Pokemon Masters Review (Soft Launch)

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.

janine & Ariados pokemon masters
Yep, it’s Gachapon

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

pokemon masters combat
Ingame battle

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.

Little Story, Lots of Personality

Continue reading “Pokemon Masters Review (Soft Launch)”

Pokemon Masters Guide, Strategy & All Sync Pairs List

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!

Support Sir TapTap on Patreon!

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.

Updates

Pokemon Masters Game Info

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

Events

Rock Type Training

Trash

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.

How Does Pokemon Masters play?

Continue reading “Pokemon Masters Guide, Strategy & All Sync Pairs List”

Pokémon Rumble Rush Guide – Quick Start & Event Info

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.

Updates

Pokemon Rumble Rush Game Info

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.

Android

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.

iOS

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.

Gameplay

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Pokecord: Discord Pokemon Game Guide & Command List

My Discord Server started playing Pokecord and it’s not exactly well documented, so I thought I’d make a guide with basics and commands to help people get going!

The game has several undocumented commands not listed in the official command list on their website, so check out the full(er?) list here!

Updates

2019-05-13: Found an Evolution Spreadsheet since many pokemon have non-standard evolutions in Pokecord.

2019-05-08: Thanks to @DocSigma for pointing out the undocumented p!shrink command! Added it to the list

2019-05-03: Pokecord now has a “real” pokedex and a 50 credit reward for pokemon caught after this update. Use p!collection to see the “old” pokedex. Updated the command list.

Pokecord Basics

How Pokecord works is it pulls Pokemon data from Bulbapedia. Each pokemon has base stats, IVs, a Nature, Moves, and can potentially be Shiny (presumably at the standard astronomically low rate).

Pokemon can be traded and fought (1 v 1), and there’s no penalty for losing a fight and no reason not to catch or trade anything. There’s no winning or losing the game, so you can play as casually or intensely as you like.

Pokecord isn’t a perfect Pokemon clone however. Some important points to note: Pokemon do not have teams or abilities in Pokecord (right now). Your ability to earn money is limited to dueling (a pittance), voting for Pokecord daily on Discord Bots (kinda…icky), or selling pokemon on the ingame market (which is pretty weird).

Where To Play Pokecord

You can play on any Discord server that has Pokecord enabled. You can either invite the bot to your own server, join our server (we’re well moderated!), or join the official pokecord server (expect catching spawns to be incredibly competitive).

Spawns seem to be a combination function of time and how many messages posted, meaning a more active server means more pokemon—but also more competition to catch those pokemon. On fast, popular servers, mobile users have a pretty strong disadvantage compared to keyboard users.

Quickstart

Once the bot is in your server, pokemon will start to spawn based on time and number of posts. Type p!start to get started, then p!pick (starter name) to select a starter.

When a pokemon appears, the first to correctly p!catch it gets it. There’s no limit to how many pokemon you can get, so there’s no reason (other than politeness) to not catch a pokemon. In a server with friends, consider letting other players catch pokemon you already have (alternately, catch them and trade them to who wants them for free).

It helps to add all pokemon you’re planning to duel with to your favorites list, so you don’t have to go through the whole pokemon list every time. Pokemon are always referenced by number not name in commands, so this will help you find the numbers quickly.

Pokemon level just by chatting in a server with Pokecord active; only your active pokemon gets experience this way though, so be sure to p!select who you want to raise. Without an Everstone (in p!shop), Pokemon that can evolve via level will automatically evolve at that level with no cancel prompt.

Duels are very buggy but there is no harm in losing, so do them as much as you want. See the Duel Commands section below for pitfalls.

What’s Missing/Different In Pokecord

As far as I can tell these are the major differences/omissions from Pokecord

  • Teams/battles for more than 1v1 pokemon
  • Status/stat changing moves do not work at all
  • Pokemon gender, meaning some evolutions are presumably random? and some moves likely do not work
  • You can’t cancel evolutions manually, you must buy and hold an everstone
  • Held items only exist for evolving or preventing evolution
  • Abilities are also completely omitted
  • There is no breeding of pokemon
  • Mega Evolutions work differently and are semi-permanently activated out of battle. Use p!mega to toggle Mega Evolution state rather than having them hold the stone in battle.
  • Aside from selling pokemon (Team Rocket, anyone?) there’s no effective way to get money at a reasonable scale
  • Any pokemon can be a random spawn, including baby pokemon, legendary pokemon, starters, and evolved forms that aren’t usually available.

Competitive Gameplay

Continue reading “Pokecord: Discord Pokemon Game Guide & Command List”

Pokemon Quest Recipe Guide

Recipes in Pokemon Quest are one of the most important (and initially, most confusing) aspects of the game. They’re the primary way of getting new pokemon, and without the right recipe you just can’t get some pokemon. So here I’ve compiled the basic recipes, how to make them, and some supporting info to help get you going!

The information in this guide should apply 100% to both mobile (iOS and Android) and Nintendo Switch versions of the game, though I primarily play on Mobile.

