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Pokemon Masters is out—kinda. There’s a limited soft-launch in Singapore and soon™ Canada, but eager superfans are already playing in other territories via VPNs and the usual tricks. Here you’ll find my evaluation of the game in its current, early state as I’ve completed all the content currently on offer and talked the game over with many other direly impatient Pokemon fans. My efforts to keep things simple has failed—so be ready for a fairly complete look at what the game is like today!
If you wish to play the game or just read up on how it all works in detail, I also have a Pokemon Masters guide on this here site or you can pop in our Discord server to chat about the game!
Editor’s Note: The game’s full release is upon us! The final release fixes a couple of bugs, changes gem prices slightly, adds 5 free trainers to the roster, and has a minor intro event with some similarly minor rewards. It’s nothing that really affects my judgement of the game, so I’ll be leaving the rest of the review as-is.
What Is Pokemon Masters?
Pokemon Masters is perhaps a Gachapon Mobage-style mobile game first, and a Pokemon game second. I don’t mean this in a bad way, but rather I mean that this game was clearly designed to reinforce its goal of being an accessible, stand-alone mobile title before all else. A few tried-and-true Pokemon design choices and rules have been left behind in this process—which occasionally makes things a little confusing for long-time players.
Instead of catching Pokemon, this time around you’re “scouting” for Sync Pairs; a Trainer and Pokemon pair that you actually use to battle. All battles are 3v3 in Pokemon Masters, so you can choose 3 trainers and their Pokemon . Sync Pairs aren’t like normal Pokemon ; not all unevolved Pokemon can evolve to their final form, and Types are tied more to Trainer than they are to the Pokemon; most dual type Pokemon are single type, all pokemon only have a single weakness, and resistances and immunities don’t generally exist.
Pokemons’ Stat growth and Base Power for Moves are also freely re-balanced, moves are tied to a Sync Pair and can’t be changed. There’s no IVs (thank Arceus) or EVs, level 100 is level 100. It’s a drastic overhaul but mostly results in a smoother, simpler experience still largely recognizable as Pokemon. It also offers a balance setup more similar to the usual mobile gachapon-fests; a Treecko can be stronger than a Serperior because they say so, that’s why.
There’s no PVP (possibly a blessing due to power creep and other pay to win nonsense common to these games), but there is co-op play unlocked after beating most of the main story.
3v3? Yeah, You Know Me
The best thing about the game is definitely the battle format. It’s close to a mix of Rotation and Triple Battles from the main series, but all Pokemon can be hit and target other Pokemon at once; nothing only targets “adjacent” creatures. Pokemon’s moves charge in “real time” but attacks are still cued up for an almost-turn-based battle closer to Final Fantasy’s famous ATB system.
The 3 Pokemon simultaneous match up offers strategic possibilities beyond the usual on-on-one fights, without the more time intensive complications of a full team 6 versus 6 one-at-a-time style of traditional Pokemon . And more importantly, many new “Trainer Moves” were added to the game with the 3v3 format in mind, adding many buffs that hit the whole party. Skills like this are pretty rare in the mainline games.
As a long-time Pokemon fan it does bother me just how much the AI cheats though; in the mainline games you’re always fighting “real” Pokemon that you could have on your own team right down to the moves and stats. In Pokemon Masters however, enemy Sync Pairs have extremely overpowered Sync Moves (but charge them much more slowly than you usually do) that hit the whole team and often include a Haze effect to remove your buffs. It’s something that would be fun for raid bosses, but feels excessive and cheap in regular battles. It really reduces the feeling of fair competition that’s very big in Pokemon, both in gameplay and story.
All in all I really enjoy the new format, and I really hope Pokemon Sword and Shield will offer a variation of it for play. Addition of online co-op battles to Pokemon is also very welcome. I’ve often wished I could play Battle Tree etc. in Co-op, but only local play has been offered so far, and the peak of having local friends with the latest Pokemon release was grade school for me.
