Pokemon Unite: An Unexpected Success (Review)

By Jordan Jones

jordanjones@lc.edu

Nintendo is celebrated as one of the largest staples in the gaming industry. Producing household names such as Super Mario Brothers, Animal Crossing, and several editions of the Pokémon franchise, they remain as a fan favorite across the hearts of players worldwide.

A recent edition to the Nintendo Store left fans stunned, however. The release of Nintendo’s first-ever attempt at their own multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), Pokemon Unite, caught players by storm upon its release on July 21, 2021. 

Prior to its release, hopes for the game were low by critics and fans alike. This game would feature only a small cast of choosable Pokémon, and early teasers failed to secure a release date for the game, as well as showcasing an underwhelming display of mobile-exclusive mechanics, completely leaving their switch players left to wonder. 

Leading up to its release date this summer, many fans were doubtful Pokémon Unite would serve as a compelling edition to the MOBA genre. Several pointed at leaked pay-to-win features that could damper the game’s integrity, and some called it a disappointing edition to the Pokémon franchise as a whole. On release date, however, many fans — including myself — put their complaints aside to give the game a try. And we were not disappointed!

Pokémon Unite exceeded all expectations and amounted a total of 225,000 peak live viewers on Twitch, a giant in the online streaming space for gaming. The game would also net somewhere in the ballpark of 2.5 million hours watched on its release date, nearly netting itself into the top ten most watched games of all time on Twitch. 

Not only was the gameplay fun, addictive, and an absolute thrill to play with friends, I would go as far as to say that it was one of the most successful releases Nintendo has ever had in its recent years of gaming. Pokémon Unite is full of quirky cosmetics to design your own characters, badges, and even the Pokémon themselves!

If you have yet to give this game a try, you’re absolutely missing out. The game is completely free to play and includes enough content to keep its fanbase busy and immersed. After playing for nearly three weeks now, I still find joy in scrolling aimlessly through the shop trying to find new clothes to match my character. Key word: Try! 

Regardless, I hope to see you on the battlefield! Thank you.~

 

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