Fans were wary ahead of the release of Pokémon Sun and Moon. With such major changes promised to players along with a whole new region to explore, the classic charm of original Pokémon titles could have been lost with creators instead focusing on reinventing something that was never broken. What could be said about the older Pokémon games however is that they were all a little too similar to warrant paying full game prices for them upon every single release. That's something The Pokémon Company no longer have to worry about with Sun and Moon, as they offer something brand new.

Credit: The Pokémon Company

Credit: The Pokémon Company

With one of the most unique storylines in Pokémon gaming history presented, players are for the first time ever taken to Alola, where they'll be faced with conquering a series of Island Trials rather than Pokémon Gyms. Reflecting the tribal captain in charge of each trial, each is a unique look at the region's uniqueness, allowing a more immersive and cultural experience than ever before. Though this is very different to what veteran players are used to, gamers can always expect to face a 'totem Pokémon' at the end of a trial in order to prove they're worthy of being named a champion of that specific location.

Slight refinements have been made throughout the game, but one of those that really stuck out for me and has been long overdue is the ability to instantly swap a Pokémon into your team of six upon catching it if your team of six is already full. No more will you be required to go and find a computer to log into to amend your team. It's a small change but makes all the difference.

81 new catchable creatures have been introduced in this new addition to the franchise, bringing the total known Pokémon count to just over 800, at 802. Catching them all then of course is a huge challenge, but for those who have kept their save data from all of the games in the past, not impossible. The Pokédex in this game however ends at 301 - all of the Pokémon that can be found in this new region. That of course means that following the end of the game's story mode comes the real challenge - thoroughly exploring your surroundings, trading with a player who has the other version of the game to you as some Pokémon are exclusive, and gritting your teeth with sheer perseverance.

Whilst brand new faces appear amongst the Pokémon you're able to catch, long-time fans will be happy to see classic Pokémon, along with new regional variants of favourites including Raichu and Dugtrio, who have evolved differently but can still be caught with a trusty Pokéball.

Alola's Dugtrio / Credit: The Pokémon Company
Alola's Dugtrio / Credit: The Pokémon Company

When it comes to battling, there's another new feature - the Battle Royal mode. For the first time ever, a Pokémon battle will be able to see more than two sides go head-to-head against one another all in simultaneous fashion. It's a thrilling and engaging mode, but I do think I still prefer the original format.

For those who have been a part of the Pokémon fan base for a while now, it's refreshing to go into something that seems almost like a completely new game. For those new to the series, this is a great starting point - but nostalgia will always get the best of me, so I'd suggest you also play one of the original games when you get the chance.

Pokémon Sun and Moon are available now on Nintendo 3DS.


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