Screenshot
Screenshot

Your Alola trial begins with Pokemon Sun and Moon!

Main ImagePokémon Moon
Intial Release Date: November 23, 2016
Developers: 
Game Freak 
Publishers: 
The Pokémon Company 
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
Game information was freely provided by IGDB.com
Main ImagePokémon Sun
Intial Release Date: November 23, 2016
Developers: 
Game Freak 
Publishers: 
The Pokémon Company 
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
Game information was freely provided by IGDB.com

After twenty years, you’d think that Pokémon would’ve slowed down by now. Between the video games, the trading card game, the anime, and 2016’s huge hit Pokémon Go, the series feels more popular than it has in years. What better way to end off the 20th anniversary than with an island vacation?

Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon take place in the beautiful Alola region. Based around four islands, the Alola region is unlike anything trainers have handled before. Throwing away the classic gyms that have become a Pokémon staple, Alola has island trials. Trials can be something as simple as a battle, or as complex as workinp02_01_eng your way through an abandoned store to take a picture of a Pokémon. These allow for
more fun and interesting game mechanics, as well as a welcome change to a “tried and true” formula. These still end with a battle with the island’s Kahuna usually though, so it still maintains a general feeling of battles being important. The island trials also give you the ability to use the Z-Crystal of that trial captain’s type, allowing incredibly powerful Z-moves that can be used once per battle. Similar to mega evolution, the Z-moves can change the course of battle in a pinch.

Sun and Moon feel like GameFreak’s biggest risk in years. Along with changing the focus on defeating gyms, they’ve also removed HMs as the main mode of transport. Ride Pokémon now help you get around. Gone are the days of having a Pokémon meant primarily for use as a “HM Slave”, now you can call a Lapras to ride across the water, a Tauros to get around quickly or smash boulders, and even a Machamp to help you move those giant blocks. Another interesting feature is the Pokémon Camera. In certain areas, you’re able to spy on wild Pokémon and attempt to take photos of them for an instagram like audience. While not really needed, it’s a fun side event. Overall Sun and Moon feel like they have a ton of quality of life updates. Little things such as menu navigation, updated ‘chaining’, and the removal of HMs really help to streamline your Pokémon adventure.

An adventure is pretty lonely without interesting characters though, and Sun and Moon has plenty to show yop08_02_enu some love. From your rival Hau to the innocent Lillie, even your Pokédex has a personality. The characters and writing in Pokémon Sun & Moon are some of the most interesting and fun to interact with in the series’ history. From the different trial captains actually feeling like people and not just bosses, the villainous team having the general feel of a bunch of hoodlums, and a glorious team of Pokémon saviors, Sun and Moon have a diverse cast of characters that help to fill the islands with a deep feeling of community and love. The only complaint I have with the world is that I wish it were a bit bigger. A second set of islands, traveling to another region, just a bit more to explore would’ve been nice. The cameos from other regions are greatly welcomed though, and just make me wish I could visit those regions even more.

Pokémon Sun and Moon feel like the perfect end to the year, and the perfect finale for the Nintendo 3DS’ Pokémon journey. GameFreak has made some insane things happen with the system’s hardware, including throwing amazing graphics at us with these titles. The soundtrack is one of the best since Emerald, and the colorful islands are a bright and exciting backdrop for your adventure. Combine everything about Pokémon Sun and Moon and you’ll struggle to find a better title on the 3DS.

Pros:
  • One of the best stories I've seen in a Pokemon game yet.
  • Selection of new Pokemon are interesting and well thought out.
  • Fantastic art style and soundtrack bring the Alola region to life.
  • Supporting cast of characters make your journey more memorable.
Cons:
  • Framerate dips even on New 3DS show how hard the game is pushing the system's capabilities.
  • Feels a bit "hand holding" at times, but for good reason.
Graphics Pixl Score 4 4
Story Pixl Score 5 5
Sound Pixl Score 5 5
Controls Pixl Score 5 5
Fun Factor Pixl Score 5 5