If this guide’s successful (and I keep playing the game) I’ll look into making other guides for the game. I started with just this one since I find myself always having to look it up anyway. As always, feel free to comment to ask questions or point out new info!

Basic Recipe Info

Recipes are the primary way of getting new pokemon in Pokemon Quest so it’s important to understand how they work to get what you want and avoid wasting materials.

Higher quality materials attract rarer pokemon but take more turns/expeditions to complete; early on you should focus on low-quality recipes to quickly fill out your common pokemon list and keep a steady flow of new pokemon and not worry too much about rare ingredients.

Note that higher-evolutions are never obtained through recipes, you’ll always get basic pokemon. Pokemon in Pokemon Quest appear to always evolve via level-up rather than other conditions. (Not sure about Eevee yet).

Pokemon Quest Recipes List

Note Rainbow Matter can generally be substituted for recipes to raise their quality level.

  • 1 Mulligan Stew à la Cube
    • Cost: Any combination that doesn’t match another recipe
    • Effect: Attracts a few specific pokemon
  • 2 Red Stew à la Cube
    • Cost: 4 Red ingredients
    • Effect: Attracts reddish pokemon
  • 3 Blue Soda à la Cube
    • Cost: 4 Blue
    • Effect: Attracts bluish pokemon
  • 4 Yellow Curry à la Cube
    • Cost: 4 Yellow
    • Effect: Attracts yellowish pokemon
  • 5 Grey Porridge à la Cube
    • Cost: 4 Grey
    • Effect: Attracts greyish pokemon
  • 6 Mouth Watering Dip à la Cube
    • Cost: 4 Soft 1 Blue
    • Effect: Attracts water-type pokemon
  • 7 Plain Crepe à la Cube
    • Cost: 3 Sweet 2 Grey
    • Effect: Attracts water-type pokemon
  • 8 Sludge Soup à la Cube
    • Cost: 4 Mushroom 1 Soft
    • Effect: Attracts water-type pokemon
  • 9 Mud Pie à la Cube
    • Cost: 2 Mineral 3 Soft
    • Effect: Attracts ground-type pokemon
  • 10 Veggie Smoothie à la Cube
    • Cost: 4 Plant 1 Soft
    • Effect: Attracts grass-type pokemon
  • 11 Honey à la Cube
    • Cost: 4 Sweet 1 Yellow
    • Effect: Attracts bug-type pokemon
  • 12 Brain Food à la Cube
    • Cost: 3 Sweet 2 Hard
    • Effect: Attracts psychic-type pokemon
  • 13 Stone Soup à la Cube
    • Cost: 4 Hard, 1 Mineral
    • Effect: Attracts rock-type pokemon
  • 14 Light-as-Air Casserole à la Cube
    • Cost: 3 Mineral, 2 Red
    • Effect: Attracts flying-type pokemon
  • 15 Hot Pot à la Cube
    • Cost: 3 Mushroom 2 Red ingredients
    • Effect: Attracts fire-type pokemon
  • 16 Watt a Risotto à la Cube
    • Cost: 4 Soft 1 Yellow ingredients
    • Effect: Attracts electric-type pokemon
  • 17 Get Swole Syrup à la Cube
    • Cost: 3 Sweet 2 Mushroom ingredients
    • Effect: Attracts fighting-type pokemon
    • I swear it’s actually called this
  • 18 Ambrosia of Legends à la Cube
    • Cost: 4-5 Mystical Ingredients
    • Effect: Attracts Legendary pokemon
      • Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos, Mewtwo and Mew are only available from this

Even if you don’t necessarily want pokemon of a specific recipe, I’d recommend going down the list and completing one of each recipe as one of your first tasks ingame. This not only completes your recipe book ingame for easy reference, but you get some rewards for completing Challenges as well.

Note that some combinations meet the requirements of multiple recipes, if this is the case the result is the lowest number from the list that it satisfies (not counting Mulligan stew).

In-Depth Recipe Info

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Pokemon Global Mission: Island Scan Guide

Another Pokemon Sun/Moon global mission is upon us! I’ve gathered together a set of QR codes to let you Island Scan as fast as possible (mostly because these weren’t in one place and I’d rather only have one bookmark).

Before you start note you have to talk to the Hula Lady inside the festival Plaza next to the PC to activate the mission for yourself! I don’t know if your scans will count if you don’t register like this! Also be sure to go online (GTS, wondertrade, link trade) once in a while to “game sync” your progress. Since this is a Nintendo product, naturally none of that happens automatically.

The QR Codes

For those of us who know what we’re doing, here’s a set of 5 QR codes you can scan to most quickly get your island scans. After you get 100 points and do a scan you can scan these again, so you only need to scan these 5 codes if you only want to island scan. You can’t stock more than 100 scan points, so scan immediately after hitting 100.

These should all still work even after the event just to get island scans. If you don’t know what an Island Scan is, see the next section.

Special QR codes for this event (20 points)

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