Review: Pokémon Sun and Moon

“Do I dare say that I had fun?”

Jake (cynpai)

06 Dec 2016

Game Info

Developer: Game Freak

Release Date: 18/11/2016

Publisher: The Pokemon Company

Platforms: Nintendo 3DS

Going into my copy of Pokémon Moon I knew this was going to be a somewhat different game compared to all the previous releases but just how different was this going to be?

They are familiar, yet, bring a new perspective on a tried and tested system (“Is ‘refreshing’ the word in after?”). All the usual suspects are there: the three starters to choose from, the battles and Professor telling you “You can't use the fishing rod on Nurse Joy”.

Pokémon Sun and Moon are very story driven for Pokémon games, focusing more on people and their interactions with the Pokémon of Alola rather than the traditional Pokémon adventure.

Visually Pokémon Sun and Moon are stunning. The Islands are varied and beautiful, the way Pokémon appear both in and out of battle is simply amazing. Before I had even chose my starting Pokémon I was already hooked. The way the game portrays how the Pokémon interact with the world is truly remarkable, it's almost like they're living, breathing creatures, making the world they inhabit feel alive.

When the time came to choose a starter I hadn't done any research into what they would evolve into or who I was going to get to accompany me on my journey. After much deliberation I decided on Litten, a cute fire kitten. Together we'd overcome any challenge in our way. Or so I thought.

Little Kitten Litten

Isn't he just the cutest!?

I don't consider myself a newbie to Pokémon games at all. Originally starting with Pokémon Blue Version in 1996, but this was something else entirely. I found Pokémon Moon more challenging than every other Pokémon game I had played to date. I was relying upon more potions and even some revives as my poor Litten tried to keep up, mostly because of all the new Pokémon and not knowing what type they are and how to approach battles with them. “Excuses, excuses”.

Even my usual technique of grinding my team up a few extra levels helped but didn't help as much as I thought.


It was fun. Fun to be challenged, even if a touch irritating at times. But hey, it wouldn't be fun if it was easy now would it.

Previous experiences I've had in post game play tends to be a bit disappointing or non existent (“I really enjoyed the whole Delta Episode in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire”). After defeating the Elite Four there is still some quests to be done. Some people do enjoy walking around having the strongest Pokémon in the lands knowing no one can touch them, but I personally do like to be challenged even into the latter game. I must say that it scales well now when my team are pushing level 70 - 80.

One new part of the Pokémon Sun and Moon was the removal of Gyms’ and the introduction of Trials. I wasn't sure a Pokémon game could still be called a Pokémon game without Gyms’. Instead of Gym Leaders there are now Captain's, and they are just as strong.
Each Captain has a unique Trial to overcome where you perform certain tasks and face off against a formidable Totem Pokémon (think regular Pokémon dialed up to 100). Each of the four Islands of Alola has a Grand Trial where you must defeat the Island Kahuna, the true Leader so be prepared for a fight.

The three starters

Rowlet, Litten and Popplio

For every trial that is completed you get a special crystal called a Z-Crystal, these are type specific crystals that let your Pokémon unleash devastating Z-Moves and look pretty cool. While these moves are strong they do not mean instant victory. Also there is a cutscene which when the Z-Moves are activated take a few extra seconds to play out and can get old fast if you use them over and over.

Another little addition to battles is the ability for wild Pokémon to call for help from other wild Pokémon. While it doesn't work every time, this can turn your one on one fight with a Pokémon you've spent ages weakening into a two on one fight. Quickly turning the tide of the battle. This too can get somewhat annoying when you eliminate one Pokémon and the only remaining on calls for help again, turning your battle with one into a never-ending loop of Zubat.

Even after 20 years of Pokémon games it's nice to see Pokémon is still going strong, and a break from the familiar was really nice to see and I enjoyed it.

With all the new experience in Pokémon Sun and Moon would I recommend this game to people who've played every other Pokémon game out there?

For the people whose first Pokémon game this is?

To those who've only played Generation One?
Probably not.
If they haven't played any others I doubt they'd be willing to change their ways now.