Paige FTW: ‘Pokemon Masters’ Has Strategy In Spades

Pokemon Masters is what Pokemon Go wanted to be.

The more battle-centric of Nintendo’s forays into mobile Pokemon landed with an invigorating splash last month.

The premise is quite simple: You collect famous trainers (namely Gym Leaders and Elite Four members) and assemble their Pokemon into three-man battle teams. Each Pokemon has one move (and a chargeable special move), but otherwise it’s not unlike normal battling in a main line title.

The strategy is simple but complex enough to be satisfying at higher levels, when the game stops being a one-hit wonder walkthrough and actually ramps up the challenge.

As for the rest of it, well … your mileage may vary.

Either you will find the cutesy character moments with the famed trainers of series lore charming, or you will find them annoying wastes of time. They are dialogue heavy, but these aren’t Pulitzer-worthy conversations, either.

Either you embrace the free-to-play-but-pay-for-more model, or you don’t. A round of bad pulls can leave you cold (it sure leaves me disinterested) and completely derail your game if you aren’t committed to putting just a little — just this once, really — cash into it.

Either you will make the effort to type in the antiquated friend codes to add your real-world peers to your game, or you won’t. Honestly, once I saw that was the primary way to add friends, I just gave up right there and then. Nintendo remains far behind on its networking capabilities.

Do the pros outweigh the cons?

Honestly, I’m not one for the gacha mobile game formula. Randomizing my chances at success is just infuriating. If I am going to pay money, I want a guarantee, not potential.
It’s too bad because I do like the concept of Pokemon Masters. As always, the devil is in the execution.