The Pokémon Company has given a surprise treat to Pokémon fans with the release of Pokémon Duel, a new game available now for both Android and iOS devices. The game originally launched in Japan last year under the name Pokémon Comaster.
The game shakes up the traditional Pokémon format. At the start of a match, each player has a duel set consisting of six Pokémon counters, which resemble Amiibos. It still utilizes turn-based mechanics, but the action takes place on a mapped grid. Players take turns moving Pokémon counters across the grid toward enemy territory. Like most turn-based strategy games, the amount of progression across the map each turn depends on the Pokémon. Only one character can be moved each turn, creating a sort of Pokémon version of chess.
The objective is to successfully capture the opponent’s base with a single Pokémon. Along the way, the turn-based mechanic dissolves when a character is pitted against a rival Pokémon. Here, the battle system is a matter of chance. The battles, referred to as duels, pit one pocket monster against another in a spin-to-win mini-game. It’s basically Wheel of Fortune, but instead of money, the wheel is filled with attacks that inflict hit point damage or status moves.
The game opens with a helpful tutorial, and afterwards, you can battle against computer opponents or online in the game’s League Play mode.
Pokémon counters level up as you play and include customization features. Progression also garners in-game currency that can be used to buy new Pokémon. The game is free to play, but like most games of this kind, there are microtransactions. To boost a Pokémon’s power, users can purchase “Plates” and “Boosters.” The game can be enjoyed and completed without doling out real cash, but requires an internet connection to be played.
Pokémon counters can also be viewed in a digital collection because it’s still Pokémon and catching ’em all is a must for some. This new take on Pokémon is the second mobile release for the franchise in recent months. Pokémon Go released in July and found extraordinary success.