Pokemon Unite Review


Pokemon Unite is the latest free to play Pokemon title out there. It’s loaded with all the microtransactions you want though so you can buy just about anything if you want to give some money to the gam. There was some potential to be had here for sure but ultimately I don’t think Unite quite lived up to it. The main issue with the game is how long each battle takes so I feel like you need a complete overhaul of the gameplay mechanics in order to go farther.

When you first start the game you get a pretty nice cinematic. The graphics are really on point and you can tell that you’re about to jump into the crazy world of Pokemon. I allowed my hopes to jump up as I told myself that this would be one of the greatest Pokemon spinoffs of all time. Then you’re taken to the main menu where you learn about the game. There’s a lot to the gameplay so it’s tricky to explain but here’s the basic rundown.

Unite is a 5 on 5 Pokemon battle that uses a real time overhead view. The goal is to knock out wild Pokemon or opposing team members to store up some energy. You then go to one of the opponent’s cores and use the energy to take it over. When you have accumulated enough energy to do so, you slam the energy down in a Basketball slam dunk of sorts and take over the area. Rinse and repeat until the time limit is up and the match is over.

Each match is around 10 or more minutes so that’s a lot of time to run around and explore. You will want to try and coordinate with your teammates but that isn’t easy in an online lobby. I’m not sure if you are able to connect your microphone but if you can then that is probably your best bet to get everyone on the same page. You can send generic orders using the control pad as well though.

Whether you run straight at the enemy or try and protect your own bases initially, it’s your call. There’s no best strategy I’d say, it’s really about how you execute it. Each Pokemon has their normal attack, two special moves, and a final smash. Yo want to master each ability so you’re ready for action. Of course, when the match is starting everyone has to scramble to choose which Pokemon they want to play so the odds of you getting to play the same one a lot is pretty rare. Unless you like playing as Slowbro or something since nobody seems to want to play as him.

Charizard is probably the best Pokemon from the ones that I played. Note that you start out as the Pokemon’s rookie form and gradually move up by defeating opponents. Eventually you will level up during the match and then you repeat the process for future rounds. So this all sounds pretty decent right?

Well, the gameplay is good in theory but it just didn’t really mesh with me. The time limit is too long for starters, I’d prefer a stock ruleset as opposed to time. Maybe do it by score instead but the problem with time though is that you will probably know if you are going to win or lose by the middle of the match. So you can either quit and live to fight another day or just stick it through. I’m not sure if you keep the EXP if you quit so keep that in mind. I didn’t put that to the test here.

The battles also feel repetitive very quickly. You don’t feel any real weight behind the blows. I think a 1 vs 1 battle or 2 vs 2 would have worked better than 5 v 5. This is really aiming more at the World of Warcraft/League of Legends crowd with the widespread battles. I can’t speak to those titles since I haven’t played them but for Pokemon it hasn’t yet worked. The game is a little too limiting.

So even though it’s free I don’t see you sticking with this one for very long. Ultimately it’s a fun game to bide your time with but that’s about it. Eventually you’ll be ready for the next thing. Still, I will say that the graphics are good even after the opening cinematic. The Pokemon character models are on point. Additionally, I’d say that the soundtrack is pretty solid as well. You get some classic Pokemon themes. Maybe nothing too exciting but it’s good enough as background music to keep you going.

Ultimately to move up this game just needs more content. Whether they add in a 1 vs 1 mode or maybe even a story mode, that would help immensely. You need that here to give the game an extra kick. Something to help it stand out in a crowd and give you reason to play it. Otherwise there are just too many good alternatives out there and you don’t want to miss any of those.

Overall, Pokemon Unite may not have lived up to the hype for me but it was fun to give it a shot. The game may appear very greedy with how it wants money for everything but it is still a true free to play in the sense that you don’t need to buy anything. Stick on the free path and you will still have every option available to you. Now that’s a good bargain if I’ve ever seen one right? What we need now is a free to play Pokemon runner game. Now that would have lots of potential.

Overall 5/10

Pokemon Go Update


It took a long while but I’m finally all the way to Level 45! Definitely a fun milestone to be sure. It’ll probably be a long while until I make it to Level 46 though because I need close to 10 million XP to get all the way over there. Will keep on chugging along one step at a time though!

Pokemon: Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution Review


Mewtwo is pretty fortunate to not only get multiple movies/specials but even a remake. Then the remake also getting its own manga adaption is pretty interesting. Naturally it’s very close to the original story but it’s an adventure that holds up and it was executed well. The art is solid and Mewtwo makes for a good villain so at the end of the day you’ve got a good adventure here. It certainly goes by in a flash.

