Pokemon Unite: release date for Nintendo Switch, is it free, how much does it cost – and where to download it

The new game takes the Pokemon series in a different direction, and is free-to-play

(Photo: The Pokémon Company)

A brand new Pokemon game has just been released, a move which is sure to excite fans of the long running monster collecting series.

But, this isn’t a new mainline entry in the franchise – instead, this is a daring new mobile-focused game that is free-to-play, and gives players a fresh take on the series’ gameplay.

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Here is everything you need to know about Pokemon Unite:

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What is Pokemon Unite?

Pokemon Unite takes place on Aeos Island, a mythical island said to be on the ocean’s unexplored frontier, where players will find the Unite Battle Committee (UBC), which runs a series of Unite Battle tournaments.

Pokemon Unite is a “strategic team battle game” (the first game of its kind for the long running series) in which players face off against each other in said 5-on-5 team battles.

During these battles, players will cooperate with teammates to both defeat wild Pokemon and level up to evolve their own Pokemon. Victory is attained by a team defeating their opponents’ Pokemon while earning more points than the opposing team within the allotted time.

Players also experience a mysterious new form of energy known as Aeos energy; to earn points for your team, you must gather Aeos energy by defeating wild and opposing Pokemon and then deposit that energy in one of the opposing team’s goal zones.

Battles take place in various stadiums, and the rules for each stadium differ – there can be different numbers of team members, different match lengths, and even different Legendary Pokemon that appear.

When can I play it?

In the first instance, Pokemon Unite will only be available to players on Nintendo Switch consoles.

It is available to be downloaded from the platform’s e-shop now, and released on 21 July.

Pokémon Unite will then become available in September 2021 on mobile devices, and cross-platform play between Nintendo Switch and mobile devices is planned, which will allow players on both platforms to battle together.

How much does it cost?

The game is described as “free-to-start”, which means it is free to download and play, but to get the full experience, players will likely need to take advantage of optional in-game purchases.

Pokemon Unite has three types of in-game currency: Aeos gems, Aeos coins, and Aeos tickets.

Aeos coins and Aeos tickets can be acquired by playing the game. At the Unite Battle Committee, players can use Aeos coins or Aeos gems to obtain Unite licenses, which allow them to take Pokémon into Unite Battles.

Players on Nintendo Switch who log in by 31 August 2021 will receive the Pokemon Zeraora, allowing Trainers to use the powerful Pokemon in battle.

The game also makes use of a paid-for battle pass system, giving players the opportunity to earn in-game rewards; to earn these rewards, you’ll need to level up the pass by completing missions.