How Pokémon Unite Works (Gameplay, How To Win, Pro Tips)

Learn how Pokémon Unite works along with the goal of this online multiplayer battle game in this detailed guide.

A group of pokemon running towards the camera
Image: The Pokémon Company

Pokémon Unite has quickly become a mega popular game that seems like everyone is playing. And if you’re like me before I started, you may be wondering what type of game Pokémon Unite is and how the game works.

Pokémon Unite is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena game in which players pick one of over 20 Pokémon creatures to do battle. Matches are contested in 5 versus 5 arenas, in which the team that scores the most points during the 10-minute time limit wins.

I’ll explain what you’ll be doing during a Pokémon Unite match, how to win, and whether Pokémon Unite is worth playing.

There is much more to Pokémon Unite to learn in order to master the game, and I’m here to show you how.

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How Pokémon Unite Works

A close-up of Pikachu
Image: The Pokémon Company

Pokémon Unite is a team-based game that relies on players working together to score the most goals within 10 minutes. Players will utilize a host of Pokémon attacks and abilities to defeat opposing players, obtain points, and score. And the team that scores the most wins the match.

Overall, players who understand how Pokémon Unite works will win more matches.

If you’re looking for a general overview of Pokémon Unite and want to know even more about the game, check out a detailed article I wrote here.

A) What Is Pokémon Unite’s Core Gameplay

There are 7 components that make up Pokémon Unite’s core gameplay, from selecting a Pokémon to scoring points. Mastering them all will help ensure more victories than losses.

  1. Select a Pokémon for battle
  2. Equip Pokémon with items
  3. Level up a Pokémon during battle
  4. Learn new moves as a Pokémon levels up
  5. Assist teammates to win fights and score points
  6. Attack the Legendary Pokémon with your team
  7. Score points in your opponents’ goal zones

1) Select a Pokémon for battle

Pokémon Unite’s core gameplay begins with selecting a Pokémon.

Play as Pikachu, Charizard, Snorlax, Alolan Ninetales, Zeraora, or Venusaur if you’re a beginner.

2) Equip Pokémon with items

Equip Battle and Held Items in the match lobby by opening up the Battle Prep menu; you won’t have many items to begin with, so equip what you have.

3) Level up a Pokémon during battle

Select a lane to travel and defeat wild Pokémon along the way.

Wild Pokémon are computer-controlled creatures that provide experience when defeated.

Beat enough wild Pokémon and gain enough experience points to increase your level and grow stronger.

4) Learn new moves as a Pokémon levels up

Monsters will also learn moves as they level up.

You’ll have the option to choose what moves to learn as your creature increases its level.

Play many matches and try out your Pokemon’s various moves to find the ones you like the best.

You can also view a Pokémon’s full range of attacks by navigating to the Pokémon tab on the main menu.

5) Assist teammates to win fights and score points

Assist teammates in Pokémon battles against the opposing team once you’re leveled up.

Doing so will help keep your teammates alive and ahead in the match.

Also join teammates when scoring in your opponent’s goal zones: scoring together is safer than scoring alone and will help your team eliminate opposing goal zones faster.

6) Attack the Legendary Pokémon with your team

Defeating legendary Pokémon in Pokémon Unite will grant your team with an often game-winning advantage during a match.

For example, the electric bird Zapdos appears at the center of the main map during the last few minutes.

Defeating Zapdos shocks the opposing team and paralyzes them momentarily while also making scoring in the opposing team’s goal zones instantaneous.

7) Score points in your opponents’ goal zones

Scoring points (called Aeos Energy) is the most important aspect of winning Pokémon Unite matches. The team with the most points wins when the timer reaches zero.

Earn Aeos Energy by defeating opposing players and wild creatures during a battle.

Then carry and score the Aeos Energy in the opposing team’s goal zones (these are the large orange circles on the mini map and found throughout the arena).

It’ll take longer to score the more points you are carrying, so keep that in mind.

B) How To Win In Pokémon Unite (Best Strategy)

On average, play a total of 3 to 5 Pokémon Unite matches a day to improve your understanding of the game’s mechanics to help you win more often. This amount of matches will better your understanding of how to play Pokémon Unite and only requires less than an hour a day to accomplish.

Winning Pokémon Unite matches requires playing as a team, a developed game sense, and equipping your Pokémon properly.

All three of these can be learned by playing as many matches as possible.

You’ll learn when to attack and when to retreat by simply playing, winning, and losing battles.

keep experimenting and keep playing

The same can be said about learning anything else in Pokémon Unite.

Play. More. Matches.

You’ll understand when you should score and how to position yourself against the various other Pokémon you’ll come up against.

Study the range of your attacks to know how far away you can be, and study the ranges of each Pokémon on the opposing team.

Equip every item in the game, one by one, until you find an item that works with your play style

Just keep experimenting and keep playing.

C) Pokémon Unite Pro Tips

A purple monkey pokemon in fear
Image: The Pokémon Company

I’ve played over 100 hours of Pokémon Unite, and I’m passing all of my hard fought knowledge to you!

Obtain proper Pokémon battle techniques and learn 12 common mistakes players make (that you need to avoid in Pokémon Unite) by reading this handy guide I crafted for all players.

This invaluable resource will help you be a better player, win more matches, and annoy your teammates less.

