Pokémon Sun & Moon

Gaming gamingnews news Reviews Saskia Slider
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I am incapable of rushing through Pokémon games. I have been playing for almost a week and I’m only on the second island. I really do have to ‘catch em all’ no matter how long it takes or how low the % chance of the specific Pokémon showing up in the area is! Which is why it’s also essential to have a friend who has the opposite game to you – then you can trade to get Sun or Moon specific Pokémon as well as Pokémon that come out at night while you’re playing during the day or visa versa (Pokémon Sun and Moon run 12 hours apart from each other).

When you first start up the game there is an almost painful amount of hand-holding as you are walked through the basics and introduced to a bunch of new characters. Don’t worry! It will soon be a distant memory as you really get into your Pokémon journey. I also realized the lengthy amount of ‘tutorial’ at the beginning is necessary for bringing a whole new generation of Pokémon lovers into the fold (some people have never played a Pokémon game before – crazy I know!), especially those who have jumped on the train thanks to the Pokémon Go hype.

As per usual, I agonized over my starter Pokémon choice. Rowlet, Litten or Popplio. I ended up choosing Rowlet due to a number of factors:

  1. Litten’s final evolution has a flame-throwing crotch move (too distracting :P)
  2. Popplio looks like a clown
  3. I’m a crazy bird lady

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Ok! Let’s talk deets!

For a very refreshing change, Sun and Moon takes place in an entirely new region that isn’t quite like anything we’ve seen in the Pokémon universe before –  The Alola Region. Made up of four islands (which I have only visited 2 of so far), and obviously based on Hawaii, the vibe is very different from the previous games. Professor Kukui is a great example of the totally laid-back Alolan atmosphere. Almost always shirtless, friendly and pretty hilarious, he’s a welcome change from the professors I’ve grown accustomed to in these games (there is also a whole bunch of fan art already floating around). Your ‘rival’ actually seems more keen to hang out and have a lol then actually win Pokémon battles and even the bad guys, Team Skull, are basically just puffed up teen goofballs. Sun & Moon wants to show you a good time and give you a decent laugh rather then awaken the dark, rabid, competitive streak that lies deep within you.

Ooo lala! Professor Kukui!

Ooo lala! Professor Kukui!

There are some significant and very welcome changes to the gameplay this time round! No longer are you training up for gym battle after gym battle to finally have a showdown with the elite four. In Sun & Moon it’s all about island trials (one main trial for each island which can be split into several smaller trials on one island). These can vary greatly in task and aren’t all focused on battles! I’ve only completed two so far and don’t really want to give much away about the gameplay specifics – you need to grab a copy yourself to find out! The new style means that the game story is less about powerful trainers and more about powerful Pokémon and the relationship between Pokémon and the island inhabitants.

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Another major change is the lack of HMs! They’re gone-skis! Don’t worry though! It’s actually an awesome change. I used to get sick of having to carry around Pokémon in my party purely for the useful HMs. Now you have access to all the classic HMs you need thanks to Poke Ride! So far I have only unlocked Tauros’ charge ability (Rock Smash), Lapras’ Paddle (Surf) and Stoutland’s Search (item finder), but it’s so much better having them as a separate function from my main Pokémon Party.

Z-moves are another new feature introduced in Sun & Moon. I haven’t used them much yet because I only have the Z-crystals for Normal and Water moves – none of which really feature in my party at this stage. Basically each time you defeat a trial captain they will hand over Z-crystals to equip your Pokémon with. These enable the Z-Moves which are basically powered up moves based on the ‘type’ of crystal (normal, water, fire etc). As I haven’t played around with them much at this point I’m not 100% sure they’re a necessary addition…but will let you know when I’ve got some thoughts on them!

Battles have changed in a couple of significant ways. Wild Pokémon can now ‘call for help’, which can be extremely irritating. Basically this means that while you’re battling them, on top of their usual move turn, they can now call for help and it’s very likely another Pokémon of the same kind or even it’s evolved form might show up to the party. This can happen unlimited times and you can’t catch a Pokémon while you’re facing more than one. I have been stuck in so many endless battles where I knock out one Pokémon only to have the remaining one I’m about to catch successfully call for help in the same breath and an endless cycle develop. It can be…frustrating. Yes. Let’s go with frustrating. A welcome change for people with terrible memories like me is that now when you’re battling a Pokémon you’ve battled before, under each move it tells you whether they’re “super effective”, “effective”, “not very effective” to help you work out which Types work best against each other!

Pokémon Sun & Moon manages to create a new kind of Pokémon experience while still staying true to the essence of the classic games. It will awaken a new passion for Pokémon in those of us who have started to grow tired of the same formula being re-hashed time and time again and attract a brand new audience who have a bright Pokemon future ahead of them. Basically I love this game so far. I love it a lot.

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