Pokémon trainers around the world may have to wait until November to head to the Galar region in the Nintendo Switch-exclusive games Pokémon Sword and Shield, but that doesn't mean there's no Pokémon fun to be had until then. The Pokémon Masters mobile game is the latest addition to the Pokémon gaming series, and it's slated to debut this summer ahead of Pokémon Sword and Shield. That means players will have a whole other chance to interact with their favorite critters before the Switch games debut.
This new game for iOS and Android will let players set off on a new adventure to form teams of trainers and partner Pokémon who can fight each other in 3-on-3 real-time battles. Set in the all-new island location of Pasio, trainers from every region of the series gather there to compete. The rules of battle are a bit different from what you may be used to from previous entries in the series, but that's part of what will make this new smartphone entry so fun.
The game revolves around "sync pairs," which are basically a Pokémon trainer and the Pokémon they work best with. For instance, there are duos in the game such as the character Brendan and the Grass-type Pokémon Treecko as well as Korrina and Lucario, and Clair and Kingdra. You never know which Pokémon trainers you'll see paired up with which monsters. This is the first time trainers from all regions like Kanto and Johto will be represented in one game, so there are tons of Pokémon combinations possible.
When the game launches, there will be 65 sync pairs you can recruit for battle, and there are additional pairs being added after it debuts. They're an integral part of the game, as you'll explore the world of Pasio meeting new trainers and making friends with other sync pairs. You can recruit them to form a team of three sync pairs, which includes three Pokémon and three trainers apiece to battle against AI-powered opponents and eventually take the title of Pokemon Master at the coveted Pokémon Masters League tournament.
As you'll control three sync pairs in real-time, the AI opponents will be doing the same. You can direct your trainers to use support moves and healing items to help bolster Pokémon stats, and you can also use interesting new sync moves in addition to standard Pokémon moves as well. Performing regular and sync moves will deplete the move gauge over time, so you've got to ration out battle commands accordingly. It's definitely a new way to play, so it might take some getting used to, but it's the closest analogue to a "true" core Pokémon game players will have when the game debuts. Essentially, it's the closest thing to a new "classic" Pokémon game until Sword and Shield.
The game will be available worldwide when it debuts on both iOS and Android devices as a "free-to-start" game, implying there will be micro transactions of course, but no details have been given about what they'll be used for. Hopefully there's also some sort of official date announced in the coming days as well, because as it stands, we're well on our way through summer 2019 already.