Pokémon Sun/Moon Review

The night Pokemon Sun and Moon was being released I worked a midnight launch for it to help out a friend at his store. As I’m selling a copy to a younger guy, prolly around 16, I mention to him how I remembered how excited I was for the original Pokemon games and how excited I am for this new entry with its new features and Pokemon. I’ll never forget this next part, he looked at me and said, “Man I wish I was old enough to have been able to play the originals when they came out! My first games in the series were Black and White.” As I handed him his copy it clicked. Black and White. BLACK AND WHITE!! This kid most likely wasn’t even born yet when the originals came out! Now whereas this moment did succeed in making me feel old it did something bigger, it helped me realize just how much staying power Pokemon has. How many series can you say haven’t just survived 20 years in the video game industry, but flourished and grown? Not many, but Pokemon is one that can, and Sun and Moon is the perfect tribute to what the series was, and has become.

I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate their twentieth anniversary then what they did with Pokemon Sun and Moon. There are so many beautiful throwbacks to the earlier entries in the series and so many steps forward in making this a unique entry in the series, and possibly, steps forward to changing up the basic formula that has been in the series for so long.

You start off the game arriving to your new house in the Alola region, which is made up by a series of islands, having just moved here from the good ole Kanto region. From the Ditto pillow in your room to your families pet Meowth, you can get a sense of the throwback love right from the beginning. The game kicks off pretty quick and shows glimpses of what turns out to be a pretty decent story for a Pokemon game, since their stories are usually minimal, and introduces you to some of the games main characters. The games rather bro-like Professor, Professor Kukui, your “rival” Hau and Professor Kukui’s assistant Lillie. All of whom play a rather big part throughout the story. I will say that this game takes the longest of all the games to get you to where you pick your starter Pokemon. But that is a small thing because it all moves very fast. From that point on the game seems to flow in a very well paced manor. Never feeling like its going by to fast or taking to long.

You’ll quickly notice as you progress through the game that Gyms and Gym Leaders are no more. You now instead complete various trials, led by Trial Captains. Trials may have their own unique gimmicks usually ending with you fighting a trial Pokemon, a stronger version of a certain Pokemon surrounded by an aura that strengthens it. After you fight all of the Trial Captains on a certain island, you then fight the island Kahuna. These battles are pleasantly tough and I felt rather accomplished as I finished them. This whole experience is not necessarily better then the Gyms we are so used to fighting in, but it is a welcome change for now nonetheless. It’s just nice to see how Gamefreak is willing to try new things, even when what they had, was established and loved. It shows that they know their games well enough to change the formula up a bit and still create a compelling experience. Each game in the series has always had its gimmicks of sorts, but this was a big change. And it doesn’t disappoint.

In my opinion the area that this game flourishes the most is it’s new Pokemon. Not since the Gold/Silver/Crystal generation of games have I personally had so much trouble deciding what to raise. Not because I wasn’t a fan of the new entries, because I was SUCH a huge fan of so many of the new entries. I know many had their complaints about some of the starters, but I actually liked all three of them and struggled with who to choose. As I usually play through a new Pokemon I will cycle Pokemon in and out has they evolve to fill up my Dex. All the while only having about 2, maybe 3 Pokemon being used in battles. This time It was so much harder. I kept wanting to keep everything in my lineup because I enjoyed using them. Pikipek, Crabrawler, Rockruff, Mudbray and Salandit just to name a few. I thought they looked cool and unique. I liked their attacks and typing. I was just happy with the outcome of this Dex. Not to mention the Alolan forms of some of the original 150! This is one of those things I think Gamefreak did beautifully. Making alternate forms of some of these classics was incredibly cool. It added to my plight of what to raise and it was just unique. This forms to range from the awesome (Marowak) to the strange (Dugtrio) to the downright bizarre (Exeggutor, grass dragon typing??) It was nice seeing some of my old favorites get a nice breath of fresh air. Honestly I hope to see more of this in the future.

Another big new addition are the Z moves. The last gen brought us Mega forms, which were cool enough but I wasn’t a huge fan of. I found Z move sot be more appealing because they can give you a huge advantage, but you can’t spam them. It’s one and done. Teaching your Charizard Solar Beam and then giving it the Grass Z crystal so it can use Bloom Doom is pretty darn cool. Maybe not the most effective use of a once a battle move, but cool! These moves are cool looking (See Snorlax Pulverizing Pancake) and were a very welcome addition to the series. I’m sure that they will have a nice impact on competitive play as well.

After almost 20 years with the series, it amazes me that I always get so excited for the new entry in the series. When Pokemon Blue came out I remember thinking I would never get sick of playing Pokemon. But I also said the same thing about Pog’s and Tamagatchi’s and I have long sense lot, gotten rid of, or thrown those in storage. Yet Pokemon stays strong. I look forward to new releases and think about going back and replaying old entries. That speaks wonders of a games staying power. Pokemon Sun and Moon may not have been my favorite entries in the series, but they are my favorite in a long time. That alone is saying something for a series with nothing but strong entires. This is the game in the series that should appeal to all. Long time players, new comers and those who have been away but want to feel like a kid again. This game is worth owning a 3ds for in of itself. So do yourself a favor, get a copy. Sit there and play it while watching some Saturday morning cartoons. Just enjoy, let go of the stresses of every day life and go back to being a kid with the series we’ve almost all grown up with.

From as early as he can remember, Krispy has been a gamer. From the Super Mario Bros 3 on NES to Destiny on PS4 he has been running, jumping, and button smashing across worlds on most major consoles. A few of his favorite games are Super Metroid, Earthbound, and the Uncharted series.

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