Learn more pro-tips by reading 12 common mistakes to avoid while playing Pokémon Unite.

Is Pokémon Unite A Bad Game?

As a whole, Pokémon Unite is not a bad game, although it has had a mixed reception. It does not have any game breaking glitches or technical issues and is very fun to play even though it has a 69% positivity rating from critics and 40% from fans. It’s beginner-friendly but provides depth for pro-players, which is a hallmark of a good game.

easy to pick up and learn while remaining free to play

Pokémon Unite’s key criticism is the game’s supposed “pay-to-win” game design, in which players who pay the most to upgrade items will be able to win more than players who don’t pay to upgrade their items.

Conversely, Pokémon Unite’s supporters enjoy the game’s quick matches and fast yet simple to understand gameplay that feels responsive to control and easy to understand. The game’s easy to pick up and learn while remaining free to play.

Is Pokémon Unite Pay To Win?

There are some pay-to-win mechanics in Pokémon Unite that can make it hard for players who don’t spend money to win. However, spending real cash is less important at deciding a victory than knowing how to play. A solid accumulation of teamwork, game sense, and preparation dictates wins more than money does.

Pokémon Unite does allow players to upgrade items by spending real money. This is true. Held Items affect gameplay by increasing attack power, attack speed, and so forth and can be enhanced at-will by using your wallet.

But the ability to upgrade these items can also be earned by playing the game entirely for free.

Upgrading Pokémon Unite Held items for free does take longer to do. But more importantly, it is still possible to do so without spending any money at all.

Pokémon Unite is definitely not “pay-to-win” but “pay to get a temporary advantage”

Therefore, players who play for free and those who spend money will eventually each have Held Items of the same strength.

Matches at this point won’t be decided by how many dollars or time was spent upgrading items, but by the player’s understanding of how to play effectively and efficiently.

I’ve played over 300 Pokémon Unite battles and played for over 100 hours and can say that I only felt under-powered in a handful of matches.

I spent time learning my Pokémon’s move set, each arena map’s unique mechanics, and the proper way to battle and score to help me win matches instead of spending money.

Pokémon Unite is definitely not “pay-to-win” but “pay to get a temporary advantage that becomes useless over time” which is less beneficial than having proper understanding of Pokémon Unite’s gameplay mechanics.

Learn how to upgrade Pokémon Unite Held Items by following this step-by-step picture guide.

Is Pokémon Unite Worth It?

A happy round pink pokemon
Image: The Pokémon Company

Pokémon Unite is worth playing for anyone looking for a fun, free experience. It’s a beginner-friendly game with vibrant visuals and exciting, fast-paced gameplay that never lasts longer than it should. 5 and 10 minutes matches make it easy to pick-up-and-play for short bursts or for long sessions, whether you’re playing alone or with friends online.

There are

  • over 20 Pokémon to play as with more being added in the future
  • a dozen Held Items to choose from to alter gameplay
  • multiple game modes to learn and master
  • event missions and battle pass challenges to complete
  • and much more that ensures Pokémon Unite is never dull to play

I play Pokémon Unite every night with my spouse, and we will continue to do so for a very long time to come.

Do You Need Nintendo Online To Play Pokémon Unite?

Pokémon Unite does not require a Nintendo Switch Online subscription to play. It’s entirely free to download, install, and play and only requires you to be in a region that has access to the Nintendo Switch eShop along with a stable internet connection and enough storage space to download the game.

Learn how to connect your Nintendo Switch to wifi wireless internet by following this step-by-step picture guide.

What Is Pokémon Unite’s File Size?

Pikachu running at the camera (pokemon unite nintendo switch screenshot)
Image: The Pokémon Company

Pokémon Unite is 928 MB on the Nintendo Switch. Install a microSD card or delete games, apps, screenshots, videos, or save files in order to make room for Pokémon Unite to install. The amount of storage required may change over time.

Nintendo Switch, OLED, and Lite all come with more than enough internal storage to download Pokémon Unite. Just make sure you have enough space available before downloading the game.

Is Pokémon Unite Available On Mobile Phones/Devices?

Pikachu happy, jumping in front of a dark sky filled with fireworks of all colors
Image: The Pokémon Company

Pokémon Unite is available for free on iPhone and Android devices starting September 22nd, 2021. Mobile players can play with Nintendo Switch owners and vice versa. Nintendo Switch players can also link their account with the mobile version, allowing progress to be carried over no matter the device.

Learn how to pre-register Pokémon Unite on iPhone and Android by following my step-by-step picture guides I created.

Read More Great Articles

Now you know how Pokémon Unite works and how to play the popular online Pokémon game.

Bookmark this site to stay up to date with even more Pokémon Unite guides, tips, and tricks.

Check out all exciting Pokémon Unite articles on Bucket List Games.

(Screenshots taken by me. Images sourced from product pages, websites, or social media and are credited appropriately. Logos, images, etc. belong to their respective owners. All information current at time of publication.)

SOURCE: Pokémon Unite website | Nintendo / Creatures Inc. / GAME FREAK inc / Tencent


My name is Wally, and I've enjoyed Nintendo and PC gaming for over 25 years. You'll find many articles on these two topics on this site. Read as many articles as you like. Enjoy!

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