Pokemon Moon will take you across the beautiful islands of the Alola region, where you’ll encounter newly discovered Pokemon, as well as Pokemon that have taken on a new Alolan style. You may even encounter powerful Legendary Pokemon and other special Pokemon, such as the mysterious guardian deities. Keep track of all the Pokemon you’ve seen and caught with the new Rotom Pokedex.
Average Playing Time:
- 58 Hours
Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon are role-playing video games developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 3DS. They are the first installments in the seventh generation of Pokemon games.
Since it's arrival in the mid-90s, Pokemon has been one of the most consistently popular series on the planet. In its mainline sequels, the series has paired a couple nearly identical games with slight differences and incentives and have continually found an audience despite the same-y nature of all the titles. The newest pairing of games, Pokemon Sun & Moon, promises to change things up, bringing brand new areas and ideas while 'fixing' many of the long-standing complaints levelled at some of the series' mechanics. Thankfully, these promises are mostly kept and the game breathes a new life into the franchise not seen in the past few iterations.
The real new star of the show is the island setting of Alola. This tropical paradise breaks players into a vacation-like environment but it also presents an opportunity for the developer to shed its conventional structure. The all too familiar recipe of Pokemon games is to travel across very same-y geography, fitting similar trainers on your way to being the top trainer in the local, iterative universe. It's always entertaining thanks to gameplay additions, plentiful whimsy, and a great collectable quality; but the series can't help escape a feeling like its a borderline cash grab at times.
That said, Sun and Moon finds new territory for the series by mixing it up with a variety of other tasks, and a story structure that feels inviting despite pairing it with the conventional trainer battle-athon. Throwing all sorts of obtuse objectives and mini-games (a usual no-no and frequent lamentation of some Nintendo games) really spices things up along the way. These 'spice ups' are headed by individuals that may as well be called 'trainers' but are instead called 'Trial Captains', who will assign you stuff to do across the vibrant island. These range from taking photos of rare ghost Pokemon (Pokemon Snap anyone?), to strangely enduring memorization tasks, and other more action-oriented systems. Each of these is pleasing presented and they not only give variety but also provide stimulus to your Pokedex so they have a tangible benefit too. Specifically, they give Z-Crystals which are used for specific Pokemon to elicit evolution in form or potentially move set. Considering there are quite a few trials and even more Pokemon, completionists looking to outfit their best Pokemon lineup will be kept very busy for a very longtime with this system (as if the title needed more content!).
This mix up would be great regardless of situation but it needs to be said that the Alola island does a great job at enhancing these activities. Colours are bright and the tone cheerful, and the crisp character art and sound are pleasing to the eyes and ears. The presentation is second to none on the handheld and the production values makes it feel like the flagship/AAA product its intended to be. Game Freak effectively uses the bottom screen as well, showing a helpful map at all times, one that helps the player easily understand where their objectives and quests lie. Believe me when I say this game has no shortage of content so an ever-present map seems like the easy choice, but a wise one at that. On the whole, the entire presentation of Sun and Moon feels as professional and well-considered as the series has seen.
While all this new is good and well-needed, the main draw of the series is its Pokemon and the battle system. Thankfully, Game Freak has added a surprising amount of new creatures this time around, fitting well with the island theme and they serve as a mix of cute and sometimes a little creepy (I'm looking at you Mimikyu!). This only goes to enhance the general mood of the game and its further entrenched as classic Pokemon have returned with a fresh coat to fit the style of the setting. All in all, fans here for the monsters will not be disappointed.
On the gameplay side of things, the battle and evolution systems remain largely the same although the added 'cosmetic' upgrade ability adds a nice bit of individuality to creature progression. It's pretty much a status quo iteration of the battle system although series regulars will appreciate the introduction of the chaotic four player free for all battles. These slightly unbalanced bits of chaos are an entertaining show when they happen although they're not quite 'there' yet. Still, it's nice to see Game Freak take a larger risk such as this when the base gameplay has been the same for many years and versions. The best way to sum up the battle system here is: if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
As a whole, this iteration of Pokemon offers players a ton of content and a greater variety than they've come to expect. With the robust add-ons coming soon (Pokemon Bank), and the worthwhile post-game content, it's a great title for seasoned fans to adopt and for new players to jump right in. For those in cold weather these Holidays, Pokemon Sun and Moon is a perfect island getaway for those trapped inside.