Completely out of nowhere, The Pokémon Company released Pokémon Duel to both Android and iOS devices. Released originally as Pokémon Comaster in Japan last year, Duel is a rebranding effort as the game goes global. Duel is a free-to-play title, which of course means it does come with the requisite microtransactions. This marks the franchise’s third mobile title, alongside Shuffle and smash-hit Go.
As for the game itself? I haven’t spent a lot of time on it yet, but Duel is effectively “battle chess.” The goal is to maneuver figures of Pokémon from your side of a board to another. Figures can battle each other as they encounter each other on the board. There appears to be a fairly diverse line up of Pokémon to encounter from across generations. Each figure actually has several attacks, but players don’t necessarily choose them. Instead, they are spread on a spinner, adding an RNG system to things. Leveling up the figures allows players to change up the spinner divisions that will tweak the odds. The figures themselves actually look cool too, posing Pokémon in exciting action poses along with bases indicating each type.
Again, microtransactions are about, but Duel opens with a screen stressing that all game content can be played without spending a single cent. That said, earning rewards is a particularly slow process as a result. The game also includes an energy bar that is fairly generous; but the idea of running out of energy to play a game when you might want to is irritating. If you’re willing to look past that and want to give Duel a try, it is available right now on the App Store and Google Play.