Pokémon Sun and Moon Review – Welcome to the Beautiful Alola Region

Pokémon Sun and Moon Game Review

Game Name: Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon

Platform: Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo 2DS 

Game Style: RPG & Battle

Maker: The Pokémon Company & Game Freak Inc.

Release Date: November 18, 2016

Retail Price: $39.99

Cheapest Place To Buy: Amazon.com

Overall Rank: 9 out of 10Pokemon Sun and Moon

Whether you are a die hard Pokémon fan and have been playing the games since the beginning, or if you are just joining the Pokémon craze now, you might have heard about Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon.

You might be wondering what all the fuss is about, and if the game is even worth trying. If you are, then I have something that may help you decide if you want to give this game a go. I will go over all the features of this game in my Pokémon Sun and Moon review, including the good and the bad aspects of the game.

Pokémon Sun and Moon have a bunch of new features, but it also has a lot of great qualities that are familiar from previous Pokémon games. It’s not so drastically different that you forget that you are playing Pokémon, but it isn’t the same old story line and mechanics of all the prior games. The changes are enjoyable enough and they don’t ruin the nostalgia effect for those of us that have been playing Pokémon since we were kids.

Pokémon Sun and Moon take place in a new region called Alola. This tropical paradise is based off of the island of Hawaii in the USA. There are multiple islands that you can travel to that each have their own unique feel and landscape. Each island holds its own specific Pokémon and tasks to complete so you can continue on to the next island.

Pokemon Sun and Moon Review

The game starts off pretty much as they all do. You have just moved to a new area and into a new house. You take a break from unpacking and explore your new surroundings eagerly. You meet a few of the locals and they all introduce themselves and welcome you to the Alola region with a huge smile.

You all know the next part, if you have ever played Pokémon before. That’s right! You finally get to meet the three starter Pokémon of the Alola region and choose one as your first Pokémon. Pretty exciting stuff! This may be one of the hardest parts of the game for many people. I know it is for me. It takes me a while to decide which starter Pokémon I want to take and battle with throughout the entire game.

The three starters are Rowlet, Litten and Popplio. Rowlet is a friendly grass and flying-type owl Pokémon. Litten is a super cute fire-type kitten Pokémon. Popplio is an adorable water-type seal Pokémon. I usually pick the grass starter Pokémon just because that was my first choice when I played my first Pokémon game as a kid.

I picked Bulbasaur and I loved him, so I tend to choose the grass starter on my first run though of a game. Some choose based on how the Pokémon looks, while others will pick based on the type that they like. Other people my choose a starter based on strategy and what moves the Pokémon will learn as it grows. There is no wrong choice, so choose whichever one you really like.

What’s different about Pokémon Sun and Moon?

One of the biggest changes in the Alola region is the introduction of Island Challenges. Island Challenges take the place of traditional Gym battles that were featured in the previous Pokémon games. Instead of entering a Gym and taking on all the trainers and the Gym Leader for a Badge, you take on an Island Challenge.

Each Island Challenge is different and will require different tasks to complete. Don’t worry, you still get to test your team’s strength and battle it out with a tough foe. At the end of each Island Challenge you will have to defeat the Totem Pokémon, which is a giant, super strong version of a Pokémon featured in that particular Challenge.

Once the Totem Pokémon is defeated, instead of receiving a badge, you get a Z-Crystal. A Z-Crystal is a hold item for a Pokémon that allows the Pokémon to use a Z-Move. The Z-Moves available will depend on the type of the Z-Crystal and the type of moves the Pokémon knows.

Some Z-Crystals are made for a specific type like Fire or Dragon, while other Z-Crystals are made for specific Pokémon like Pikachu. Z-Moves are super cool and powerful moves that can be used once per battle. I personally don’t use them very often, since they are so over powering, but they are great to use if you are in a pinch and close to losing a battle.

Once the Island challenge is completed and the Totem Pokémon has been defeated, you will be able to explore new areas of the island or even travel to a new island. While exploring the island, you may come across some familiar Pokémon that have a new look.

These Pokémon are called Alola Form Pokémon. They are regional variations of some Pokémon first discovered in the Kanto Region. For example, Muk is now a very colorful sludge pile and Sandshrew is now a snow colored shrew.

These Alola forms go deeper than just the exterior though; they also have different types and moves. For instance, Sandshrew is usually a ground-type Pokémon, but Alola Sandshrew is an Ice and Steel-type Pokémon. This mixes things up a bit and keeps you on your toes when figuring out type advantages and move sets. There are also a whole bunch of never before seen Pokémon making their debut in the Alola Region.

