Pokémon Sun and Moon: A Breath of Fresh Air

Pokémon Sun and Moon manages to bring a wonderful world to life, the island paradise of Alola. Alola is the home to the two new Pokémon games Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. Both of them are set around the same story with slight differences, the most noticeable being that Moon takes place twelve hours in the future, this means that when it is nighttime in Moon it is daytime in Sun and vica-versa. The game brings back many features that were popular in the past while adding new and exciting ones.

Since the first Generation of Pokémon I’ve always been a fan and I was curious to see how this iteration of the much loved RPG would do. With renewed interest in Pokémon globally thanks to Pokémon Go and the celebrations of twenty years since Pokémon was originally launched, this generation would surely bring in more players than previous games so the game would have to be something quite special to please the potential new and returning players.

The game is not completely different from former generations, you still travel around a world, this time Alola, while training and catching Pokémon. In all previous games you would battle your way through eight gyms until you made your way to the Elite Four, this is something that has changed. Rather than just battling leader after leader the trainer instead takes on Island Challenges. These vary from a listening challenge where you have to correctly identify noises from the game to travelling through a cave while challenging Pokémon. These are a welcome change and gives this generation a fresh feel.

Another change to the game is Poké Pelago which gives the player something to do with their Pokémon rather than just letting them sit in a computer like previous generations. Poké Pelago is divided up into several isles that you can invest into. These islands range from a place to send your Pokémon to relax, to a training camp and even an area where they can explore and in turn bring the player back goods. Another new feature in the game is the Page Rider which has come in to replace TMs. Rather than having to teach your Pokémon moves to Fly or Surf you instead get Pokémon that you can summon which do that task for you, this means that you no longer have to force your Pokémon to learn these moves so that you can progress. This is one of the many quality of life changes that this generation has seem to thrive for. Another quality of life change would be the fact that if you catch a new Pokémon when you have a full party you can now instantly bring the new Pokémon onto your party without having to travel back to a PC. Simple improvements like this are all over this game.

From the time you start up the game you are welcomed by the new Hawaiian themed music and design which are delightful to behold. The vibrant colours and joyous music make the introduction, which can be quite dry and dull to players used to the games, engaging while leaving you wanting for more. The first island you are on is definitely not the most exciting but it serves as an introduction for those who are unfamiliar to the series. After you’ve completed the first island you are versed in all the knowledge you need to carry out your Pokémon adventure and the subsequent islands hold a lot more freedom and adventure.

This game is not without its faults though, increased loading times and lag during larger battles are two things that can be noted. Another complaint that I have heard people complaining of is removal of features added in the last game such as ‘Trainers Eyes’ and ‘Poké Radar.’ It is not uncommon for successful features from previous games to be removed in subsequent releases and this has been commonplace since the early days of Pokémon. While I personally do miss these features I feel as though suitable alternatives are in the game. Trainers Eyes gave you the ability to challenge trainers who you had faced before, it is not in this game but there are two new places to go and challenge; The Battle Royal and The Battle Tree. Both of these allow you to fight against trainers as much as you wish. The Poké Radar is another feature which people have been missing. The new Rotom Pokédex has picked up most of the features of this, it will show you exactly where you need to go to catch a specific Pokémon if you have seen it before, if you have not seen it you can scan QR codes to add that Pokémon to your Pokédex and then you can find where it is. People will always miss features that are no longer about but sacrifices need to be made when making a new game.

Overall, I think that Pokémon Sun and Moon will go down as one of the most successful generations, this is already true in some respect as in the United Kingdom, Sun and Moon have already passed all sales records for any Nintendo game. The game has exceeded my expectations and has already eaten up many hours of my spare time. The improvements in this game on previous generations are vast and the new features do not feel gimmicky as they sometime have in the past. If you are new to the series or a die hard fan I would recommend this game as it has something for everyone.