Pokémon Masters has already been released in India, Singapore, and Indonesia. While the rest of the world awaits its turn for the next big mobile Pokémon game, a couple of countries (including my own country of Canada) have received a preview beta to tide us over and stress test before launch. When I saw that the app was ready to download, I decided I would give it a shot.
Set in the Pasio region, there is a big gathering for Pokémon Trainers all over the world to compete in the Pokémon Masters League. In this league, battles are 3-on-3 with Trainers and their Pokémon being referred to as "Sync Pairs." You sign up with your trusty Pikachu as one of these Sync Pairs and prepare to work your way to the top. Before the tournament begins, however, an organization calling themselves Team Break appears, wanting to steal Pokémon from their Trainers.
In the currently released preview build, only a couple of chapters are available. These chapters introduce you to the world of Pasio and Team Break, who are the main villains of this game. I definitely felt like I was playing through a good old Pokémon story, right down to the comical evil characters. It's unclear at this point what Team Break wants with the Pokémon they're capturing, but it's likely to become known when the game releases.
The gameplay is pseudo-action and, as previously mentioned, features 3-on-3 battles. A move gauge that fills up over time determines how often you are able to use attacks. You do have to wait for a Pokémon to finish their move before you can enter another input in for a different move. Each Trainer also comes with an item like X Speed, X Sp. Atk, or a Potion to assist their Pokémon in battle. Like every Pokémon game, you have to think carefully about weaknesses when constructing your team for each area. Luckily, the game gives you recommended types to bring in each case. What has yet to be seen is if Pokémon Masters gives you enough free Sync Pairs to cover each type. There are 18 types of Pokémon, after all, so are you going to get 18 types for free? So far, I have 6 types of Pokémon just through this beta, so we're on the right track. If the player can't cover all the types for free, we may have a pay-to-win scenario.
Keep your eyes out soon for Pokémon Masters. It releases in North America on August 29th. Those in select regions like Canada can download this preview build and get a feel for the game early.