Pokemon Masters could be the closest thing yet to a core Pokemon game on your phone

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Pokemon Masters, the new mobile game from the company behind Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes, looks like the closest thing you can get to a core Pokemon experience on your phone without emulating anything. The Pokemon Company and mobile publisher DeNA teamed up to reveal Pokemon Masters in an extended video that's one half action-packed anime intro and one half developer rundown of the game's trainer-centric concept.

Most Pokemon games are about catching ever more pocket monsters, but Pokemon Masters puts the emphasis on meeting up and facing off against other trainers. The game will star a broad selection of trainers from games past, including Brock and Misty from Pokemon Red/Blue, Cynthia from Diamond/Pearl, and Iris from Black/White. Each trainer forms a Sync Pair with one Pokemon (for example, Iris is always accompanied by her mighty Haxorus) and you'll make teams of Sync Pairs to compete in 3v3 battles across the new island setting of Pasio.

Pokemon Masters battles play out in real-time, unlike the turn-based standard of core Pokemon games, though different moves will use different amounts of your ever-filling move gauge. Further emphasizing the role of trainers are moves that let trainers themselves participate to heal their Pokemon or boost their stats, or pull off flashy Sync Moves for big damage. One such move that Pikachu and its trainer can pull off is called "Thunder of Newfound Passion", which is a fantastic name for a combat technique.

DeNA hasn't explained how it will make money off of Pokemon Masters yet, assuming it's free-to-play, but it's easy to visualize a gacha system that lets you pay for extra chances at pulling rare Sync Pairs (gotta get that Sabrina/Shiny Alakazam duo). Pokemon Masters will arrive in Summer 2019 on Android and iOS.

Want to save some money for those big gacha pulls? Don't sweat it, just check out our Amazon Prime Day game deals, or look to the future with our E3 video preview of Pokemon Sword and Shield.