In case you missed it (which you probably have) The Pokémon Company unleashed Pokémon Duel, a mobile game avaliable in Japan for close to a year, upon a western audience today.
Let us ignore the game proper at the moment and discuss the release mechanic. There was no indication that it was going to be released today or even at all in the west. There was no fanfare, no sign of it in the App Store front page, nothing. I even checked the free charts and nope, nothing. I assume TPCi was going for word-of-mouth but, despite the fame of the IP, it seemingly hasn’t caught on.
Now to the game. It is a turn-based strategy not unlike chess with the objective to make it to a panel at the other player’s side. If two figures come face-to-face, they are to battle. Both players spin for a move and the strongest one hits. One may use “plates” to enhance move or field effects and it is possible for the virtual figures used to play to level up. Pieces may also be surrounded by two opponent Pokémon, causing them to faint without any need for a battle. Fainted figures are sent to a Pokémon Centre and cannot be reused for the duration of the battle. From the one game I played it appears that only one panel is needed to be occupied to win, which seems a bit underwhelming particularly as this is not a children’s game but an easy-to-get-into-hard-to-master strategy.
I shall formulate a more concrete opinion as I play more, but it appears to be a recipe for failure. Are they seriously trying to harm the hot Pokémon property through this and the endless cutscene fest of Sun/Moon?