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 10
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.
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.
Poké 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 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.