A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
While a limited number of human characters are shown, some represent different racial and gender groups.
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Ease of Play
A detailed tutorial walks kids through how to play and is available for them to review at any time.
Violence & Scariness
Kids engage in battles in the game using a variety of attack moves.
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Products & Purchases
Kids can, but don't have to purchase Aeos gems, an in-app currency that can be used to buy gear and other items. This is based on a wildly popular franchise, which has spawned video games, cartoons, comics, toys, movies, and more.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pokémon Unite is an action game for iOS and Android devices. This title is based off of a wildly popular franchise, which has spawned games, movies, shows, and more. The gameplay centers on battles, so kids will partake in and see fighting. They're also rewarded with new attack moves as they play, which parents may feel indirectly reinforces a message that violence is OK. There's no blood or gore, though, and while opponents disappear once defeated, kids get a chance to simply start over from a new location if they're successfully attacked. The game's free to play, and kids get pretty detailed instructions. While they can buy packages of gems that cost $0.99 to $99.99, they don't have to -- and they don't get a lot of pressure to purchase anything.
Is It Any Good?
While teamwork in this game can be hit or miss, the fun of fighting through various battles will keep players coming back for more. Pokemon Unite features impressive graphics and ample battle action. Characters swivel, jump, and produce bright bursts of light when striking to convert energy into points. Pokémons swell into a massive version of themselves when kids level up in battles, and they can perform a variety of moves, ranging from shooting flame to producing protective stone walls.
Unless kids play with friends, their experience may be determined by who they end up on a team with. The wait time for other players to be found is impressively brief, but the process doesn't guarantee you'll get people who agree with your game strategy. Teaming up against opponents can be a successful approach. Kids may notice, though, some people are more active in battles than others. Playing, as a result, can feel a little bit chaotic at times. A map shows your location and where your opponents are, but characters sometimes just seem to be wandering around, or you may stumble on a fight between two of your allies and one person from the other team where you're not really needed. Without a safety-in-numbers approach or a dedication to individually attacking opponents, winning the battle may be challenging -- and coordinating the team's plan isn't always easy. While players can communicate via chat, the only option is to use messages such as "I need backup!" that may go unnoticed amongst all the activity on the screen. But the game wasn't designed to lock kids out soon after they start playing, and the lack of ads or intense pressure to buy things is a huge plus. Kids can choose different characters to use as well, which helps keep battles from feeling monotonous. Realistically, even if all teammates can't get on the same page about how to proceed in a Pokémon Unite battle, kids can still have fun showing off their moves and trying to take out their rivals one by one, regardless of whether they ultimately win or lose the fight.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.