Pokemon Masters is a new mobile Pokemon gashapon RPG, out now worldwide for iOS and Android! In this Pokemon Masters Guide you’ll find strategy, gameplay, and Sync Pair information, as well as common questions about the game.
Though this guide was created during the location test, I’ve confirmed nothing has changed (except IAP prices and some new units) so consider it fully up to date for launch! Feel free to ask questions or contribute information in the comments, discus the game in our Discord server, or add to our Sync Pair Spreadsheet!
You can support me and my guides monthly on Patreon (and score some rewards like cute cat pictures)! The more I earn the more time I can spend on improving guides like this. My PayPal is a thing too if you can’t do monthly subscriptions.
2019-09-10: Rock Type Training event. It sucks, rewards aren’t really worth it except for the gems and coins.
2019-09-04: Added some more info on EX Challenges and Gear.
2019-09-03: Blue Event is live! Comes with event stages and an event banner in the Sync Pair Scout. I’ll be streaming Pokemon Masters on Twitch to show off the event and try my luck at pulls tonight!
2019-08-30: Updated Sync Pairs list with the new trainers. Added info on unlocking Getting Stronger with Gear. Updated walkthrough up to chapter 18. Added more info on gear.
2019-08-28: It’s out worldwide! No more VPN, party in the Discord! New sync pairs are out: Viola & Surskit, Nanu & Alolan Persian, Koga & Crobat, Acerola & Palossand, Cheren & Stountland. An (easy) event is added to Missions. Chapter 14 added to story mode. Pokemon evolutions now require significantly more evolution stones; avoid evolving characters you won’t use (save it for Rosa).
2019-08-27: Pokemon Masters will be offline tomorrow for maintenance leading up to launch. Do not pull at launch if you want Blue, he will have a banner starting September second
2019-08-26: Pokemon Masters launches worldwide this week! I’ll update the guide with any changes the “final” version has, though I expect them to be very minimal outside of possible events/banners. I’ll also stream the game for launch on Twitch!
2019-08-23: Pokemon Masters updated (ingame, not apk), does NOT fix the Blue Bug. Gem values for IAP wil lbe changed soon.
2019-07-31: Added Bugs, Item List & where to find them, Passives list & description
2019-07-28: Sync pair list is complete! Discovered how to get Gym Leaders Notes (co op)
2019-07-25: Add me! 8023-3706-8072-5655
Reddit has found an APK (look for yourself, for copyright reasons I can’t link to it. Be careful when installing ANY APK from an unknown source). However, the game requires a VPN or it won’t work outside of the test regions (Canada, Singapore). Added info on how to get playing now.
Title: Pokemon Masters
Platform: Android, iOS
Language: English, Japanese
Release date: 2019-08-28
Developer: DeNA Co. Ltd.
Publisher: Pokemon Company
Price: F2P with microtransactions and gachapon
File Size: 1.33 GB fully installed
Genre: 3v3 Gachapon real-time RPG
Rock Type Training
Guaranteed 5 Star Scout
This is bait, IMO. It’s paid gem only, and for the 3000 paid gems to get 10 units + 1 5 star, you could have pulled 30 free daily sync pairs instead (expected value 2.1 5 star units).
Launch Celebration Special Rally
Dates: 2019-08-29 through 2019-10-16
A basic event, you simply need to win 5 Co-Op battles and complete Story Mode to earn rewards. Completing all missions gets you 10 Big Pearls. Should be very easy to complete, if minimally rewarding.
There are no Event stages in Explore nor Event Exchanges in the shop.
Pokemon Masters FAQ
Where Are Gym Leader Notes?
To get your first Gym Leader Notes, fight Hard mode of any Co-Op story mode stage, after Chapter 11. Single player will not work.
Very Hard Supercourses drop them too, but they’re vastly harder and ideally require level 90+ pokemon. Supercourses are the best way to get them after you have 1-3 pokemon Max Level Capped.
How Do I Evolve (Pokemon)?
