Pokémon Duel

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Pokémon Duel App Poster Image
Action/strategy board game can test player's patience, luck.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

There's a lot to learn here. While core gameplay is fairly basic, learning nuances of game can be intimidating to new players.

Violence & Scariness

While a battle game, no real violence shown; defeated foes just go to a penalty box of sorts. 

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Players encouraged to upgrade their Pokémon, which often requires gems. Those can be won in-game, but to really progress, you'll likely have to buy some through in-app purchase. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pokémon Duel is a strategy/action game where players compete against others and the game's artificial intelligence to win a series of duels. Players build up their strongest deck of figures, upgrading them and combining them to defeat rivals. These upgrades require gems, which can be won in the game, but players who get deep into the game will be seriously tempted to spend real-world money in the game's store. The on-screen violence is nothing parents need to worry about (it's about as visceral as knocking two figures into each other), and there's no inappropriate content. Plus, players can't communicate with each other in multiplayer. Find out what the publisher does with your data by reading its privacy policy

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What's it about?

While it's an action/strategy game at heart, POKÉMON DUEL is as much a board game as anything else. Players move their pieces around a board with the objective of reaching their opponent's goal. Along the way, they either avoid or fight their opponent's Pokémon. In those duels, each player will stop a spinning wheel at a time of their choosing, which will show either a point for damage, a dodge (essentially meaning no winner), or a red "miss." Whoever has the lower point total or spins a miss loses the duel. That Pokémon is sent back to a holding area, where it's unplayable until the player loses two subsequent duels. Tactics are as important as combat strength in winning these duels and reaching your goal. 

Is it any good?

Whether you'll like this action/strategy/board game really comes down to two things: familiarity and patience. If you've played a lot of Pokémon, some of the mechanics might be familiar, but if you're new to the games, there can be a staggering amount to learn in Pokémon Duel. While the core gameplay is basic enough, the nuances of upgrading and battle take some getting used to. There's strategy involved (which Pokémon do you play or upgrade?), but the spinning wheel battle method makes the results completely random.

The single-player version of the game is fairly uninteresting (with a nonsense story about winning a high-rise skyscraper), but multiplayer games are fun, and players are well-matched. Parents don't need to worry about inappropriate contact, since players can't communicate with each other in the game. Pokémon Duel is a game with polish that's certainly fun for a while, but the random nature of the battles and steep learning curve could turn off some players.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about taking a long-term view. What effect will your actions have in a few moves?

  • Talk about when it's better to run away. Can you tell when it's not worth having a fight with someone?

App details

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For kids who love strategy

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