In a way, no other game has been able to push its players to “be the very best like no one ever was” quite like Nintendo’s “Pokémon”, most especially its Niantic-developed mobile game spin-off “Pokémon GO”. Its July 2016 release, as many still interested wouldn’t tire of reminding everyone anytime soon, it became a phenomenal sensation that got introvert shut-ins and autistics to go outdoors, inspire total strangers to talk to each other on the street, and usher a momentary frenzy for fitness with how much walking playing the game implies. It wasn’t a perfect experience though – some of the features from the original teaser (trade, duel) have yet to be implemented to this day.

But a new Pokémon-themed app game released recently may tide over those still waiting for the seemingly-forgotten promises, though unlike its brother, there’s no going outside involved.

Team battle

The new “Pokémon Duel” app game (called “Pokémon Co-Master” in Japan) is now available for download on both iOS App Store and Android’s Google Play. Not like “Pokémon Go” or even “Pokémon Shuffle”, a puzzle game in the vein of Candy Crush or Bejeweled, “Pokémon Duel” is a strategy game played against other gamers online. Players build a team of six Pokémon (like in the classic games) represented by figurines akin to board game pieces; and it does play out on a board with the player’s side and the opponent’s side.

The main objective of a “Pokémon Duel” match is to move one’s Pokémon pieces to the opponent’s side of the game board while preventing his own Pokémon from advancing by battling them using a random spinning wheel choosing the moves of two clashing creatures to determine a winner.

Aside from this board game approach, Nintendo’s “Pokémon Duel” offers some nifty customization options for the Pokémon a player takes into a match, like altering its move list as used in the random-number style of battling in the game.

And remember that the game format is matches with other players, so there’s sure to be a ranking system in place as well, and a “freemium” marketplace for games who’re willing to pay to power up.

Chances of success

Now the idea of battling with Pokémon against other players on the go has been a teased feature for the more established “Pokémon Go”, but has never been delivered by the folks at Niantic.

This separate game app from Nintendo may whet those appetites, but it’s more likely that “Pokémon Duel” will cater more to the dedicated gamer fans rather than the inclusive casual crowd drawn together by “Go" last year. Time will tell if “Duel” can thrive or fizzle out with the same lack of fanfare as its release.