If you’re asking, odds are you can’t. The great majority of Sync Pairs in Pokemon Masters simply do not evolve. A rare few do, including free characters Rosa and Barry, and other units in the Gachapon noted with an icon. Get your pokemon above level 35 (stage 1) or 50 (stage 2) to see if it evolves. If no Sync Story unlocks for evolution, that pokemon does not evolve, ever.
Note that Evolution Stones are very rare and consider not evolving pokemon you may never use, contrary as that may be to Pokemon instincts. Since Launch they increased the cost of evolving, making it extremely prohibitive.
Where are Red and Blue?
Not in the game yet. Blue will have a Gachapon banner starting september 4th. Red is currently MIA but will surely be added in the future, as well most famous trainers. These games always release favorites slowly to keep people interested.
How Do I Get Star Power Ups?
Star Power Ups are the items that raise a character from 3* to 5* etc. But they’re effectively not in the game at least for now. You can only get them by pulling 6+ of the same unit from the gachapon, a feat that would cost several hundred dollars bare minimum, probably over $1000 total.
Hopefully they’ll be event items eventually, they effectively do not exist at present.
How do I complete “Getting Stronger With Gear”?
Beat Chapter 18 Co-Op hard mode to unlock the gear feature, and the Very Hard stages of Co-Op.
Why Am I so Weak!
If you’re neglecting Training Courses you’re going to be extremely underleveled and behind on Move/Level Cap items. They’re your ticket to grinding. If you haven’t completed the story yet, there’s also probably multiple features you haven’t unlocked yet.
This is a guide for Tap Tap Fish – AbyssRium, with only the 2019 Anniversary Event formation. See the main guide for a more comprehensive set of information and for links to other events. Feel free to add any of my guides to your homescreen for easy access, and offline loading of guides you’ve used (on supported devices)!
Finally, a new Neptunia title has released; Super Neptunia RPG! This one’s halfway between a “side” game and a “main” game, having a higher budget and larger story focus than most of the side games, but still some major differences from most of the “main” games.
I’m a bit late on getting together a guide for this one (work’s been a huge pain!) so I’m putting up my framework and I’ll be improving it as I play! Major WIP. Feel free to ask questions and add information in the comments, or contribute to the freely editableBig Spreadsheet of Everything for the game.
Super Neptunia RPG Game Info
Title: Super Neptunia RPG
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC (Steam)
Language: Japanese/English (Audio), English/French (Text)
Release date: 2019-06-20 (English)
Developer: Artisan Studios
Publisher: Compile Heart/Idea Factory International
File Size: 4800 MB
PS4 version has trophies and Steam version has achievements, Switch version has no Achievements.
On PS4, 2 CGs are partially censored (one cropped, one has extra Censorship Hotspring Mist added), both Steam and switch version are unaltered.
The Japanese version has the same censored scenes, but has Japanese text.
There’s platforming, but you get jump upgrades later on! Don’t frustrate yourself trying to make tricky (and possibly impossible!) jumps early on. If it seems like you can’t get it, you probably can’t–yet. Treasures are often best left for later if it’s not obvious how to get it.
Similarly, quests aren’t always possible the second you unlock them; be patient and progress the story if there’s not an obvious way to do it. Several quests in the first area are impossible at first. As far as I can tell (and as usual for Neptunia), there isn’t much of any missable content so don’t stress.
The maps can be slightly confusing to navigate at first, but there’s ingame maps to all the dungeons to make it easy, just press Select to see them.
The game has more elements and status effects (and resistances) than the usual Neptunia game; it’s closer to Final Fantasy 8 in that regard. Try to cover each element with at least one attack in your formation sets (once you have a full party that is).
Speaking of Final Fantasy, items have learnable Abilities like Final Fantasy 9, so keeping a wide variety of gear to slowly learn abilities will be strategically valuable.
Only Neptune is playable as your lead character. Sorry.
Press Select/equivalent to see enemies’ resistances mid-battle, you don’t have to try blindly to see what works. Speed up battles with L2, but you still have to input attack commands manually or you just get beat up really fast!
The game isn’t very hard, but save and make use of the sweet fast travel the save points offer.