Poke PelagoPoké Pelago Isles

Another new feature presented in Pokémon Sun and Moon is Pokémon Refresh. It has some similarities with Pokémon Amie in Pokémon X and Y, but it has some differences as well. Instead of feeding your Pokémon Poké Puffs you feed them Poké Beans. By feeding your Pokémon Poké Beans they become more friendly toward you and may even land more critical hits and avoid attacks in battle.

You can also use Pokémon Refresh to clean your Pokémon off after a battle or heal them of status aliments like burns and paralysis. This is a pretty cool feature, because it saves you from having to carry around a bunch of items like burn heals and paralyze heals. You can save your money for other items like Poké Balls and Potions.

Poké Pelago is another new feature debuted in Pokémon Sun and Moon. It consists of isles that can be developed as you catch more Pokémon and collect more Poké Beans. Isle Abeens for example is an isle that has a beanstalk on it. When you shake the beanstalk, Poké Beans fall out and you can collect them.

If you put some beans out, it may attract Pokémon that want to join your team. There are other isles for hunting rare items, growing berries, training Pokémon and hatching eggs quicker. This is such a fun and useful feature that I use every time I play Pokémon Sun and Moon.

In order to get to Poké Pelago, you must fly on Charizard. That’s right, you get to fly on Charizard’s back to get to the Poké Pelago Isles. Before you can fly on Charizard you must first have a Ride Pager. The Ride Pager calls upon a Pokémon that you can ride on to help you cross rough terrain and reach new areas that you weren’t able to reach on your own.

You can use the Ride Pager to call on Lapras to surf on the water or Machamp to move huge blocks with his super strength. The best part about the Ride Pager feature, is that it has eliminated the need for HMs. This means that you no longer need to waste move slots on HM moves just so you can travel to the next area.

This is one of my favorite new features, because I don’t have to carry around a Pokémon that just uses HM moves and I can use that slot for a strong Pokémon for my team.

What’s familiar about Pokémon Sun and Moon?

Don’t worry trainers, not everything has changed in Pokémon Sun and Moon. They have kept a few key features that you will remember from previous Pokémon games. They wouldn’t just change everything or it would upset the seasoned Pokémon fans. There is enough familiar features to keep the nostalgia flowing and Pokémon fans smiling as they play.

A key aspect of every Pokémon game is a friend/rival that you can take on and learn from while on your journey. Just like in all the other Pokémon games, you will have a friendly rival. In Pokémon Sun and Moon your rival’s name is Hau. He will pop up from time and time to battle you and to work with you to take out difficult foes along the way.

You also meet other important recurring characters that will help to build the story line and carry your from challenge to challenge. You will learn valuable lessons from these people and they will help you grow as you continue on your adventure thought the islands of Alola.

One of best parts of Pokémon games is hunting and capturing Legendary Pokémon. Every game, since the beginning, has featured some kind of hard to find, exclusive Pokémon that you must get your hands on. This has not changed in Pokémon Sun and Moon.

Both games have a main Legendary Pokémon as shown on the games cover. Pokémon Sun has Solagleo and Pokémon Moon has Lunala. You can also obtain other Legendaries in both games such as Zygrade, Cosmog and Tapu Koko.

Each island has its own Guardian Deity, which is an island specific Legendary Pokémon that watches over the island and acts as the island’s protector. There are also something called Ultra Beasts, which are a type of Legendary Pokémon that are found in Ultra Space, but can come into Alola through the Ultra Wormhole. There are plenty of Legendary Pokémon to hunt down and add to your Poké Dex.

You are probably thinking, where are the bad guys? Is there no Team Rocket or likewise organization of baddies? Well guess what? There is totally another bad guy group that has come to mess up your quest and just get in the way as usual.

It isn’t Team Rocket this time, but the new band of baddies is just as moronic and annoying as Team Rocket. Get ready for Team Skull, a Gothic gang of baddies that say some pretty stupid stuff and just disrupt you journey every chance they get. I must say that they are quite amusing.

Every time I run into them, I’m like “oh great what idiotic stuff are they going to pull this time?” I find myself laughing during every encounter that I have with Team Skull. They somewhat feel like a type of comedic relief throughout your serious task oriented adventures. They sure add some giggles into the game and I just love it.

