Pokemon Unite release date, skins, and playable Pokemon revealed

By Steven Rondina


Jun 17, 2021

Reading time: 5 min

Pokemon’s most surprising spin-off is coming out, and it’s coming soon.

A new cinematic trailer for MOBA game Pokemon Unite has been revealed and it answers some of the lingering questions that fans have had about the game being developed by Tencent. This includes some of the new game’s mechanics, its playable Pokemon, and the title’s release date.

Pokemon Unite will launch for the Nintendo Switch on July 21, 2021.

Ahead of this, a network test will run from June 24 to 26 in Japan. The mobile version of Pokemon Unite will then launch in September 2021. The game will also be localized for French, Spanish, German, and Italian later this year. No exact dates were given, but fans were surprised by how the game was set to release so soon after a period of relative silence.

The reaction to the new Pokemon Unite news was one of general positivity. The original reveal of the game was largely rejected by Pokemon fans who expressed disappointment over receiving a new title produced by a different company rather than the more highly sought-after sequels and remakes.

List of playable Pokemon in Pokemon Unite

Between demos, trailers, and other previews of Pokemon Unite, a number of playable Pokemon have been revealed. Here are the Pokemon that are known to be available for use:

  • Venusaur
  • Charizard
  • Blastoise
  • Pikachu
  • Alolan Ninetales
  • Wigglytuff
  • Machamp
  • Slowbro
  • Gengar
  • Mr. Mime
  • Snorlax
  • Absol
  • Garchomp
  • Lucario
  • Crustle
  • Greninja
  • Talonflame
  • Cinderace
  • Eldegoss
  • Cramorant
  • Zeraora*

Within this list are a number of different lower evolutions of Pokemon. For example, if a player chooses Venusaur, they will start the game as Bulbasaur, evolve into Ivysaur, and then into Venusaur. Worth noting is that baby Pokemon are not a part of this, as players will start as Mr. Mime or Lucario rather than Mime Jr. or Riolu. It’s also notable is that it seems as though Pikachu is stuck as Pikachu and cannot evolve into Raichu.

It is not clear how many Pokemon will be available to the player, whether some Pokemon will need to be unlocked, and how new playable Pokemon can be obtained. Given that Pokemon Unite is set to be a free-to-play game, the standard method would be to offer players the ability to grind their way to new playable Pokemon or to offer them the chance to unlock them instantly in exchange for real-world money.

Is Pokemon Unite free to play?

Yes, Pokemon Unite was labeled as “free to start” in its original reveal trailer, which means that it will initially be free to play for new players. It is unclear how the game will be monetized, but there will almost certainly be ways of spending money in Pokemon Unite.

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Alongside the June 2021 Pokemon Unite trailer, a separate Japanese presentation highlighted how Pokemon can wear accessories, including Machamp wearing a lei and swimming trunks, Mr. Mime wearing a tuxedo and top hat, and Cinderace dressed as a pirate. It is possible players will be able to purchase skins for their Pokemon. Additionally, Zeraora was released as a separate playable character that required a “Unite License” that would be available free for early adopters to Pokemon Unite. This means that there are likely to be a number of DLC-exclusive characters in Pokemon Unite, though it remains to be seen if they must be purchased or if they can be unlocked in some way.

How do you play Pokemon Unite?

Pokemon Unite is effectively a MOBA title similar to League of Legends or Dota 2. But instead of trying to knock down the opponent’s base, the goal for both teams is to catch as many Pokemon as possible. To do so, players need to venture across the map into grassy areas and defeat NPC Pokemon. After defeating them, they can be captured. Each Pokemon is worth a certain number of points.

Once a Pokemon is captured they need to be deposited into a team’s inventory for points. In the time between a Pokemon being captured and deposited, players from the opposing team can attack and prevent players from depositing captured Pokemon. This forces teams to balance passive and offensive play in order to win. The team with the most points at the end of the timer wins.

What platforms is Pokemon Unite on?

Pokemon Unite will be launching on the Nintendo Switch and mobile devices running iOS and Android. Pokemon Unite will arrive on Nintendo Switch in July, while the mobile version will not arrive until September. The game should be available through the standard app stores for each platform, including the Nintendo eShop, Google Play Store, and Apple App Store.

Is there a Pokemon Unite beta?

A Pokemon Unite beta ran for a short time in early July. The game was exclusively available to players in the Japanese region for the Nintendo Switch. The regional beta is now over and it is unlikely that another will come before the game’s launch later on in July. It is possible that another beta may open up for the mobile version of the game.

Does Pokemon Unite have cross-play?

Pokemon Unite will have cross-play once the mobile version of the game is revealed. It was indicated that players will be able to log into Pokemon Unite with both Nintendo and Pokemon Trainer Club accounts, which will allow players to track their friends’ play from a variety of angles.

Does Pokemon Unite have cross-progress?

It was indicated that Pokemon Unite will have cross-progress that is stored through a player’s Nintendo or Pokemon Trainer Club accounts. This will allow players to play the game easily at home on Nintendo Switch or on the go on their mobile device without wasting any experience.