Image via The Pokémon Company/Nintendo

I can’t say anyone I know was exactly clamoring for a Pokémon-themed MOBA, but hey, no one asked for Heroes of the Storm, and people love that game, so maybe Pokémon UNITE will end up surpassing everyone’s expectations. Of course, if you have doubts, you can give the game’s beta version a swing to get a feel for its general game-feel. Here’s how you can get into the Pokémon UNITE open beta.

Now, let me preface this with a spot of bad news: for reasons beyond my understanding, this first open beta will only be available to residents of Canada, and of them, only Android users. I couldn’t tell you why; neither The Pokémon Company nor TiMi Studios are based in Canada. I guess it’s a mystery we’ll just have to live with. Anyway, if you’re lucky enough to live in Canada, use an Android phone, and are at least 16 years of age, you can participate freely in the Pokémon UNITE open beta. There’s no cost or waiting list, you can just download it when it’s available.

How to Get Into the Pokémon UNITE Beta

The beta period is slated to begin some time in March, though we don’t have a concrete date just yet. Whenever it does begin, you can register by downloading the beta app from the Google Play Store. Once again, in order to register, you’ll need to be living in Canada and be at least 16 years old. Once you’re registered, you’re free to play for the duration of the beta period, though remember that any progress you make on your profile will not carry over into the game’s full release.

As an additional note, the game’s notes on its Play Store page advise you to employ a phone with at least 3 GB of RAM that’s running at least Android version 5.0 OS. These recommended specs are subject to change as the beta period advances.

If you absolutely, positively NEED to play this game outside of Canada, you can shift your Google Play Store’s region by using a VPN to spoof a Canadian IP address. If you do that, you can switch to the Candian Play Store from your settings menu. However, I would not advise this, as you are only permitted to change your Play Store’s region once a year, so you wouldn’t be able to leave the Canadian Play Store until 2022. There’ll probably be a US beta at some point, so it might be better to be patient here.