Written by Thomas Dore.
Pokémon Sun and Moon is the newest installment in a franchise that has been going so long that my spellchecker keeps putting that little accent above the e. As with all the previous games it adds new features and creatures into the Pokémon gaming universe and changes up some old ones, but for all intents and purposes, is still the same game that any fan of the Pokémon games will love, barring Pokémon Go.
Set on the tropical islands of Alola (Hawaii) the player finds themselves once again mute, fatherless and thrown into a series of challenges set to test them and their partner Pokémon’s power, with the help of the ever shirtless professor Kukui and friends Lillie and Hau.
Gym leaders are a thing of the past, being replaced by trial captains and trials. These aren’t always battles and often involve fetching items and returning them to the trial captain, at which point you have to battle against a Totem Pokémon. An example would be the Alolan Raticate with boosted defence.
While the game has introduced 81 brand new species of Pokémon, some of which are well-designed and exciting to use, others are Pikachu clones that you’ll catch only for them to sit in your box and wonder-trade to unsuspecting victims.
Alola forms have been introduced – old Pokémon with new typing and designs. Most notable is the Alolan Exeggutor which is now a grass and dragon type (weird right?) and 36 feet tall.
Gameplay is largely unchanged. However, the difficulty level seems to have been taken up a notch, which is a welcome change as I’m sure most people will agree the difficulty of trainers and gym leaders had taken a plunge. Other changes include the introduction of Poké Ride, a very welcome change as it’s led to the removal of HM moves. No more will you have to teach your starter Pokémon the almost useless Cut in order to bypass small bushes. The new Z moves are available once you have unlocked the relevant Z-Crystal by completing Island Trials or being gifted them through side missions. They allow any move of the relevant type to be upgraded, dealing extra damage.
The game progresses fairly slowly through the story but disappointingly this is mostly down to the amount of cut scenes that you have to endure. They seem to take up a large portion of the game and it starts to feel like a soap opera complete with runaway children, neglectful mothers and there’s even some industrial espionage thrown in there.
The Short Version: Pokémon sun and Moon is a must buy for faithful fans of the game and would be the perfect gift for a younger gamer. However, I don’t feel it’s quite enough to knock Omega Ruby or Alpha Sapphire from the top spot. The cut scenes and story weren’t engaging enough for my liking but the battles felt challenging enough to keep my 3DS charged.
- It’s a new Pokémon game
- The Alola forms are spot on
- Battles feel challenging and leveling up feels like an accomplishment
- Professor Kukui’s abs
- Cut scenes are too long and too often
- Most of the new Pokémon designs feel lazy
Written by Thomas Dore