Now lets get to the end of the game so to speak. You guessed it; the Pokémon League! Are you surprised that they still have a Pokémon League? Did you seriously think they would do away with the Pokémon League? Well I guess I can see your concern since they did take away Pokémon Gyms, but the Pokémon League is here to stay!

At first, there is no Pokémon League, but as you progress through the game, there is talk of a Pokémon League being built. By the time you complete all of your Island Challenges and travel to all of the Islands, you get to take on the newly constructed Pokémon League. The Pokémon League is pretty similar to previous Pokémon Leagues in the sense that you have to defeat all of the trainers in a row without leaving or going to a Pokémon Center.

The cool part is, that once you become the Champion, you can take on the Pokémon League again, and the Trainers you battle will change. This totally mixes things up and keeps you strategizing and getting stronger with each run though.

What’s the verdict for Pokémon Sun and Moon?

I know there is a ton of information here and it may be a bit overwhelming, but I wanted you to know exactly what to expect from this game. There are so many new features that add a lot of fun and function to the game play that keep you learning the whole time. I love learning and trying new things so this was a nice benefit to the game.

I was always wondering what would happen next, and how each feature would work with the game as a whole. There is always something to accomplish even when you defeat the Pokémon League and become the Champion. There are always more Pokémon to catch to complete your Poké Dex and new challengers to take on.

Even with all of the new features in Pokémon Sun and Moon, there are still so many familiar and comforting aspects of the game that you will recognize from past games. It still moves and feels like a Pokémon game and the story line is very engaging and exciting.

The story keeps you guessing and wondering what new developments await you around the corner. The only downside is all the cut scenes. Although they are beautifully done and the imagery is amazing, the cut scenes can be a bit drawn out at times. There is no way to skip them the first time around, but if you have already watched the cut scene, then you can skip it. Sometimes you just want to cut to the chase and get to the battle that is ahead, but at least it looks amazing.

Ultra Beasts

Ultra Beasts in Pokémon Sun and Moon

Another issue I should mention is an issue with lag time. This is an issue only with the older versions of the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 2DS. I have an older Nintendo 3DS and the cut scenes can be a bit slow to load. It plays just fine thought the scene, but it takes a while to actually start. Each time it happens, I find myself staring at two black screens for a few seconds before the cut scene plays. Same thing happens once it is over. It cuts to black screens for a couple seconds before the game loads again.

I have also experienced a bit of lag during double battles. When it comes time to choose an attack or switch out Pokémon, it takes a few seconds to get there. It’s an obvious lag, but it in no way takes away from the game. It just doesn’t flow as seamlessly as it could. If you want to avoid this all together, you can just play the game on the new Nintendo 3DS or the new Nintendo 2DS. These models are faster and can keep up with the pace of the game perfectly.

All in all this is a great Pokémon game and I just love all the refreshing changes that were implemented. I still play this game from time to time even though I beat the Pokémon League. I still have Pokémon to evolve and Ultra Beasts to catch so I can complete my Poké Dex. There are still more surprises that I have yet to encounter and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my review of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. I hope that I have given you all the information you need to make an informed decision on this Pokémon game. If you have any questions about the game or just want to share your thoughts or reviews on it please feel free to leave a comment below.



20 thoughts on “Pokémon Sun and Moon Review – Welcome to the Beautiful Alola Region

  1. Jens Brombach Reply

    I remember playing Pokémon when I was a kid and having so much fun with it, we usually played just the card based version of the game. but just reading your post here brought back so many memories. Maybe it is time for me to go out and pick up a Nintendo and jump back on the bandwagon if you know what I mean 🙂

    I really liked how you gave whats new for the seasoned pokemon enthusiast and then brought it full circle to include those of us that are not up to par with the latest greatest. Offering advice is so welcome when entering (or reentering in my case) a world that is so vast and can easily be overwhelming.


    • Tabitha Desjardins Post authorReply

      Hello Jens,

      I’m so glad that my post has sparked some fun childhood memories for you. I also used to be big into the Pokémon Trading Card Game back when I was a kid. I remember bringing my cards out to the local park and showing off my collection to all the neighborhood kids. We used to have battles and even make trades. Those were the days. 🙂

      They even have a Gameboy Color game based on the Pokémon Trading Card game. It’s the same rules, but in digital form so you don’t have to worry about losing you cards (or damaging them by getting too excited lol) All of the games are really fun though. I just love getting lost in the all the adventures of the game. Maybe take the game for a spin yourself, I promise you won’t be disappointed.


