Imagine turning on your Game Boy to this image.
That was SO MANY OF US as kids. Going on a journey with Pokemon, to catch ’em all and defeat the Elite Four. A little game that has expanded to toys, TV shows, gadgets, MORE mainline titles and the eventual release of mobile sensation: Pokemon GO.
Never forget all the aunties standing around MRTs to catch those legendaries.
Cashing in on GO’s success, Nintendo partnered up with mobile game giant DeNA to launch its latest free-to-play mobile title: Pokemon Masters.
However, the game’s got a different kind of catch, a little different from just the game of catch and fight that we used to play.
Much like the titular character in the TV series, Ash Ketchum, the game starts off with your nameless avatar and a lone Pikachu. Joining with more favourites such as Misty and Brock, you explore the mobile-unique region of Pasio.
However, instead of the usual fair of going around to catch critters in the wild, Masters provides a different jaunt.
You go around to team up with other trainers each with an individual Pokemon, known in-game as Sync Pairs, to form a powerful team of three.
From first-generation gym leaders to newer generation rivals, there are a wide variety of obtainable Sync Pairs. They even get their own little stories in the game for you to discover more about them.
Obtaining Sync Pairs
For those unfamiliar, this game runs on a “gacha” system.
Players can use in-game currency, obtainable through regular play or real cash payment, to have a chance to obtain Sync Pairs the game’s main story doesn’t already give you.
Think of it as a lucky dip for your favourite character. Luckily, Pokemon Masters has a high chance of 7% to obtain a 5-star (maximum rarity).
Though this might sound rather off-putting at first glance, this is an extremely common practice for such “gacha” games. Some opinions may say it’s an attempted cash grab, but hey, you can see it as ‘smart business tactics’.
The in-game currency is not all that stingy either. Going through the story or completing some side quests could net you a few.
Also, 7% may not be a lot to some, but most of these games only have like 1-2% rate for higher rarities. This is one of the more generous games by far.
Take a lesson, Fate/Grand Order.
This is where the game really takes off.
Pokemon veterans, most of your knowledge does not matter here. Instead of turn-based action, battles take place in real-time.
As shown in the picture, all attacks consume a bit of bar that slowly fills out at the bottom. Different skills cost varying lengths of the bar. Be warned, enemies can also attack you whenever, even if you are not doing anything!
Old-school Final Fantasy vibes, anyone?
Also if the battle goes on long enough, you get access to special moves called sync moves. And goodness they look gorgeous.
Check out Acerola and Palossand’s sync move, the Never-Ending Royal Nightmare!
— Pokémon Masters (@PokemonMasters) August 2, 2019
As mentioned earlier, since everyone only has a single type, time to craft a well-balanced team.
I am going to miss just swapping out to another Pokemon for whatever I need though.
I tried making a bug type joke, but I guess I just psy-kicked myself in the face with that one.
Sadly, the game comes with its own set of launch bugs and glitches. Some pretty funny, some…low-key unacceptable.
This player below experienced a bug where all they could see was a white light covering the game screen
— たるそー@ゲーム垢 (@danger_rasu) August 29, 2019
In fact, for what you are about to see below is a player who when encountering a first-generation rival character, Blue, had a…ghastly encounter.
— リオテト@サスガー🦊♊🦊 (@rioteto_sasugaa) August 29, 2019
Not going to lie, I think if I let loose my laughter when I initially saw this, I wouldn’t have stopped.
While bugs are commonplace in early launches of a game, some of these might prove to be too jarring for any a gamer. Especially that white screen one. Like, how do you even play the game anymore?
Speaking of hair-pulling bugs…let me show you one where the game’s menus and maps somehow just never loaded and leaves only the back drop.
— ゆう46◢◢◢ (@yu_kotori_aaa) August 29, 2019
So…Should I Play?
Ultimately, that is up to you!
The game definitely seems unique and fun, with a generous gacha system to boot! It really just is a matter of whether you want to brave the possibility of bugs or not.
Though hopefully by the time you read this or soon after, these bugs will be fixed.
Nintendo go get a fire type to flamethrower them already.