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Pokémon UNITE currently features a roster of 21 playable characters, with more DLC characters on the way. Players will have to unlock the majority of characters by buying their Unite Licenses with one of two in-game currencies: Aeos Coins or Aeos Gems. Aeos Coins are obtained by participating in Unite Battles, while Aeos Gems must be purchased with real-world money.

However, players can unlock some of the characters without spending either currency by simply playing the game or completing in-game missions. Here’s how to unlock every character in the Nintendo Switch version of Pokémon UNITE for free.

Free characters in Pokémon UNITE

Upon starting the game, players will choose between one of five starter Pokémon. They will receive the Unite License for this Pokémon, allowing them to instantly unlock the character for free. The five starter options are Pikachu, Charizard, Snorlax, Talonflame and Eldegoss. After picking one of these, players can only unlock the other four with Aeos Coins or Gems.

Zeraora is a free unlockable character for anyone who loads up Pokémon UNITE before Aug. 31. Players can claim Zeraora by going to the Mail section of the main menu and clicking on the character’s Unite License in the Launch Bonus message.

Pokémon UNITE main menu.
The Pokémon UNITE menu screen to navigate towards Mail. | Provided by Pokémon UNITE
Pokémon UNITE Mail screen.
The Pokémon UNITE Mail screen. | Provided by Pokémon UNITE

Players can gain access to two more Unite Licenses simply by taking part in battles and finishing challenges to raise their Trainer Level. At Level 2, players will unlock Slowbro. In addition, they will unlock Venusaur at Level 5.

Another three Pokémon are accessible through the 14-Day Welcome Gifts that players can obtain during their first two weeks of playing the game. Players will unlock Alolan Ninetales on Day 2, Cinderace on Day 8 and Greninja on Day 14.

Finally, Crustle’s Unite License appears as an unlockable item in the Beginner Challenge. However, Crustle is the final prize available for players to claim through this in-game challenge. As a result, players must complete all of the missions for all seven days of the challenge before they will gain access to Crustle.

How to obtain the other playable Pokémon

All of the remaining characters in Pokémon UNITE can be obtained for free by grinding the game and receiving enough Aeos Coins to purchase their Unite Licenses. Of course, it will take a long time to accrue enough Coins to obtain every single character. For this reason, some players may choose to bite the bullet and buy the characters with Aeos Gems.

Below are the costs for every Unite License in both Aeos Coins and Aeos Gems:

  • Pikachu: 6,000 Coins / 345 Gems
  • Charizard: 6,000 Coins / 345 Gems
  • Snorlax: 6,000 Coins / 345 Gems
  • Talonflame: 6,000 Coins / 345 Gems
  • Eldegoss: 6,000 Coins / 345 Gems
  • Slowbro: 6,000 Coins / 345 Gems
  • Venusaur: 8,000 Coins / 460 Gems
  • Alolan Ninetales: 8,000 Coins / 460 Gems
  • Cinderace: 8,000 Coins / 460 Gems
  • Crustle: 8,000 Coins / 460 Gems
  • Wigglytuff: 8,000 Coins / 460 Gems
  • Cramorant: 8,000 Coins / 460 Gems
  • Machamp: 8,000 Coins / 460 Gems
  • Mr. Mime: 8,000 Coins / 460 Gems
  • Gardevoir: 8,000 Coins / 460 Gems
  • Greninja: 10,000 Coins / 575 Gems
  • Lucario: 10,000 Coins / 575 Gems
  • Gengar: 10,000 Coins / 575 Gems
  • Absol: 10,000 Coins / 575 Gems
  • Garchomp: 10,000 Coins / 575 Gems