Majorly WIP! There will be very minor spoilers as necessary to explain what to expect or do.
Muse Dash just launched on Nintendo Switch and Steam! It’s a surprisingly great Rhythm game (that even I can enjoy!) so I thought I’d share some useful information about the game in a guide! As always, feel free to comment below to add any tips, ask any questions, or just share what you think of the game!
Note of course this is a rhythm game and doing well mostly depends on your own skill. I can’t really give hands-on rhythm tutorials, so this focuses mostly on the objective informational side of the game.
Title: Muse Dash
Platform: iOS, Android, PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch
Release date: 2018-06-15 (Mobile), 2019-06-20 (PC/console)
Developer: Pero Pero Games
Price: $1 (iOS), $1.50 (Android) $3 (Steam), $30 (Nintendo Switch, all DLC included)
Season Pass DLC price: $30 (Steam), $21 (mobile)
File Size: ~600MB
Genre: Music/Rhythm Game
Muse Dash Version Differences
The versions of Muse Dash are slightly different, most notably the Mobile versions are a bit different from the PC and Switch versions.
Mobile versions have an option to manually trigger Fever. Oddly, the Switch version lacks this for now.
Switch version has separate Leaderboards
DLC varies by platform, same content, different distributions:
The Nintendo Switch version has no DLC and is sold as a single item
The PC Version is sold as a cheap base game with a single DLC unit of the current mobile DLC
The mobile version sells DLC piecemeal
Title Screen is different on Mobile and PC/Switch with unique art for each
Mobile versions include Cloud Save with Facebook, Google Play/iCloud, and XD account
The Steam version can import your score/progress from mobile; the Switch version cannot.
Mobile versions show X/100 progress on the level up bar, console versions only show a bar. XP per level is still the same.
The Switch version does not have DLC, all tracks are included in the base price.
The Steam version has a single DLC, which will include all future tracks in the single purchase price.
The Mobile version has piecemeal DLC or you can buy the same Season Pass as Steam, which gives all future packs for free.
I recommend getting the season pass if you like the game, it’s the best deal since you get future stuff free.
Which Version Is Best?
If you want to play on multiple platforms, Steam + Mobile is the best combo. Mobile is the native platform and lets you manually control Fever. If you already have it on Mobile and want to keep your progress but play with a controller, get Steam as Switch doesn’t have account import.
However the Switch version is the simplest, most complete way to get the game at once and offers nice control options, while still being portable and allowing touch and TV play. The only major downsides are the lack of manual fever (patch please!) and the lack of account connection. Switch version will get free DLC updates.
This is a guide for Tap Tap Fish – AbyssRium, with only the June Tropical Vacation Event (2019) information. See the main guide for a more comprehensive set of information. Feel free to add any of my guides to your homescreen for easy access, and offline loading of guides you’ve used (on supported devices)!
2019-08-12: They have again updated this event instead of making a new one, with more terrible gachapon and extremely high requirements. Added a new heading for the updates so you don’t have to hunt for the changes.
2019-06-28: Spotted Sunfish added, there’s a new non-hidden event fish added every friday for a while. Event lasts until the end of July.
2019-06-13: New “Hiding Fish” feature added; it’s part of this event. There are also new Fusion fish (not part of the event). IAP pig added.
Video guide for new features:
2019-05-31: Video Guide made! Updated total cost
2019-05-30: The update appears to be live but is likely a slow rollout like all of them. Added total cost (thanks Pufferfish Planet!). Added exact requirement for the frogo.
Neptunia Shooter has released, and finally we got that Pixel Art style Neptunia game every single Neptunia ending has left us wanting! It’s currently only on Steam for $5 ($4 on sale), and it’s an adorable easy-to-get-into shmup! As always, feel free to ask questions or submit any missing information in the Comments below, or just let everyone know what you think of the game!
I made this quick little guide since, well, I make all sorts of Hyperdimension Neptunia guides, and this one’s slightly confusing to start into due to how simple it is…and the main menu being Japanese for some reason. The game just came out so expect me to tidy this up and add info as I play.
