Pokemon Duel is the figurine-based Pokemon game released in April 2016.
Pokémon Duel provides a very unique gameplay experience. It feels as if it is a hybrid between chess and Pokémon games. The game has a board where figures are placed. Each player has two entry points in which they summon their figures through. Each player also has a tile referred to as a goal which they must defend. The layout of the board makes the placement of figurines very important, as certain tiles on the board allow for strategic maneuvers. A player also has the ability to prevent the opponent from using their entry points by placing a figure on that tile. There are two ways to win a match, the first is by placing one of your figures on the opponent’s goal, and the second is by blocking both entry points, and eliminating all of the opponents figures from the playing board. Eliminating a figure is done in two ways, the first being through battle, and the second is done by surrounding an enemy figure on all possible sides by your own figures.
Each player has a team of 6 figures with various attacks and abilities. Players also have access to a collection of plates which provide other abilities to assist in movement, and battle. The figures also have a certain amount of tiles they are allowed to move each turn, between 1-3 movements. Each figure also has a variety move sets. On the topic of moves, there are four types of moves which can be identified based on the color of it. White moves are typical attack moves, yellow moves are special attack moves, purple moves are pure ability moves in which priority is determined by the amount of stars, blue moves are evasive and defensive moves, and red moves are always misses. Red moves lose out to every other type of move. White moves lose out to purple, blue, and higher damage moves. Yellow moves lose out to higher damage moves. Blue moves win every time. Purple moves lose out to gold and blue moves. When two purple moves match up, the move with the most stars wins the battle. In cases where the move has damage associated with it, the higher damage move will always win.
The game is mainly an online player versus player game, however it also has a story component to it. Currently there is only one game mode, however when a new figure is released, there will often be special events where certain Pokémon or Pokémon types will be given some form of a boost. Despite the depth of gameplay mechanics, and strategy the game devolves to a luck based game rather than a skill based game due to the nature of battling. Every time a battle occurs, RNG is the deciding factor of every single battle. Players can play their figures and choose their battles in ways that give them the best possible opportunity to win. Despite having the odds stacking in your favor, a whole game can end up being decided on one single spin of bad luck. This is detrimental to allowing Pokémon Duel to thrive as a competitive game.
The game has a huge amount of strategy involved, especially considering all the different abilities and attack moves which make each game unique from each other. The meta game is constantly changing as new figures are released, however there are certain figures which seem to do well after every balance change and figure release. Deoxys is the prime example of a figure which has survived every meta since its release, and is constantly dominating the meta game.
Another issue with the game is that a large majority of it is not explained to the player. One specific example is that the game did not inform the player on what to do with ingots and cubes, which will often leave the player befuddled as they try to figure out how to make room for new figures in their collection, as these items take up a slot in the inventory of figures. The final issue with the game is that the load times are very long, especially when trying to start the game, it is a huge turn off for players trying to quickly sign on to unlock a time booster.
To sum it up, Pokémon Duel requires a fair amount of strategy, however the RNG involved in the combat significantly hinders the strategic aspects of the game. Despite the flaws with the combat, the game can still be very fun, and it is an absolute blast to collect your favorite Pokémon and create a strategy around them.
The Pokémon Duel economy is very generous. However, there are still several issues with it. There are two main forms of currency in the game. The first being gems, and the second being coins. The game is very generous with its distribution of gems, as there is a variety of ways to obtain them. Coins, on the other hand, are not as readily available for casual players. There is a third type of currency called Materials which plays a much less important role in the economy.
Gems are given to the player on a regular basis whether it be a special event bonus, or through a daily login bonus. Players also have the opportunity to earn them through daily missions and story quests. The in-game shop also allows the player to purchase coins using real-life currencies. In comparison to other free to play mobile games, the gems in this game are very expensive. The ratio of free gems to the cost of purchasing them is also very bizarre. Gems can be used to buy booster packs, and plates from the shop. The other issue associated with gem cost is the extremely large amount of figures available in the game, and it is also ever expanding. This makes it unfeasible for a player who spends money to unlock every figure.
Coins are earned in two ways, the first being through completing story quests, and the second through exchanging ingots in the shop. Ingots will be the main source of income, as they are earned through time boosters which are acquired by winning online matches. It appears as though the value of coins in this game tends to be inflated in comparison to other economic systems in mobile games, as players are rewarded with large amounts, and players will use a lot of them in single transactions. Coins are used to upgrade figures, which is quite expensive as previously mentioned.
