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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

I'll Be a Pokémon Master Without Pokémon Masters

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I'm passing on Pasio.

Gee, what filler article can I toss out there the night before Independence Day? Oh, while we were covering the Democrat presidential primary debates, The Pokémon Company International (TPCI) released this animated trailer (with a few snippets of actual game information at the end) about Pokémon Masters, which you may recall is the mobile-only game revealed at the end of that bad-in-hindsight Pokémon Direct in May. They also put out a news release.

Obviously the first...six minutes or so of this trailer (including Ishihara from The Pokémon Company) is “not actual gameplay” so there's really nothing to discuss about it. At the end, Yu Sasaki from DeNA discusses the artificial island of Pasio where Pokémon Trainers across the world come to fight each other. Each trainer only gets one Pokémon, and the trainer-Pokémon combination is called a Sync Pair. You participate in 3v3 Sync Pair battles with some version of the Active Time Battle system. There are also Sync Moves (presented as unique Z-moves), and supportive Trainer Moves akin to Warrior Skills in Pokémon Conquest—though the official site news release describes this as a franchise first.

Pokémon Masters is designed to be a free-to-play, casual experience with in-app purchases. I think it's a safe bet that all of those Sync Pair combinations are going to be purchasable, directly or through random distribution packs. There's allegedly a story and lots of instances of dialogue, though I'm going to guess it's underwhelming and stupid.

Pokémon Masters animated trailer Hugh Silver Wally rivals
What conversation did Hugh, Silver, and Wally have with one another that'd get them to pose together?
It's not like Rival is an officially-recognised title like Pokémon Professors, Gym Leaders, Team Rocket members, family members, or Frontier Brains.

Pokémon Masters is releasing in the summer of 2019, which could be any day from now to September.

According to the official website FAQ, “the app is not compatible with offline play.” Yeah, screw that. Last I checked, that's supposed to be a deal-breaker.

Pokémon Masters is like the opposite of Pokémon GO in terms of focus. Masters is all about battling with Pokémon your team already has and there is no evidence of catching new Pokémon. Pokémon GO was all about captures, and only later were trainer battles added. (At least, that's what I've read.) But as far as I can tell, they have a striking similarity: they're both appalling mobile games that dumb down what the franchise is supposed to represent.

Disclaimer: Even if Pokémon Masters was a perfectly wonderful and traditional (or even innovative—both are accepted) Pokémon title, just the fact that it's a smartphone game would cause Ludwig to ostracise and criticise it. Are you a sucker easily taken in by animated trailers playing to nostalgia, or are you smarter than that and know to be cautious of any free-to-play mobile game with in-app purchases? Let KoopaTV know in the comments section.


  1. Not all smartphone games are bad, you know. I've had quite a lot of fun with Langrisser.

    1. They'd be more fun without the trappings made necessary by the mobile industry.


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