Sync Teams, each of your team will consist of one trainer from across all the games and their Signature Pokémon, and you and those trainers will fight other Pokémon in areal-time battle.
The Sync teams can use the Pokémon's special ability of course, but they can also use special training abilities that help boost the Pokémon, or heal them. This gives you a lot of choices when you are deciding which Sync teams to play in combat.
We now know the location of Pokémon Masters in relation to the Pokémon world, an island called Pasio. Pasio is man-made and is special because it allows Pokémon and Trainer to create these Sync teams, something they haven't been able to do. Apparently, Trainers come from all over the world to try this new style of battling and this is how you find them. They are all there to try out this new system. At least that's the story.
What's the gameplay like?
From what little we have seen the gameplay is a fairly simplistic battle system where you choose three Trainers and their partner Pokémon to face off against three others. This sounds like each Trainer only gets to use one Pokémon rather than having a selection for each Trainer. This means Misty will only ever use Togepi, Ash will always Pikachu, and Brock will always use Onyx. I think this has been done so they can create signature attacks for each team.
In terms of combat, it looks fairly simple. each of the Trainers has three different things they can do in battle; the main attack, a potion, and what looks to be the signature attack move. This signature is likely to need charging as you fight with the main attack. Potions could be used for healing your Trainers or for buffing them, though if Pokémon Masters is like other games like this then some of the Trainers may have a healing move as their special ability.
By the looks of the screenshots, you have a power meter at the bottom. This suggests that your power is shared across Trainers, so you will have to pick which Trainer you want to use for their special attack. We don't know if the game is turn-based or not but it looks like it will be. If it isn't, then it would end up being a button mash game which wouldn't be fun. That's really all we know so far from the gameplay, but we will update it as we know more.
Will it be a free game?
It seems likely. DeNA has already made two games for Nintendo, both of which are free-to-play but contain microtransactions. It seems likely this will be the same. Microtransactions are the preferred method for mobile gaming now so we are all prepared to have to buy pokécoins or something similar, aren't we?
When will we be able to play?
The release date is currently extremely vague. All we know is that Pokémon Masters is due for release in 2019 and that we will hear more about it in June. We don't know if they will share information on June 5 at the Pokémon Sword and Shield event but it seems likely they will do a separate event later in the month.
Pokémon Masters has a lot of people excited. It's always great when a new Pokémon game arrives and it's even more exciting when it's a completely new way to play. Watch this space for more news.
Get ready for Pokémon Masters
We may not be able to get you the game early but we can help you get ready for the gaming sessions that are to come.
Finex Pokemon Finger Ring ($14 at Amazon)
Get a firm grip on your iPhone while you play Pokémon Masters with these cute little Pokémon ring holders. You even get three in the pack so you can choose your favorite.
HecKia 10000mAh Pokéball charger ($23 at Amazon)
Sure, this may be a little more inconvenient to walk around with but it's a phone charger that's also a Pokéball! That's just too awesome to pass up.
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