Pokémon Unite: Controls Guide, How to Play, and Best Settings

Here’s what you need to know to get to grips with the free-to-play Pokémon MOBA that is Pokémon Unite on the Nintendo Switch and smartphones.

Pokémon Unite has made its debut on the Nintendo Switch hybrid console, with smartphone cross-play for iOS and Android devices on the way.

To help you get started in the Pokémon MOBA, this page details how to play the game, the Pokémon Unite controls, and the optimal settings for the gameplay.

Pokémon Unite default Nintendo Switch controls

ActionSwitch Controls
Switch Target(R)
Basic AttackA
Special Move 1R (sometimes press R again to confirm move)
Special Move 2ZR (sometimes press ZR again to confirm move)
Unite MoveZL (sometimes press ZL again to confirm move)
Cancel MoveB
ScoreX (hold)
Battle ItemsY
View Effects and DetailsR3
View MapL (hold), (R) to look around
Super Jump (on Base Pad)Down (activate aim), ZR (jump to spot)
Learn Move 1Left
Learn Move 2Right
To BaseDown
Open Menu+

In the Nintendo Switch controls for Pokémon Unite above, (L) and (R) represent the left and right analogue, L3 and R3 denote the buttons activated when you press the analogues. As for the d-pad buttons, they are shown as Up, Right, Left, and Down.

How to remap the Pokémon Unite controls

To remap the Pokémon Unite controls on Nintendo Switch, you need to:

  1. Go to the main screen of Pokémon Unite and press X to bring up the menu;
  2. Scroll down and select the Settings option;
  3. Select Button Settings from the sidebar;
  4. On the image of the controls map, move to the button that you want to remap;
  5. Press A and then select the new mapping from the options shown;
  6. Once you’re finished, press B to leave the screen.

If you ever want to return your remapped Pokémon Unite controls to the defaults, return to the Button Settings screen and press Y.

How to play Pokémon Unite

Pokémon Unite is a multiplayer online battle arena game (MOBA), with the gameplay being similar to the likes of Heroes of the Storm, League of Legends, and the lesser-known Guardians of Middle-earth.

The aim of the game is to enter into Unite Battles with a team, score goals in the opposition’s Goal Zones to destroy them, and continue to push toward the opposition’s Base within the time limit.

In between scoring goals, you’ll need to collect Aeos energy by defeating wild Pokémon and picking it up off of defeated opposing Pokémon. Wild Pokémon are dotted all over the arena, with the number above their HP bars indicating how much Aeos energy you’ll get for defeating each one.

Defeating wild Pokémon and opposition Pokémon will grant you Exp. Points, which can then evolve your Pokémon mid-battle and unlock new moves for it to use. Levelling up also increases your HP bar, and so all Pokémon throughout Unite Battles will be pushing to level-up quickly.

You’ll need to be mindful of how much Aeos energy that you have in your Unite Ball as it does have a cap. Also, the more energy that’s in it, the longer it’ll take to power up and score a goal (done by holding X in the Goal Zone). That said, the more energy that you score with, the more points of damage it’ll do to the Goal Zone.

This battle for Goal Zones takes place across a couple of lanes, and you need to oust the nearest Goal Zone before you can score in the next one along the lane. If you and your team are dominant enough, you’ll make it to the opposition’s Base to have a chance of winning the game before the timer expires.

Another key part of Pokémon Unite is defeating or holding back the opposition to defend your own Goal Zones. The best way to do this is to play to your Pokémon’s strengths and operate alongside complementary roles, always looking to get a numerical advantage where possible.

To defeat the opposing Pokémon, you’ll need to utilise your basic attacks, special moves, and your Unite Move when it becomes available. Both of your special moves have a small cooldown, but your Unite Move takes a lot longer to charge as it’s far more potent. So, it’s worth holding onto it for close contests or when you’re at a numerical disadvantage.

An important part of playing Pokémon Unite is knowing when to retreat. Not only will you run faster when in your own zones, but if you wait in your Goal Zones, you’ll recover HP. As such, defending while standing in your Goal Zone gives you an advantage. Furthermore, if you lose all of your HP, you’ll enter into a cooldown, will have to respawn at the Base, and will drop some Aeos energy, putting your team at a disadvantage.

When a Pokémon is charging up to score a goal, you can interrupt their attempt by attacking them, even with just a basic attack. Equally, they can interrupt your goal attempts, making it important to either sneak into the Goal Zone or defeat those in the way first. This also means that it’s not always best to stock up on Aeos energy before trying to score, as high-value goal attempts take longer to charge.

Some of your moves, particularly those from Support class Pokémon, will grant buffs, as will defeating certain special wild Pokémon. Those with a coloured ring or aura can give you perks like dealing more damage to low HP Pokémon, getting a shield for a short spell, and decreasing the movement speed of others by attacking them.

You’ll also encounter a boss Pokémon in the middle of the arena later into the game. It’ll be very strong, so you’ll need your whole team to converge on it, defeat it, and gain the almighty perks that it rewards, such as invincibility when going for goal. This can also be an excellent time to pick off opposing Pokémon that’re now focussed on defeating the boss.

As you can see, there’s a lot to Pokémon Unite despite the controls being easy fairly basic and easy to grasp. This is all before digging into the roles of each class, which we’ll cover in another article.

Best gameplay settings for Pokémon Unite

You can change your gameplay settings in the Controls section of the Settings menu. Tweak these to your liking, but this the setup below is what we’ve found to be the most useful:

  • Opponent Lock-On Priority: Lowest Remaining HP (Value)
  • Attack Controls: Advanced Controls
  • Automatic Basic Attacks: On
  • Boosted Attack Gauge: On
  • Lock-On Icon: On
  • In-Motion Pursuit Distance: Standard
  • In-Motion Pursuit Mode: Off
  • Scoring Controls: Hold Button Down
  • Camera Follows Moves: Off
  • Move Aim Follows Movement Direction: Off
  • Move Aim Snaps to Nearby Targets: On
  • Mini-map Position: Top Left of Screen (Default)
  • Move Learning Controls: Single Button
  • Mini-map Hidden: 25%
  • Mini-map Shown: 40%
  • Aim Assist: Sensitivity Assist (leave as defaults)

The Aim Assist settings will be where most players differ, with some who’re new to the genre perhaps preferring a greater amount of Aim Assist. If you’d like total control of your aim, only attacking where you’re pointing, change the option to Assist Off.

Those are the Pokémon Unite controls that you need to know to get started in the new free-to-play title. The smartphone release of Pokémon Unite is due to be released in September 2021, at which point, we’ll add the mobile controls for Pokémon Unite to this article.






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