The manga opens up by introducing us to Mewtwo, the most powerful Pokemon in the known world. He was created as a clone of Mew and modified to be even more powerful than the original. Mewtwo didn’t understand why a powerful being such as himself should work for humans so he escaped and built a fortress. In order to truly test the limits of his abilities he decided to send invites to the world’s best trainers. This would solve the question once and for all of who was stronger, Pokemon or their trainers.

Naturally Ash and friends are invited to this. Ash has definitely earned this privilege since he has been defeating Gym Leaders left and right. Not to mention that the volume opens up with him beating someone in a Pokemon battle so we see his skills firsthand. That said, Ash isn’t thrilled when he learns that Mewtwo doesn’t just want a good fight but global domination as well. Can Ash really take Mewtwo down or will he have finally met his match?

The manga has to move fast to adapt everything of course so some areas are glossed over. That said, I feel like the movie may have done this as well. The whole crossing the ocean part is basically skipped as the manga takes you to the heroes arriving there right away. I’m pretty fine with that since the battles are the most important part but it’s also why I say the more volumes you have for an adaption the better since you get to dwell on everything more. I would call this a very solid adaption though as you hit all of the major beats of the story.

While I wouldn’t say the artwork is top tier it’s better than a lot of the other quick one shots. For example I prefer it to the Heatran arc. Some of the shots in the manga really stand out as well like Ash’s punch against Mewtwo. It was drawn really well and you could definitely feel the impact of the blow. It’s always good to see Ash right there on the front lines trying to defend the Pokemon. It’s only fitting that he would be chosen to represent the real Pokemon.

As for the battles with the clones, I suppose Mewtwo was ultimately right that cloned Pokemon are more powerful. They all won their battles rather easily. Mewtwo mentions turning off their abilities later so perhaps the clones have built in augmentations like psychic abilities that can be turned off? It’s hard to say precisely what the abilities do but at the end of the day the clones are definitely stronger than the originals by a wide enough margin where it doesn’t seem possible for an original to beat the clone.

That helps support why I believe Mewtwo to be stronger than Mew. They have a good fight here but Mew spends a lot of it just running away and dodging. Mewtwo is the one on the attack the whole time. I also find Mewtwo to be one of the most interesting Pokemon fighters. The fact that he won’t just sit back and allow the humans to control him is definitely a big deal. He has his own honor code and sense of justice so he isn’t going to just roll over and allow himself to be beaten. His ability to talk also allows him to explain his case a lot better than most could.

Outside of the main plot you’ve got Team Rocket of course but their plot is absolutely tiny. They barely have any real relevance to the story so there’s not much to say about them. Even Misty and Brock don’t get to do much here. Brock mostly just embarrasses himself while Misty looks good but isn’t really here to battle in the first place. The other trainers who were invited to the island don’t get to do much aside from be quickly defeated. Their Pokemon do look strong of course, just not strong enough to tackle Mewtwo.

This was back when Legendary Pokemon really lived up to their name. There was a huge gap between someone like Mewtwo and even the strongest of ordinary Pokemon like Dragonite. It just made a lot of sense even if it’s almost inevitable that someday the Legendary Pokemon would not be able to keep up and got power scaled straight out of there. The writing is solid and the adventure is pretty fun. As the story is only volume there isn’t a ton more to say about it. I guess as a miscellaneous note I do think this was Giovanni’s worst appearance in some ways. Mainly because he had a great situation going for him with Mewtwo as a willing worker and then he blew it by calling Mewtwo a tool and mocking him. What happened to subtlety? I know Giovanni has a ton of confidence but it felt a little out of character for him to antagonize Mewtwo like that. I feel like he had to know that this would not end well.

Overall, Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution is a pretty fun remake. I still say the original story beats the remake but I suppose in manga format it’s super close. One thing that i do think looks cooler is Mewtwo’s new armor with the spikes. It’s a much busier design but it’s one that works well. The armor is something that would quickly put fear into any Pokemon trying to deal with this guy and it looks one of a kind so you know that an ordinary Pokemon would not be wearing it. I suppose soon will be the manga for the new Jungle film. We’ll see how that one holds up in the end. Whether you’ve seen the Mewteo story already or not I would recommend checking the manga out. It’s a pretty faithful adaption and the story’s a lot of fun.

Overall 7/10

Pokemon: Twilight Wings Review


It’s time to look at a recent Pokemon web series that ended. It’s always nice to get some new animated material. Pokemon recently did something similar with Pokemon Generations although that one was way too ambitious in scope and ended up being rather disappointing. Twilight Wings from the start is going for a much more inspirational/somber feel to the shorts. These aren’t about big action scenes or colorful backgrounds. It’s actually all very subdued which is where the somber part comes from while also showing that everyone is trying hard to get ready for their futures. It’s a fun little collection of shorts.

