Pokémon Sun & Moon Review

1161becb0c2c42cb371264064fcec581On Oct. 18, “Pokémon Sun and Moon” was released in North America. Lovers of the Pokémon franchise were ecstatic to hear that another installment to the series was being released, and I was no different.
Starting up the game, I immediately realized that this was a different game from the rest. You start out as a character who’s moving into the nation of Alola, a group of islands based off Hawaii. You move in from the Kanto region, the first region to the Pokémon series, and meet the new Professor Kukui, who shows you around your new home.
The Island Challenge is arguably the biggest change to the game. Sun and Moon has no gym battles like the previous games in the series. Instead, there is the Island Challenge where you hop between the islands and do different kinds of trials where you have to solve puzzles and battle powerful pokémon to achieve a Z-Stone from the captain of the trial.
Once you finish all the trials on an island you face the kahuna of the island in a grand trial for another Z-Crystal and passage onto the next island to continue your island challenge. The trials vary in many ways. One had me shooting photos of ghost pokémon while another had me attempt to identify what sounds are triggered from what in the game. It keeps veterans of the series from knowing the exact layout of the games while also having you explore the gorgeous tropical islands of Alola.
Even though they removed gym battles in Sun and Moon, the Elite four was still kept in Sun and Moon thankfully. When I entered you get to choose the order of who you want to face first to last. Once you’re done you face off against the champion. Once you’ve become the champion you have a party with all the captains and kahunas you’ve met throughout the game.
In Pokémon X & Y and the ORAS games there is a new type of evolution introduced called Mega Evolution, instead of continuing this it was replaced with Z-Moves. A pokémon will hold a Z-Crystal of a certain type and when in battle it can be used as a more powerful attack against your foe. It’s not too over powered though because you can only use one Z-Move per battle, so be wise in your decision on how you use it. There are Z-Move crystals, which are an item the pokémon holds, for every type in the game. Some are handed to you and others you have to find on your journey throughout the Island Challenge. There are also Z-Crystals that are move-specific, every starter pokémon has a special Z-Crystal and a few other pokémon have their own, Pikachu being one of them.
Another huge change introduced into Gen VII was Alolan Pokémon. Game Freak implemented this idea where pokémon can have different species. In this game there are some pokémon you can only catch in their Alolan form, which has some significant changes to their look and their type. The Pokémon Raichu for example is now an Electric/Psychic type instead of just Electric type and has significant changes to its look. It has a brighter appearance, some color changes, and floats instead of stands on the ground. Meowth also has an Alolan form, it becomes a dark type and has a face that more resembles a real-life cat than that of a fictional-looking cat. Meowth also is a shade of purple instead of white.
These Alolan form changes to some of the pokémon like Grimer and Exeggutor are great changes that really fit the tropical theme of the game. They also give us type combos that aren’t what we are used to. Alolan Geodude is a Rock/Electric type for example. The soundtrack to the game also fits the tropical theme whilst remixing the classic songs and not making them too different from what we know and love of the original soundtrack.
Even the new evil team has their own twist that differs them from the original games. Sun and Moon introduce Team Skull, a team of pokémon thieves in the Alola region. Team Skull’s major difference from the other evil teams is they are a rap group. Frequently throughout the game the Team Skull Grunts will rhyme in a rapper fashion for their text instead of normal talking. Their theme song is similar to what rap song’s format is. It’s an interesting twist added to pokémon, the teams in the past were more serious in their character. Even the walking animation for Team Skull Grunts had them swinging them arms around and throwing different signs with their hands.

Sun and Moon is a face lift to the pokémon video game series, and it was a well made one. It tweaks a lot of what was wrong with previous games, and it shakes things up with the Island Challenge than the traditional gym system.