  2. Jaden Ho Reply

    This is a game remind the old times when I;m playing them in a gameboy. I had no idea what is the pokemon version because I had no time playing games. But if I bad free time, I would like to play pokemon games which one of the RPG game I love to play. Thank you for the recommendation which safe my time searching for games.

    • Tabitha Desjardins Post authorReply

      Hello Jaden,

      I too played my first Pokémon game on a Gameboy Color. I got it for my birthday when I was a kid, and I have enjoyed playing the games ever since. I love playing RPG games in general, but Pokémon holds a special place in my heart.

      I know exactly what you mean about not having time for video games. I find I don’t have much time these days to play either, but I try to squeeze in some play time here and there so I don’t get rusty.

      Next time you are looking for a new RPG game to play, I hope you will keep Pokémon in mind. Thanks for reading!


  3. Kalli Reply


    Oh the days of Pokemon, I loved playing this game when I was a little kid. I used to love playing as Charmander. I always had the red version, which was Charmander. I remember collecting the playing cards as well. Looking back I can’t believe how much it has increased in characters and even technology with Nintendo. One thing I would recommend though is making your paragraphs a little smaller, so they are easier to read. Overall though I really enjoyed reading your post and I still cannot believe that Pokemon is still a hot item now and days. I wanted to let you know that I am a Wealthy Affiliate Member and wanted to stop by and leave you a comment on your site. Great job and keep up the good work. Oh P.S. It is crazy that is has been around for 20 years, it makes you really see how time truly flies by.



    • Tabitha Desjardins Post authorReply

      Hello Kalli,

      Wasn’t Pokémon just the best when we were growing up? My cousin had Red Version too and she always picked Charmander. My first Pokémon game was Blue Version and I always picked Bulbasaur. Bulbasaur is still my favorite starter Pokémon to this day. I guess you never forget your first Pokémon.

      It still amazes me that Pokémon is still going strong over 20 years later. It’s hard for stuff like this to keep up with the times and continue to attract people to it. It has stood the test of time, and I’m sure Pokémon will be around for many years to come. Thanks for stopping by and for your helpful feedback.


  4. Brandon Reply

    I’ve been a big fan of Pokemon all my life so it should come as no surprise that this game review has made me want to get it for myself! However, I do not have a Nintendo 3DS nor Nintendo 2DS. I did enjoy the Pokemon GO game released just a couple of years ago but that has since died down and hardly anyone plays it now. It was all hype and that was it. I enjoy playing with others but if I can find a platform to play Sun and Moon I’ll be happy.

    • Tabitha Desjardins Post authorReply

      Hello Brandon,

      It’s nice to meet a fellow lifetime Pokémon fan! I’m glad that my review has gotten you all revved and itching to play Pokémon Sun and Moon. They really are awesome games, and they have great replay value. The adventure just keeps going and going and there is so much to do.

      I would suggest checking either Amazon or eBay for a cheap used Nintendo 3DS or 2DS. They have the best prices so you don’t have to hurt your wallet. You can also get them refurbished directly from Nintendo with a warranty, if you want the added piece of mind.

      I agree that Pokémon GO was all the rage when it first came out. There was just so much hype built up that people went nuts when it was released. It did die down for quite a bit, but recently they have added a ton of new features that has picked up the pace again. I think the biggest feature they added was the Research Quests, and I have had so much fun playing Pokémon GO since they introduced this feature. You can read about it here https://pokefulworld.com/pokemon-go-research-quests. Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.


  5. Manny Reply

    Wow I lost contact to Pokemon after gold but I really consider getting a gameboy again… But I might be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of pokemon. Is there any kind of revival game but on a new console?

    Thank you!

    • Tabitha Desjardins Post authorReply

      Hello Manny,

      Ahh the good old Johto region from Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal. They are still on the top of my list for my favorite Pokémon games. I just love how you could travel to both the Johto Region and then back to Kanto from Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow. I wish they would bring that feature back, so we could explore all of the regions in one game. I guess that would be a super long and involved game, but it would be so fun.

      They actually did a remake of Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow for the Gameboy Advance. They are called Fire Red and Leaf Green. They have newer graphics then the original games and feature more Pokémon as well. They also made remakes of Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal for the Nintendo DS. They are called Heart Gold and Soul Silver. They bring back the feature where a Pokémon follows you outside of its Poké Ball like Pikachu does in Yellow version. It also has updated graphics and newer Pokémon. These remakes are kind of hard to find though and they can be pretty pricey since they are out of print and highly collectable.

