Best answer: Yes, Pokémon Unite is free-to-play on iPhone, Android devices, and Nintendo Switch. While there are in-app purchases for skins and characters, you don't have to pay anything to enjoy the game. Additionally, Nintendo Switch players do not need a Nintendo Switch Online membership to play.
League of Pokémon
Initially, Pokémon Unite released on Nintendo Switch back in July 2021, but now iPhone and Android users can join in the fun on mobile. This is a Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) developed by TiMi Studios. You might remember this developer as the one that created Arena of Valor.
In many ways, Pokémon Unite plays like League of Legends or other popular MOBAs already in existence. The difference being that Pokémon Unite is far more accessible to beginners while still being fun for MOBA veterans. The best part is that players can square off against each other regardless of if they're playing on a Nintendo Switch, an iPhone, or an Android phone. Most importantly, the game does not require in-app purchases to play, nor do Switch owners need a Nintendo Switch Online membership to access it.
How much does free cost?
As I said before, this is a free-to-play game and there are even some free rewards as you play. However, there are in-game shops and ways to spend real-world money. First and foremost, there's a battle pass which gives you extra goodies for leveling up during the season. You can get the basic battle pass for roughly $8 or the premium battle pass for about $16. But again, the battle pass isn't needed to play.
Players slowly earn Aeos coins while playing and can use these to purchase clothes and Pokémon Licenses once enough have been collected. However, you'll be able to acquire things a whole lot faster if you exchange real-world dollars for Aeos Gems. Certain items can only be purchased with Aeos Gems, while other microtransactions can only be purchased with other in-game currency. The thing to note here though is that there is no paywall. You can easily enjoy the game for years without spending a penny.
Now, there have been people who claim that Pokémon Unite is play-to-win. Due to the various characters' skill levels and tier ranking, some definitely are more powerful and easier to handle than others. Plus, you can purchase certain items that enhance your Pokémon's abilities. So, purchasing all of these will definitely give you an advantage. However, I've played hundreds of rounds and have always been able to have a good mix of wins and losses without spending any money at all.