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What is Pokémon Duel? The new iOS/Android strategy game explained

What is Pokemon Duel, how can I download it onto my iPhone or Android mobile, how do you play and are there any in-app purchases? Here’s everything you need to know about the new Pokemon mobile game, set to keep our thumbs busy in 2017.

On January 24 2017, The Pokémon Company casually dropped Pokémon Duel into the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for unsuspecting Pokémon fans to discover. Unlike the furore surrounding Pokémon GO, this was a hush-hush launch that nevertheless delivers a new and exciting mobile gaming experience, set within the Pokémon universe.

So what is Pokémon Duel, how do you play it and do we have any tips and tricks? You’ve come to the right place. Here’s our full Pokemon Duel review, and check out our Pokemon Duel tips and tricks for a helping hand.

Read next: Pokemon Go tips and tricks for beginners, and advanced Pokemon Go tips and tricks

What is Pokémon Duel?

Pokémon Duel is a turn-based strategy game for iOS and Android devices that has you taking control of a team of six Pokémon figures. You must manoeuvre these figures across a virtual board with the intention of reaching your opponent’s goal, whilst also defending your own.

Take a step back, what’s a Pokémon?

Pokémon are fictional creatures… wait a minute, we already covered this in detail last year following the launch of Pokémon GO. You can find out exactly what the origins of Pokémon are there, but the TLDR version is that it’s the name of an insanely popular TV show/game franchise that started in the 90s and went on to seed all manner of sequels, merchandise and spin-offs, the latest of which is Pokémon Duel for iOS and Android.

How can I download Pokémon Duel?

iOS users (that is, those with iPhones and iPads) can download the game by opening the App Store on their device of choice and searching ‘Pokemon Duel’.

Android users can get the game in the same fashion, via the Google Play Store application.

To ensure you’re not being duped by a rogue app, make sure that the title you’re downloading is developed by The Pokémon Company. That’s the legit version of Pokémon Duel. The game is free to download and play, which is great news for any younger Pokémon fans who’ve already blown their pocket money.

Why isn’t Pokémon Duel working for me?

The game requires an active internet connection at all times to play, so make sure you have a large mobile data allowance or a reliable WiFi connection before you open the game.

If you want to play Pokémon Duel on the go but you don’t have much data, you can try connecting to a safe public network. For instance, the likes of O2 and The Cloud offer free internet connectivity across the UK.

How to play Pokémon Duel

Pokémon Duel looks to strike a nice balance of easy to learn, difficult to master turn-based strategy gameplay.

The story is so thin it’s virtually transparent, as you might expect, but Pokémon fans most likely won’t give so much as a Pikachu turd once the spangly animations kick in. Essentially you play as one of many entrants into the Pokémon Figure Game World Championships, the grand prize of which isn’t your usual wussy oversized cheque, but an actual skyscraper called the Jewel Tower. Good luck getting that on your mantelpiece.

As we said before, the aim of Pokémon Duel is to reach your opponent’s goal before they reach yours. You and your rival each have a team of six Pokémon figures, while the board has just 28 spaces – so your battleground is nice and compact, meaning there’s nowhere to hide.

Each figure packs their own attributes including special attacks and a special ‘type’, as well as the number of steps they can make across the board per go.

Should one of your figures land on a space adjacent to an opponent’s figure (or vice versa), a battle will ensue, the outcome of which is governed by any attacks successfully pulled off when spinning the data disk interface which shows up on-screen relative to your Pokémon figure.

As you progress through Pokémon Duel, you can collect new Pokémon figures boasting sexy new attacks, to give you a greater chance of success. You can also augment the data disks of your best figures by fusing them with other Pokémon figures that you’re not using, to increase the wee blighter’s power, accuracy and so on.

Tactics of course play a key part in the game – you can’t just storm your enemy like a mentalist and expect to emerge victorious.

For example, Pokémon Duel sneaks in a crafty tactic called ‘surrounding’. if you’re able to place two of your figures on either side of an opponent’s, this immediately sends their figure to the Pokémon centre for three moves. Kind of like the sin bin in ice hockey, except that no one has their teeth smashed out first. They’ll then be unplayable for the next three turns, after which they can then return to play.

Meanwhile, Plates are additional abilities that you can place on the board to affect the flow of battle; by boosting the attacks of certain figures with certain typing or by gaining new strategic options like being able to swap around two of your figures on the board, on the fly.

Check back soon for our in-depth Pokémon Duel tips and tricks guide, to help you conquer every battle!

What different game modes are there in Pokémon Duel?

Aside from the game’s main single-player experience, played against a computer AI, you also get a League Match mode. This pairs you with similarly skilled human opponents, for a proper multi-player battle.

Winning a match in League Match mode grants you ‘boosters’, which can cumulatively work towards unlocking new Pokémon figures. So well worth doing, then, even if you hate other people.

Are there any in-app purchases in Pokémon Duel?

Throughout the game you’ll gather shiny gems, which serve as Pokémon Duel’s in-game currency. These allow you to buy all kinds of stuff, unlocking more powerful characters to boost your chances of winning.

You can buy more gems at any time from the in-game shop using actual real-life money, if you can’t be bothered to pick them up from battles. However, the game itself highlights the fact that it can be completed without paying a penny, despite this quick-win option.

Read next: What is Pokémon GO? The new AR mobile game explained


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