      If you just want to play the original games, but on a newer console then you are in luck. They just released Pokémon Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver and Crystal on the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS virtual console. All you have to do is pick up a Nintendo 3DS or 2DS and connect to the internet. Then you can go to the Nintendo eShop icon where you can search for games available for download onto your console. Just search for the version of Pokémon you want and download it straight to your device. Each game costs $9.99 which is pretty cheap for a Pokémon game. Now you can relive the older games on a newer console with just a quick download. I have already downloaded Blue, Yellow, Gold and Crystal and they are all awesome and just as I remembered them. Enjoy!


  6. Ash Reply

    Geez I remember when Pokemon first came out in the US. I was about 7 or 8 and there were only the Blue, Yellow and Red versions. Now there are Gold, Silver, Platinum, Diamond all kinds. I used to be able to name all 150 but now with all these versions its so hard to keep track of them all lol

    • Tabitha Desjardins Post authorReply

      Hello Ash,

      Yeah, Pokémon has certainly come a long way since we were kids. I also used to be able to name all 150 Pokémon, but there is no way I could name them all now. Now there are over 800 different Pokémon and it just keeps growing and growing! I never would have thought that Pokémon would still be going strong after 22 years and counting. I’m so glad that it is though, because I still enjoy playing the new games when they come out. It’s still a blast.

      Thanks for stopping by,


  7. josh Reply

    I didn’t know much about this before reading the post, but liked that you explained everything in great detail and made it easier to understand as a result.

    • Tabitha Desjardins Post authorReply

      Hello Josh,

      I’m glad that I could give you even a small glimpse of the wonderful world of Pokémon. They really do have some awesome games. Some of the newer ones might have a bit too much going on, but you could always try out some of the older games. You can download the original Pokémon games from the Nintendo eShop, like Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow version, onto either the Nintendo 2DS or the 3DS. These games only have 150 Pokémon and the graphics are from the Gameboy Color so it is a little easier to take it all in. You can even download the Pokémon GO app on your mobile device for free. Maybe give a Pokémon game a shot, you may even enjoy it.

      Thanks for reading,


  8. Kim Reply

    I have loved Pokemon ever since it first came to our TV’s many years ago. I have played a few of their games and wasn’t sure whether it was worth trying out the latest ones. Thanks to your review, I may give it a try! I love the table top games too 🙂
    Looking forward to reading more!

    • Tabitha Desjardins Post authorReply

      Hello Kim,

      Me too! I remember waking up early on Saturday mornings just to watch Pokémon on Kids WB. I was so not a morning person, so getting up early to watch Pokémon says something about my love for it. 🙂

      The games have certainly come a long way since the days of Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow, but they are still really fun to play. There is just so much to do, and tons of new features that everyone can enjoy. I’m so glad that my review has sparked your desire for a new Pokémon game. You will love it, I promise. If you do decide to pick up a new Pokémon game, let me know how you like it.


  9. Joanne Reply

    Hey Tabitha, love the website. What a really thorough review of these games you have here. It takes me back to my childhood, I remember my old Nintendo, nostalgic memories. My kids love them now, so will be showing them this review and look forward to re-acquainting myself with Pokemon!

    Good job, keep up the good work! I’ll be back to check on your newest reviews.


    • Tabitha Desjardins Post authorReply

      Hello Joanne,

      Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my review for Pokémon Sun & Moon. Some of my fondest memories are when I was a kid playing Nintendo and Pokémon. It’s just so much fun to get lost in the adventure of the games. I hope your kids will enjoy this review and maybe even check out the game for themselves. Let me know what they think about it, and of course what you think about it once you play it too. 🙂


  10. vivek Reply

    I remember playing pokemon as a kid with my cousin when we were kids! I haven’t kept in touch with it too much over the years but this did bring some memories back. I still can’t comprehend how many versions there are!
    Thanks for this article, certainly brought back some memories!

    • Tabitha Desjardins Post authorReply

      Hello Vivek,

      I used to play Pokémon as a kid with my cousin too! How cool is that?! I’m glad that my review has sparked some awesome childhood memories for you. It really is crazy to think just how far Pokémon has come over the years, and just how many games there are. Not to mention the crazy amount of Pokémon there are to catch now. It definitely makes it harder to “Catch ’em all” and beat the game. Maybe you and your cousin can pick up the new games and give it another go for old times sake. 🙂


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