There are 7 shorts in all and they’re all under 10 minutes. So if you merge them together this could be around a 40 minute OVA or something like that. Each short changes main character except for the first and last shorts which are about a kid who is rather sick but wants to be a Pokemon trainer. His friend’s definitely a good kid to have around as he tries his best to make sure that the main character is able to get closer to his friend. The rest of the shorts vary in plot and will always have an ending scene that teases the lead of the next main character. I’ll talk briefly about each short.

The first one I already went over. It’s one of the weaker ones in the collection but is fun enough. It’s always nice to see the kids have a happy ending especially when they’ve clearly been through a lot already. The second one is about Bea who is training for her next fight. She actually spars with her Pokemon which is pretty impressive. Unfortunately she gets stuck in a cave in, but this helps her remember that her strength is with her friends as a team and not by doing everything on her own. We get a little action here which is always pretty neat so this was a solid followup.

Then we have one about Hop who is admiring how great Leon is as per usual. His Wooloo feels bad about this and runs away though so now Hop has to find him. Sometimes it can be obvious that the main character is in the wrong but this time I think Wooloo was making a mountain out of a molehill. It showed that Hop was as close to Wooloo as ever though by having him chase after his friend. This was one of the shorts going for a more emotional angle and it worked well. Hop may have been one of the least impressive rivals in Pokemon but it doesn’t take away from him being a pretty good guy in general.

The 4th short is about Nessa as she tries to balance her career of being a model and a gym leader. People say that it can’t be done and she will have to choose one. Ultimately she chooses to keep going in both fields and will prove her doubters wrong. It’s part of why she is one of the better gym leaders as it takes a lot of drive to maintain two careers at once like this. I was glad she didn’t choose to sacrifice any of them.

Next one’s a slice of life short about Oleana as she tries to deal with Chairman Rose’s rather impromptu ideas. He tends to vanish or get sidetracked very easily. It’s clear that she’s got a tough job on her shoulders. Another good special but a lot more low key compared to most of the others. Then we have the short with Allister which is the weakest short in the series. Still not saying it’s bad or anything but the gym leader’s personality doesn’t work for me. The character doesn’t really talk and the kids don’t have enough snappy dialogue to really make the atmosphere work. It’s hard to hold your own episode after all.

Finally, we end with the kid finally getting to meet Leon. Leon helps him realize that his dream to simply meet Leon wasn’t what he was actually meant to do. The kid really wants to go out there and beat Leon and so the champion gives him a little hope that he can pull this off someday. It’s a fun way to end and while the gym leaders seem to not understand Leon (Some going as far as to say he was holding back or not taking the fight seriously) at least they all understand his strength. I like the idea of an unbeatable champion like Leon because it makes the fight with him feel all the more grand.

So those are the 7 specials. Due to the length of the specials the summaries of each special pretty much tell the whole story but I tried to keep them brief. The series is so short that you should really go ahead and check them out. Especially since it’s only 7 episodes in total. They’re all fun and it’s a nice, calm series to check out. The animation style is going for the washed out look which isn’t exactly my favorite but I think they were going for a look to try and resemble the games a bit more than the anime. Something like Generations is going a lot more traditional with vibrant colors but since this one is going for that somber atmosphere perhaps they thought it would be a little distracting. The brief fight scenes we get still look good though with a lot of shockwave effects to show the scale of the attacks.

This is more about the stories than the visuals or soundtrack though so it makes sense that this would be the focus. I can’t really recall any particular big themes either but we had no long fights that would have taken advantage of them anyway. Twilight Wings thrives on the fact that it makes no real mistakes. After watching each episode you’ll be satisfied with what you saw and can easily binge the rest of it or do one episode at a time. Hopefully we get more Pokemon web series like this in the future. I think these bite sized portions are always a good idea for any series. They help to expand the franchise and give each character more development. They could also work as brief character moments in a future game. Imagine the next Pokemon game having 5-7 minute cutscenes that play out showing a character’s origin. I think it would work rather well.


Overall, Pokemon: Twilight Wings is a solid series. I would definitely recommend it whether you are a Pokemon fan or just a general viewer of media. You don’t have to be a fan to appreciate the themes it’s going for. At the end of the day it’s about showing that you make your own path and to keep going when things are getting tough. None of the characters in the series give up and it ultimately ends up benefiting each and every one of them. The payoff may not always be as great as literally becoming champion of the world but you can still get some personal victories in the meantime. Of course aside from more mini series I would still like to have either a bug budget anime version of Pokemon Ruby (Or Omega Ruby so we get Zinnia) or Pokemon Adventures. It’s time we get more media and it’s Pokemon so it would sell really well.

Overall 7/10