Pokemon Unite is easily one of the most anticipated mobile and handheld games of the moment, absolutely captivating people after its surprise announcement back in June of last year. But, despite being something that we've known about for almost a year, there's an incredible lack of information out there about it.

If you're here then you're probably looking for all sorts of information, including Pokemon Unite's release date, how to get into the Pokemon Unite beta, and, well, what Pokemon Unite actually is. That's why we've created this resource: we're going to do our best to update it with every snippet of Pokemon Unite news and information and give you a place that you can keep checking back into for the latest information on the upcoming MOBA. Here's everything we know about Pokemon Unite.

What actually is Pokemon Unite?

Before all else, Pokemon Unite is a MOBA. For those not in the know that's a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena - the genre perhaps best known for giants like League of Legends, Mobile Legends, DOTA 2, Heroes of the Storm and Smite.

By definition, a MOBA pits two teams against each other in a large arena that is filled with computer-controlled enemies, obstacles and defensive structures. Each character in these games has its own playstyle, and some of these games have dozens of heroes. As such, to be great at MOBAs you need to truly understand your character, be able to fit into a team of specialists and be skilled at defeating both AI and human-controlled enemies.

As you might think then, the MOBA concept fits perfectly with Pokemon. Each Pokemon has a unique appearance and their elemental/types lend well to 'special moves', with enough moves in the Pokemon games to easily have hundreds of different Pokemon before moves repeat. However, there are some twists.

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A MOBA, but not a regular MOBA

Pokemon creators Nintendo have always been quite clear about their view on violence in games, and while - over the years - they have relaxed a bit, the company clearly still prefers cartoon violence to actual violence in their games. That's just one potential motivation behind their decision to make Pokemon Unite not follow some of the traditional elements of the MOBA set-up. In fact, when it was first announced they described it as "The first strategic, team-based Pokemon battle game" rather than a MOBA.

In Pokemon Unite the map is split into two halves, with each side containing five goals (which serve as scoring areas). Players travel around the map and catch wild Pokemon which move around the field, rather than getting to keep these Pokemon - like in the core series - they are immediately exchanged for points (Aeos Energy) which can then be played on the opponent's goals in order to bank them and damage the goal. Goals don't defend themselves in any way - unlike turrets in most MOBAs - but they do passively heal friendly Pokemon when they are nearby. 

This goal destruction mechanic makes it harder for a winning team to keep pushing forward, as the other team can concentrate their defences better or take advantage of a counter-attack against the newly refocused. team. It's also worth noting that you can't bank points when an enemy is near you - the process is interrupted and restarted. Making spreading out to defend each point a viable tactic for wily teams.

How do you win in Pokemon Unite?

Win conditions come down to two simple matters. The time limit and score. The team with the highest score wins, but the match continues until the timer (believed to be fixed at 10 minutes) runs out - this is especially notable because banked points are worth double in the final two minutes of play. Something that could really give a tactical team who is carrying lots of points an advantage. However, do be careful because if you are defeated then the person who beat you will gain your Aeos Energy.

Although we've not had it confirmed yet, there is also word out there that you can win by destroying all of the opposing team's bases, but this hasn't been confirmed yet.

How do Pokemon work in Pokemon Unite, and what is a Unite attack?

There're a few things to note when it comes to how Pokemon work in the MOBA format. For a start, some of the Pokemon actually evolve throughout the match by defeating enemies, this means that they start the match on a backfoot to the Pokemon which don't, but they become much more powerful as the match goes on. Despite this, ALL playable Pokemon unlock new abilities throughout the game, including the unique-to-Pokemon Unite, Unite Moves.

It has been confirmed that type advantages do not play into the game, so don't expect your Squirtle to be super effective against a Charmander - it all comes down to character level, traits and abilities. That said, each of the Pokemon does have different traits and abilities, although the extent of these hasn't been fully defined yet. We do know that you will get to choose which moves your Pokemon learns as it levels up, allowing you to focus on close-range attacks or choose to optimize for long-range capabilities.

A Unite Move is a type of ability that is specific to each Pokemon. Each one has powerful effects, many of which are area of effect or useful for zonal control. These are, specifically designed as mid-to-late round game changers, and, combined with the intensified rush of double-points in the final two minutes, can completely change the results of a game.

