The Pokémon Unite MOBA game is disappointing Nintendo fans in both China and the US
- The upcoming mobile and Nintendo Switch game from Tencent and The Pokémon Company is attracting a lot of negative comments, but some say they’ll play it anyway
But even when getting to tap into the fanbase of an established hit franchise like Pokémon, Timi Studios appears to be sticking to what it knows. Pokémon Unite looks much like any other MOBA, pitting two teams of five characters against each other in a closed map. The goal is for a team to try to be the first to demolish the enemy’s base. In this case, players are choosing five Pokémon to defend their territory.
However popular MOBAs might be in China, though, netizens venting their frustration online largely appeared unimpressed with the 11-minute online presentation of the new game from Tencent and The Pokémon Company. Some mockingly referred to the game as “Honour of Pokémon,” ridiculing the game for looking too much like Honour of Kings. And many worried that the game will turn out to be another free-to-play game that nickel-and-dimes players with microtransactions to unlock certain elements. It’s a common monetization strategy for mobile games in China.
“#10 on trending. Only because people wanna check the dislikes,” one user commented about the trailer’s popularity.
Some Pokémon fans in China have also sought to distinguish themselves from potential Pokémon Unite players with a widely circulated meme. The image shows a someone washing their hands after shaking hands with someone who claims to play Pokémon but actually plays Pokémon Unite.
In spite of all the hate circulating online, though, many Pokémon fans acknowledge that the game will likely be popular. Although Tencent hasn’t announced a release date, many people expect fans to flock to it once it’s available.
But other gamers struck a more optimistic tone, saying Pokémon Unite still has elements that differentiate it from a classic MOBA. They pointed out that the game uses higher scores to determine a winner instead of just who demolishes the opposing team’s base, possibly allowing for new ways to experience a MOBA game. The game might also attract players who have no preconceived notions about MOBAs in the first place.