10 things to know about the new Pokemon game

Surprise! Nintendo dropped a new mobile game, but Duel is nothing like Pokemon Go.

Alina Bradford CNET Contributor
Alina Bradford has been writing how-tos, tech articles and more for almost two decades. She currently writes for CNET's Smart Home Section, MTVNews' tech section and for Live Science's reference section. Follow her on Twitter.
Alina Bradford
3 min read

Nintendo quietly released a new Pokemon game for mobile devices January 24 named Pokemon Duel. Here are 10 things you should know about the new pocket monster game.

1. It's on iOS and Android

At first, many people were saying the game is only for Android, which isn't true. You can download it from iTunes or Google Play.

2. It's free, sort of

While the game is free to download and play, extras will cost you. Here's an example of some in-app purchases and prices:

  • 120 Gems: $1.99
  • 84 Gems + Booster: $4.99
  • 1,960 Gems: $79.99

Converted, 120 Gems would be about £1.60 or AU$2.60.

3. Once you've downloaded, you need to download some more

After you enter your birthdate and agree to the TOS, the game starts another download. This download can take a long time, so be prepared and do it while you're connected to Wi-Fi to save data. On my Wi-Fi this download took around 5 minutes.


Downloading...and downloading...

Alina Bradford/CNET

4. It's nothing like Pokemon Go

If I had to compare this game to anything, it would be Chinese checkers. It's a board game with the objective of moving all of your Pokemon into the rival's territory to reach your goal before your rival reaches the goal in your territory.


A Pokemon duel in progress.

Alina Bradford/CNET

5. It's a more traditional-style Pokemon game

This game is much more like Sun and Moon, Ruby, Diamond and the like. You talk to people in the game, there are cut scenes and there's a story. You're competing in the PFG (Pokemon Figure Games) World Championship to win a skyscraper.


One of the starting scenes in the game.

Alina Bradford/CNET

6. You're stuck being a boy

You are a boy in the game. For some this isn't a big deal, but if you like your avatars female, you're out of luck here. You do get to give your avatar a nickname, so there's that at least, and you get to change your skin color, hair color and hairstyle.

7. Starting off is easy

To get started, you get what is called a Duel Set. This is a starter pack of six Pokemon and three plates. You also get a mask to wear in the championship. It's apparently customary.

Then, you spin to decide who goes first. Each Pokemon in your Duel Set has a number of spaces it can move, but for your first move of the game, you can only go one space. After that, you just need to block your opponent while trying to get to your goal on the other side of the board.


A Duel Set

Alina Bradford/CNET

8. Battles abound

When you block your opponent, you get to battle to see who gets to continue. You spin the Attack Wheel to see what your play will be. If you lose, your Pokemon is sent to the Pokemon Center and is in a timeout. When three are in the Pokemon Center, the first one sent there gets to come back, but can't be used for one turn.

If you surround your opponent with Pokemon, you automatically win without battling. You can also use plates to unleash special moves on your opponent or to change your Pokemon's positions.


The Attack Wheel chooses your attack.

Alina Bradford/CNET

9. Win to boost your rating

When you win a game, your rating goes up. If you lose, your rating goes down. When you reach a rating of 1,200, you get a league promotion. When battling online, you are matched with other players who have a similar rating.

You also get Time Boosters when you win. These give you new Pokemon and other goodies that will help you in the game.

10. Train to be the best...and get stuff

The training center is where you can go to practice your skills and make your Pokemon better. If you win training matches, you not only improve your skills, you also can receive Pokemon, plates and gems.