2016 marked the 20th anniversary of the Pokémon series. It’s the year of Pokémon and the franchise is showing no signs of slowing down. By now, we’ve all at least played one main entry or a spinoff of the series. I’ve been enthralled by Pokémon since day one of release with Red, spending hundreds of hours as a child obtaining the original 150 Pokémon, the illustrious Mew, which I eventually “caught” with Game Genie, and Missingno, who could forget that? All of these memories, the fun, and the hours I put into a video game, returns when playing Pokémon Sun.
I last played Pokémon back when X and Y launched in 2013, I liked it but felt it fell short of expectations when the series took a leap to “next-gen.” The series felt like it was slowing down to me, I wasn’t as ready to invest my time either. I spoke too soon, as there is so much to adore when you boot up Pokémon Sun.
Now, the seventh generation might start off similar to previous generations, but, that’s where the similarities end. You’re still a kid and you’ve moved to Alola, which is this world’s Hawaii. The new settings and the smaller cast of characters a more personal story and so charming!
Let’s talk about Alola – it’s easily the best region we’ve seen in Pokémon and it’s so charming and colorful I feel like not returning too soon would be a travesty to the exciting people and the land we explore. There’re tons to uncover and explore as you make your way through four islands that are different from each other.
Alola would be put to waste if Game Freak had kept the formula the same, too!
Gyms are nowhere to be found in Alola and are replaced by the very cool, very fun Island Challenges. You must complete a set of tasks and battles that lead to a leader battle that leads into a special battle with Totem Pokémon, beefed up and uncatchable Pokémon.
These challenging battles create for thoughtful battling which in turn engage the player, creating a new dynamic. The trials in Pokémon Sun and Moon reward you with Z-Crystals, these imbue your Pokémon with super strong attacks. Replacing the gym leaders are the Kahunas and Captains, by defeating captains you work your way up to the Kahunas of the island. There’s rewarding gameplay every time you face
Speaking of battles, this isn’t your dad’s Pokémon game. The general battling mechanics are the same, but, there’s a few new and welcome mechanics. You can learn which moves are effective against certain Pokémon after battling them by way of an indicator under every move in your arsenal. This allows for new and dynamic ways to battle. Wild Pokémon can also cry out for help and can bring in a second opponent, creating two on one battle.
Battle Royale allows four players to pick three of their Pokémon and enter them. Each trainer summons one Pokémon to enter and against the three others at the same time. It’s something I never knew I wanted in a Pokémon battle.
Game Freak has streamlined many menus in Pokemon Sun.They’ve done a solid job and have brought us Rotom, the Pokemon that lives inside your Pokedex. Rotom brings about hints and information during your journey.
Pokémon Sun and Moon have created a new adventure that sits atop the totem. It’s fresh, engaging, and colorful. The seventh generation of Pokémon titles has brought about the biggest change in the series’ long history, and there is no better way to celebrate Pokémon’s 20th anniversary than on Alola.