Pokemon Unite guide

Which Pokemon are currently confirmed as playable?

At the moment we know of 21 playable Pokemon in Pokemon Unite, excluding evolutionary forms. IE, we are counting only Charizard, and not Charmander or Charmeleon as you transition through them in order to reach your Pokemon's full strength.

The playable Pokemon confirmed for Pokemon Unite are as follows:

Absol, Blastoise, Charizard, Cinderace, Clefable, Cramorant, Crustle, Eldegoss, Garchomp, Gardevoir, Gengar, Greninja,  Lucario, Machamp, Mr Mime, Alolan Ninetails, Pikachu, Slowbro, Snorlax, Talonflame, Venusaur.

We know that some of these characters will be purchasable in-game, for instance, Alolan Ninetales, and may be tied to the Season / Battle Pass systems that they are going to have in-game.

In addition to the playable ones, there is a selection that is available in the wild to be fought. This includes the legendary Pokemon Zapdos, which will power up your whole team if you can defeat it. There's no combination as to whether these or any others, will be coming to the game in the near future. But do keep checking back and we'll update you as we receive news of more.

What is the Pokemon Unite Release Date?

At the moment the Pokemon Unite release date is unknown, however, the current access (as detailed below) being labelled as a beta infers that the game is already beyond most of the development stage, and is likely going through localised testing for multiplayer balance and server load. We've seen games exit the late beta stage as soon as a couple of months after first going live, while others have stayed in this state for a long time.

Canada, much like Australia and New Zealand, has become a popular testing grounds for English Language targetted products in recent years. While nobody has underlined exactly why these regions are selected, it is believed that it is due to the population density of the countries, which have very few rural settlements and have the majority of their population along one stretch of the country. - in Canada the Southern border with the USA, and in Australia extending along the South-Eastern coastline.

We are expecting it to launch in the latter half of 2021, and are not expecting it to go global before July. 

All of the above said, the first Season of Pokemon Unite content is currently detailed as ending on March 16th, which could see an opening up of regions that can access the beta.

pokemon unite beta and release date

How to get into the Pokemon Unite beta?

At the moment Pokemon Unite is currently only available for Canada, it's also behind a hefty NDA which we believe includes the threat of instant takedown on any video footage or screenshot coming from within the beta. If that doesn't deter you then there are third party sites out there that are hosting the files. Even if you manage that, there's no guarantee that you'll be able to get onto the servers. The best course of action, besides waiting patiently, is likely through creating a Canadian account and using a VPN to mask your location - although moves have been made by most mobile platform holders to attempt to block this.

We do have some information on how to enter the Pokemon Unite beta in a handy guide.

Are there trainers in the game?

There are trainers in Pokemon Unite. When you first start Pokemon Unite you'll create a custom character. They will appear infrequently during each match, mostly when you capture a wild Pokemon by defeating it in combat. You have a choice of gender, skin colour, hairstyle and costumes when you design your character - and it's likely that we'll see more added as the game continues to develop, likely through the in-game store, or the Battle Pass.

Pokemon Unite's Microtransactions, Free-to-Start, In-App Purchases and Battle Pass explained.

Through various leaks and screenshots, we've managed to garner quite a lot of information about the pricing structure of Pokemon Unite. We know that the game will be free to start and that you'll be able to play in matches regardless of whether you've bought any of the in-game purchases or microtransactions.

We've seen leaked screenshots of the in-game store where players can use the currency to buy costumes for their Pokemon. It has also been confirmed that extra Pokemon can be bought using the store, although this doesn't mean that there isn't a chance that 'free' Pokemon will be in a rotation from season to season.

Pokemon Unite will use a Season system, with progress unlocks as players hit milestones, you can - as with many other popular mobile games - pay for a Battle Pass which will give you extra unlocks at each milestone. We're not aware of the real-world pricing behind these yet, but we know that the Season One Battle Pass features 50 levels, each one giving a reward.

Looking for more MOBAs to play while you wait for Pokemon Unite? We have a handy list of the best Mobile MOBAs right here.