Materials are the final form of currency given through booster packs and can be traded in for specific figures in the shop. Materials are not very plentiful. However, it does not cost very much to unlock figures. A casual player could expect to have enough materials to unlock any character within two months.
A player who spends money on the game automatically has a major advantage. This is because they have a much better chance of unlocking stronger figures. However, the game does a nice job of making it that players have to play the game to upgrade figures. This is because it is impossible to purchase coins with real currency which are a requirement when upgrading figures. However, players who spend money can open time boosters instantly with gems, which will allow them to require ingots quickly. The only issue is that it would cost an absurd amount of money when considering the price of gems.
Overall, the in game currency is fairly comparable to the standard of free to play games, with the only caveat being the appeared inflated value of these currencies. The cost of gems is quite mind boggling considering the amount given out for free when compared with the cost of purchasing them via real currency. As for coins, the distribution method is very outlandish as it gives you an ingot rather than the gold. Having an ingot takes up space in the players figure case, which is redundant and it forces the players to needlessly make room by exchanging the ingots which are always worth the same amount of gold depending on its rarity.
Aesthetically, the game has some positives, but has a major amount of negatives as well. The figures themselves are very beautiful, and manage to portray the essence of each Pokémon being depicted. Each figure displays a Pokémon who is striking a pose reminiscent of the games and anime.
The aesthetic issues stem from the clunky and difficult to navigate menus, and the extremely bland battle tables. One example of the poorly designed menus is that the game does a very poor job explaining where to find certain portions of the game as many buttons are not labelled. It can be very difficult for new players to find room battles and featured duels for example.
The battle tables are essentially the area in which battles occur. They are very basic designs, and do not look as though they belong in the world of Pokémon. Some of the battle boards also have a color scheme which make it difficult to see the possible locations where figures are able to move to.
The music and sound effects are definitely a positive aspect of the game. Although they are not familiar of typical Pokémon games, they are able to effectively carve out their own style which seems to suit this style of Pokémon game very well. The transition of music between different game scenarios works flawlessly and adds to the overall game experience.
Pokémon Duel overall can be somewhat of an enigma in the aesthetic department, it all feels like a typical Pokémon game outside of the menus and arenas. However, the music and figures blend together to somewhat provide that feel that Pokémon fans thrive for.
Pokémon Duel absolutely excels in the commitment rewards department. The game provides players with three daily challenges which will reward the player upon completion. Once the player has completed 10 of these daily challenges they will be rewarded with a spin wheel which will provide further resources. When the player wins a battle they are given a time booster which will take varying amounts of times to unlock. These boosters are where players will acquire the majority of their resources, which keeps them coming back several times a day. There is also a daily login bonus which provides the player with free resources for just coming on once a day. New players are also given much more resources daily than people who have been playing for a long time. This is excellent, because it allows players to get a decent kick start to provide an opportunity to do well as a beginner.
In summary, there is plenty of opportunity for the player to earn different resources in order to unlock new figures and upgrade them. The game does an excellent job of keeping players coming back on a regular basis, and is very generous with awarding free resources.
Pokémon Duel is likely to have a long-life span, simply because of its brand. Pokémon is a franchise which has been around for two decades and seems to be devoured by the masses with every piece of media they release. The game was developed by Heroz which is a Japanese company that his been active since 2009. On the English side of the internet, there is a lack of information about other games they have developed and supported. However, the game was published by The Pokémon Company, which is also the publisher of Pokémon Go, which appears as though it will be supported for a very long time. Due to the lack of comparable mobile Pokémon games, the best comparison would be the main Pokémon franchise games which seem to be supported for a minimum of two years before a new installment takes over.
Generally Pokémon game tend to have great replayability which is great news for fans of this game. However, unless the game is able to approve in certain areas it is apparent that players very easily lose interest in the game.
Pokémon Duel is an interesting game and has plenty of potential to be a fantastic mobile game. However, the RNG aspect of this game makes it inherently flawed. Most players will become extremely frustrated that they truly do not control the outcome of interactions even when the odds are in their favor. It would be suggested that this game should attempt to eliminate RNG to try to improve the gameplay experience. Other ways for the game to improve include improving the look of the menu, while providing more guidance to navigate the menu. If you are a huge Pokémon fan, it is definitely worth trying out Pokémon Duel, but do not expect to be attached to it the way main title games and Pokémon Go did.