Neptunia Shooter Game Info
Title: Neptunia Shooter / ネプシューター
Platform: PC Steam
Release date: 2019-05-22
Developer: Idea Factory International
Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up / STG
2019-05-23: Guide released. Added video of boss KO’s.
2019-05-22: Game released
Is the main menu seriously Japanese?
This is a bug as of the latest update, should be fixed soon. The items are Start, High Scores, and Edit Controls respectively.
What is it?
Neptunia Shooter is a tiny (it’s 24MB in size!) little Shoot ‘Em Up style side game in the Hyperdimension Neptunia series. It’s a pretty straight-forward game as a low-price side game, and thus doesn’t presently have any alternate modes or unlocks; just one main game mode almost entirely based on skill.
Pokemon Rumble Rush is out now! It’s a continuation of the Pokemon Rumble series, and is on Android and iOS. This is a very early work in progress guide I’ll be updating as I play, so check back often! There will be much more info soon. I’m also working on a Search Spreadsheet that you can contribute to!
As always, post in the comments if you have any questions, info to share, or just comments about the game! We’ll also likely be playing the game in our Discord Server.
2019-05-17: More info added to gameplay section. Method to find boss pokemon to catch detailed.
2019-05-16: Added a quick-facts video. Added IAP section detailing the IAPs, so you can find what they do with less digging than ingame. Note the Points/Dollar feature is completely wrong in the IAP menu. Created more spreadsheets to be added to mobile-friendly tables in the guide soon
Title: Pokemon Rumble Rush
(Pokemon Scramble SP in Japanese)
Official Site: Japanese
Platform: Android & iOS
Language: Japanese, English, German, French, Korean, Chinese, Spanish
Release date: 2019-05-15
Developer: The Pokemon Company
Price: Free to Play™ with IAP. No ads.
Genre: Beat ’em up
Filesize: 400 MB installed and updated
Cloud Save: Yes (must link to Nintendo Account)
Always Online: Yes, strictly
Gambling Element: ?
Battery Drain: High, with power save options
Pokemon Rumble Rush Quickstart Guide
Quick Facts Video Guide
Is it Kanto Pokemon only?
Long term, no, there are Johto and Alola pokemon shown in the official site. However, the first area of the game is Kanto only and it will likely be a bit of time before later generation pokemon appear. There aren’t even all 151 Kanto pokemon yet it appears.
What’s It Play Like?
It should be familiar if you’ve played a Pokemon Rumble series game before. In basic combat your pokemon automatically moves towards pokemon, and you can tap to attack or long press to charge a stronger attack.
You catch pokemon through a special Search feature, each search stage has specific pokemon to catch, and strength of Pokemon is determined by a Pokemon GO-esque system with the single CP stat for pokemon strength. Pokemon each have a single move, randomly selected from a list of possible moves when the pokemon is caught.
Does it have Nintendo Account features?
Yes, you can use your Mii (huzzah) and Cloud Save features by linking your Nintendo Account. Linking your Nintendo Account with Pokemon Rumble Rush is permanent. For most people, this isn’t a problem, but if you have more than one account, share accounts, etc, be mindful of it.
How Can I play it?
It’s currently regionally restricted for a region-test launch. It will likely release globally soon, between a week and a month. Despite being limited for the launch, the app includes multiple languages and will auto select one based on your devices country. You can’t manually pick a language.
If you’re in Australia, simply use the Google Play Store to download it. Outside of Australia, you’d have to either spoof your location (Google Play no longer allows changing Country without your IP address indicating you’ve moved countries).
There are Pokemon Rumble Rush APK links out there, but I can’t vouch for the validity of any and won’t link any here.
Oddly, it’s not out for iOS quite yet. It just launched in a test market, so the iOS version will likely be out soon, likely with the same temporary regional restriction.
It uses too much battery!
Go to the Menu, Options, Game Settings, and set the Graphics option to Power Saving. If that’s not enough, also reduce the Resolution (clarity of image) and Imaging Speed (framerate) in the More menu.