Every year, right until the peak of the peach season, pop-cultural villains influence the ruling “summer song”. It has to be danceable and cheerful, yes, and somewhere upstairs Billboard. But it must also include the essence of the year he describes – more precisely, a short summer break from it.
After the biggest year of games ever, aided by home stay orders and self-imposed isolation, and game summer might also be fine: social enough to be powered by the energy of our post-vax associations and light enough to briefly stifle long-lasting anxieties like the pandemic continues. Inject nostalgia for good measure, as many of us think better ahead of time. Pokémon Unite, July 21, maybe it’s that game — a simple, addictive team fighter that’s perfectly timed to relax us when we need it most.
Player in Pokémon Unite is a Pokémon trainer who sends his pocket monster to five-on-five competitions. Their team wins by scoring the most points in enemy goals. Pokémon earn those points, progress, and even evolve by killing smaller Pokémon scattered around the map or fighting monsters of other players. And leveling unlocks new, better moves. Charmander, for example, begins with a Fiery Turn and an explosion of flame. As he develops into Charmeleon and Charizard, the player can adjust his set of moves using the Flamethrower, long-range fire attack or Fire Strike, dash attack, etc. It is an infinitely simpler and more sporty performance in a massively popular genre: multiplayer online battle arena or MOBA. (Think league of legends or Storm heroes).
Every round Pokémon Unite it contains the following: small successes, great successes, great failures, and finally the catharsis of victory or defeat. The rhythm is enchanting. The moment begins with the players pounding small monsters and sneaking closer to the opponent’s zone. Then they could hammer a modest 10 points into an enemy goal when the spirit of Pokémon Gengar turns its back. Full of energy, they could push deeper into the danger zone with a shot of pocket monsters and 50 points in the back pocket. Hubris brings them too close to the enemy base and is overwhelmed by the entire opposing team at once. Fifty points are gone. Failure is invigorating and educated. Unlike more competitive MOBAs, a player cannot measure how well they are doing until the game is over.
Since games only last five to 10 minutes and the mechanics are relatively simple, at least initially it doesn’t suck to suck. As someone does, I focused on childhood favorites, Venusaur, before I even got hold of it. (Every Pokémon I’ve encountered is fun to play; you can never go wrong.) Pokémon Unite it gives the player time and space to master the basics, and even if they don’t, no one can yell at them because communications are disabled except for expressive phrases like “I’m going to the top”. As more and more mechanics emerge – such as combining moves with other players or synergizing sets of moves –Pokémon Unite it becomes less like a children’s soccer game, and more like FIFA.
This does not mean that it is inherently complicated. Pokémon Unite it allows you to invest in it as much as you want, and will not penalize you for playing leisurely. You don’t need knowledge of MOBAs, Pokémon, or even video games in general to pick them up Pokémon Unite and have a great time. If you want, you can also grate the brain with cheese according to the lists of layers and make recommendations and fix your min-max. The lesson here, as with any summer pop banger, is that the complex doesn’t mean gratification.