A new Pokemon game called Pokemon Duel has hit the iOS and Android stores. The new Pokemon Duel mobile game was released in English-speaking markets yesterday.
Pokemon Duel is a combination strategy board and card game. Players move their Pokemon figures around the board in an effort to land on their opponent’s goal, battling with cards when the Pokemon figures confront each other. Some elements of the game will be familiar to Pokemon players, while other elements are completely new.
Pokemon Duel is pretty in-depth. The game is free-to-play, but players need gems to unlock booster packs that contain new Pokemon and items the player can add to their team. Gems can be obtained through in-game rewards or purchased through the store. The game is currently running a promotion for new players that rewards them with gems as part of the game’s release.
As another part of the promotion, rare Pokemon like Ho-Oh and Greninja are more likely to drop in special booster packs available until the end of January. These Pokemon might give the player an edge in duels.
— Serebii.net (@SerebiiNet) January 24, 2017
Each Pokemon has a unique move set that comes into play during battle. When Pokemon land next to each other, the player can choose to attack their opponent’s Pokemon or end their turn. Each Pokemon has a spinner with their move set. The outcome of the spin determines the match. Players can also use cards at the beginning of their turn to give their Pokemon an advantage in battle.
Fans familiar with the Pokemon Trading Figure game will recognize the model. The difference is that since this a mobile game, it is easier to collect digital figures and play in league matches with online opponents. As your trainer battles through the ranks, your rank goes up and you get rewards that allow you to build a stronger team of six elite Pokemon.
Did NOT see this coming but I'm not complaining – "Pokemon DUEL" just launched on iPhone + Android! ???? pic.twitter.com/GKRu0p7c2R
— Ali-A (@OMGitsAliA) January 24, 2017
Pokemon Duel marks the Pokemon Company’s first foray into mobile Pokemon games. Its parent company, Nintendo, avoided making, marketing, or distributing mobile games for any of its popular titles until last year. The CEO of Nintendo had stated as recently as 2015 that the company, a kind of console gaming, would never develop mobile games.
“This is absolutely not under consideration. If we did this, Nintendo would cease to be Nintendo…my responsibility is not to short term profits, but to Nintendo’s mid and long term competitive strength.”
But what about Pokemon GO? In 2016, Niantec, whose parent company is Google, paid a licensing fee to Nintendo and the Pokemon Company to use the Pokemon characters in their game Pokemon GO. Pokemon GO grossed over $250 million in the first five weeks of its release.
With Super Mario Run released in December, Nintendo made it clear that they finally caved into market pressure and made their characters available on smartphone devices. Pokemon Duel is the first official mobile game from Nintendo developers and the Pokemon Company to use the Pokemon characters.
Considering this fickle history and the profits Nintendo will likely make from Pokemon Duel, it’s worth noting that the strangest thing about Pokemon Duel has been its release. The game was released without fanfare or announcement, just quietly debuting on the iOs and Google Play stores.
In fact, Pokemon Duel has been available in Japan for a year under the name Pokemon Co-Master. Because there was no announcement of the game’s release in English, fans assumed it was a Japan only release. But yesterday, the game debuted in English in 64 regions and countries worldwide.
You can download Pokemon Duel from the iOS store or on Google Play. Just be sure to ask your parents’ permission before buying gems.
[Featured Image by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images]