Pokémon Sun & Moon is set in the new region of Alola. It would be a very safe assumption that this region is heavily inspired by Hawaii, so similarly the region is made of several islands. Each island incorporates various environments from cities to jungles. I truly found this new region to be a welcome expanse to the Pokémon Universe.
Along with a new region comes a new take on some of the original Pokémon. While some entries added new evolutions and the Pokémon X&Y generation added Mega Evolutions. Sun & Moon brings us Alola forms. These are new variants on some of the most loved of the original Pokémon. I must say that this is actually quite a welcomed aspect. As much as I love some of the classic Pokémon I feel these new forms create a new interest in them. Having them learn new move sets and discovering it’s new evolutionary from makes having them in your party as exciting as any of the new Pokémon. It does a good job of mixing something familiar with something new. The quality of most of the Alola forms are decent. They seem to have put a good deal of thought into reimaging the original Pokémon into a just as appealing new one.
New, and even reinvented Pokémon haven’t always been on the mark. I found all additions on the Black and White generation generally appalling with little to no thought in the creation processes of the Pokémon. The mega evolutions weren’t as bad but I can say with a happy heart the Alola forms restore some of my confidence in Game Freak’s Pokémon creation processes.
The new generation of Pokémon, for the most part,continue in an impressive line-up of fun and interesting Pokémon that seem to sincerely fit within the Pokémon universe. One disappointment is overall the lack of new Pokémon. I feel they did try to make up for this with the addition of Alola forms but I was hoping to see a few more new creations, that said I’m glad they went with quality and not quantity.
The story, from afar, follows the usual direction of a Pokémon game. Sun/Moon certainly takes the most unique approach to date for a Pokémon game. There is still a weird Pokémon Professor and you still choose from one of three starting Pokémon but Pokémon Sun/Moon have completely scrapped the Gym Leaders and Gym Badge collection the series has become so well known for. The new path has the hero playing through Trials which don’t involve versing a Gym Leader but rather taking one Captains Trials and versing a Totem Pokémon. Totem Pokémon are quite powerful Pokémon that put up a good fight.
One of my complaints with the last few entries is the level of difficulty which I found to be incredibly easy to the point of wanting to stop despite my immense love for the franchise. This however, I am happy to say is not in any way the case with the Sun/Moon generation. I found that even with grinding and a slight incline to find a Pokémon with better IVs and a small amount of EV training I was still finding myself faced with a decent challenge.
A new Pokémon battle mechanic, specifically for wild Pokémon, is the ability to call for help and in so doing call forth another Pokémon despite not actually being a double battle. This I find to be both a good and bad thing. On the one hand it can both increase the chances of finding a shiny Pokémon and make EV training a bit easier on the other hand it makes trying to catch the Pokémon near impossible. I found it especially annoying if they ‘call for help’ every time you knockout the second Pokémon, which in some instances they do.
This partnership is what also makes the Totem Pokémon battles that more intense as I discovered they aren’t as dumb as the regular wild Pokémon either. I genuinely appreciated this and am glad to see Game Freaks newly found respect for the player as the previous game difficulties are almost an insult to players.
Another thing Game Freak are good at doing is completely forgetting the previous instalment and overhauling many of the smaller features. Well here again I am glad for it. Pokémon are usually left unattended and unloved in the PC. Well Sun/Moon lets us feel just a little less terrible about it by providing special Pokémon islands, called the Poké Pelago, where the Pokémon in the PC can run around happily. There are several isle variations to create and upgrade including a berry farm, caves that allows for item finding and places to do specific stat training. I found this system quite welcoming and balanced.
One of my favourite features that I am glad to see again is the Pokémon petting feature. It really lets the player feel that much more attached to their ultimate party of Pokémon. From the cute new Muk forms goofy smile to the seeing Pichu delight with an ear scratch, it takes the game closer to what the anime series is forever trying to carry across about relationships with the creatures being the most important thing.
Pokémon Sun/Moon is a fabulous rehash of reimagined old Pokémon, well created new Pokémon and just a great selection from the previous generations. It transforms the traditional Gym and Gym badges system into a new and still quite fun Trial system that brings a different experience to the Pokémon franchise. The new region is beautiful and a great addition to the universe. The difficulty has been set a level that provides a good challenge and one that I feel very engaged in. There are always a few odd additions but I feel the majority of new additions and forms are more a hit than miss and I can see myself losing many more hours in the wonderful world of Pokémon.
Released: November 2016
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
Genre: Adventure, Action
Developer: Game Freaks