Pokémon Sun and Moon – Nintendo 3DS
The Pokémon Company
Released on November 18, 2016
For many Pokémon fans, the announcement of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon was sudden and unexpected. Some, however, might have had mixed feelings about a few features of the games; with a shift from the traditional paradigm of the previous core Pokémon games, Pokémon Sun and Moon successfully pushed its boundaries by providing a fresh new take on exploring the world of Pokémon. Like its predecessors, Pokémon Sun and Moon continue to provide fans a free-roam RPG experience.
With so many changes from the previous games in the series, many players wonder: How does Pokémon Sun and Moon successfully appeal to all Pokémon fans, despite being so different from the previous games?
The games are a breath of fresh air compared to other RPGs that were released on the 3DS late last year. Nintendo fans took a blow when Metroid Prime: Federation Force was released in August, and although Nintendo’s Kirby: Planet Robobot wooed many players with its game play, it didn’t quite reach the same level as Pokémon Sun and Moon.
Compared to previous core Pokémon games, however, Pokémon Sun and Moon offers a very unique map to explore, consisting of four Hawaiian-inspired islands, and an entirely new competitive battling scene. Instead of having eight gyms for players to defeat, the games have trials to complete. Players have to complete various trials, which offer more puzzle-like challenges, followed by battles with the respective trial leaders. Also, instead on having to rely on HMs to navigate through the world map, players gradually obtain more and more non-playable pokémon that they have “on call” for specific tasks, like surfing over bodies of water and flying to other areas.
At first, your character is greeted by Professor Kukui, the region’s Pokémon professor. In the same scene, you see an unfamiliar girl, Lillie, who soon becomes your friend and ultimately becomes the most prominent side character. Soon after, you are introduced to Hau, a boy who’s an Alola native – he is your rival. Later in the game, you run into Gladion, Lillie’s brother, who also helps you along your journey. The main characters work really well together and help drive the story. A lot of Pokémon fans, me included, were annoyed with all of the many main characters in Pokémon Black and White and Pokémon X and Y. It’s nice to have less main NPCs to deal with; it makes the game easier to follow and deepens character development within the story.
The new Pokémon in generation 7 are extremely limited. With only 81 new pokémon, players don’t have much freedom when it comes to choosing a unique team to play with. One thing that really bothered me is that there weren’t many three-stage evolution chains that weren’t grass types. I would have loved to be able to strategically raise a team of six new pokémon with unique typings.
On the other hand, the games really caught my attention with the new Alola-form pokémon from the first generation. Let’s face it: Alolan Ninetails is one majestic and beautiful fairy/ice type. The best part is that the reason for Alolan-form pokémon is integrated into the story of the islands. In real life, animals have regional differences that make them different from each other. In Alola, some Pokémon from Kanto had to adapt to a vastly different environment, thus changing their typings and characteristics along the way.
For the most part, the games’ graphics were pleasantly surprising. You can move your character more fluidly, and the environment art is deeper and richer. The new battle animations also provided me with a better sense of realism than past games. The one feature that the games stopped utilizing in Sun and Moon is the ability to play in 3D; 3D game play is only available in one of the games’ mini games. Personally, I don’t mind this one bit, as I never liked the 3D game play of the 3DS anyways. Other than that, the games run very smooth and load times were minimal.
The most impressive feature of the games is the soundtrack. One thing that Pokémon games do really well at is composing powerful music and strategically folding it into the stories, giving players a whole new layer of emotional connection to the games. Coming from a player who has been fanboying over Pokémon games since the very beginning, I can confidently say that Pokémon Sun and Moon have the best music of any other Pokémon games. I say the battle music took the prize. Words can’t describe the full extent of the power of music, so I suggest you plug in a nice pair of headphones before you play. You might as well bring a box of Kleenex as well; the championship music is very moving and puts you right in the shoes of your character.
If you’re looking to spend little and play large, your best bet is to pick up a copy of Pokémon Sun or Pokémon Moon. Even with all of the differences from traditional Pokémon games, Pokémon Sun and Moon are two solid games that can really change a person upon completion. Even if you stopped playing the games after the first or second generations, Pokémon Sun and Moon are still solid games to invest your time and money in.