With Pokemon Unite out on the Nintendo Switch, there’s a lot to take in for the bright-eyed beginner. After all, it’s a Pokemon MOBA, which can be quite jarring considering one half of that phrase is built around mindless fun while the other half is about precision and technically deep gameplay.
On top of that, the developers have done quite a bit to make Pokemon Unite more appealing to Beginner players, for example with the removal of towers and creeps, instead focusing on scoring points to capture points on a map.
To make sure you’re not yelling at your teammates unnecessarily though, here’s an easy beginner’s guide to get you up to speed on Pokemon Unite.
Adjust Your Targeting Settings
Arguably the most important tip to give a new players in this Beginner Guide, please remember to adjust your targeting. Due to using a controller instead of a mouse and keyboard, Pokemon Unite does you a favor to snap targeted skills to potential targets so you can fire them off without a hitch.
Here’s the catch though- on default, the game prioritizes Pokemon with the lower HP, meaning it has a good chance of choosing Wild Pokemon over other players, so you may soon find yourself wasting valuable skills on a random Aipom that sauntered into view instead of the Pikachu trying to smite you.
To do this you only need to head into the settings of the game, where it’ll be one of the first options presented to you. It’ll save you a lot of grief in future, so experiment with which setting is best for you.
All Pokemon Grow Differently
Unlike many MOBAs, Pokemon Unite tracks your growth by having most of your Pokemon evolve as they gain levels. It should be noted that just like in the mainline Pokemon games, they don’t do these all at the same time. Some Pokemon are markedly late bloomers compared to others, so don’t be surprised if you’re still rocking a Gible when your friend already has a Ninetails.
Adding to that, not every Pokemon evolves, even if they technically can- the most famous of this is of course Pikachu, who canonically evolves into Raichu. But for brand recognition reasons Pikachu never does, so you’ll need to keep track of your level without relying on an evolution every few levels to use it.
At the core of Pokemon Unite’s gameplay is the Wild Pokemon, which many MOBA fans may also know as Neutral Creeps. These are your earliest sources of XP and points, and you should absolutely spend the early game targeting them, especially if your Pokemon is an aforementioned late bloomer. Your spawn is littered with Wild Pokemon for exactly this reason, so don’t be so eager to start a team fight you pass up on the free access to more skills where you’re still safe.
In particular Vespiquen and Audino are valuable targets. The former has an entourage of 3 Combee at any one time, getting you a pretty meaty score if you have good AoE skills to KO them all at once. Meanwhile Audino itself is worth 5 points, and is definitely worth the XP at the early game as well as giving you a decent score.
Remember to Score
Speaking of the rush of battle, it’s really easy to forget that Pokemon Unite doesn’t track KOs, but rather focuses on scoring your points. You only need to be safe while you’re charging the score button, so don’t worry about a random anti air while you’re doing the dunk animation.
Just like tower diving in a MOBA, sometimes it simply won’t be safe to score, so be sure to be smart about keeping track of how many team members are guarding each goal before you try to deposit your points.
That being said, don’t be too cautious- characters carrying too many points have that number displayed next to their icon, so unless you’ve got some mad skills expect to become more in-demand than a PS5 with a vaccine taped to it if you’re too stingy with your points.
Unlocked pretty early on, you can equip held items to give your Pokemon extra abilities in the battle. One of the earliest of these is the Potion, which gives you a quick top up. These aren’t consumable, and instead operate on a cooldown. Be sure to use them regularly, since they can pretty quickly turn the tide of a fight in a pinch.
You can also pay to upgrade your held items, which drastically improves their performance. You can do these without spending a cent, but anyone familiar with how free-to-play games work will know that if you’re really desperate to start curbstomping, you’re probably better off just spending the premium currency to get there.
Don’t Get KO’D Too Much
It seems obvious, but with Pokemon Unite’s scoring mechanic it needs mentioning. The penalty for being eliminated is that you drop points, and the number goes up as you keep being eliminated. While the first few losses may only shave one or two points off of you, later eliminations may see you losing in the double digits.
No one wants to admit it, but getting eliminated is simply part of the game. For the most part Pokemon Unite has a pretty beginner -friendly respawn counter, only really slowing down in the later portion of the game. Even if you are constantly dropping points for your team, remember to not let it get to you either- after all, at the end of the day, it’s just a game. And more importantly, The Switch’s ecosystem makes receiving abuse from other players much harder than it would be on, say, PC so you’re really free to be as bad as you want.
At The End Of The Day, Have Fun
As a game barely 48 hours old as of this time of writing, that’s pretty much it for beginner tips in Pokemon Unite. Right now the game doesn’t seem to mechanically deep, though you’ll never know what a dedicated community can come up with. In a few weeks for all we know we could be talking about elaborate Cramorant cancels, and wouldn’t we all feel silly then.
Until then though, it’s the perfect time to get into the game, even if you have no plans to spend the money- servers are populated, and you should have no trouble finding a fun match either with friends or against the CPU.