Nov 13, 2019

Sun is shining in the Alolian sky. Pokémon Sun (Moon) impressions

A review of the games Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon
On one particular planet of the imaginary Universe, mysterious creatures, named Pokémon, live alongside humans and… (do they even have normal birds, and fish, and animals out there?). Some brave guys and girls of that world leave their homes at an early age to become glorious Pokémon trainers. They travel across the land, catch wild Pokémon, and participate in countless battles. Their journeys are known on our Earth as core games of the Pokémon series, developed by Game Freak and published by The Pokémon Company and Nintendo.

Adventures of those trainers take place in various regions and Pokémon of various generations are involved in them. Gamers should delve quite deep into this topic to understand the whole pre-history. One article on the Very Good Games blog may become a significant help for you – “Pokémon universe: games, regions, and generations. A guide to the main series”.

In November 2016, the adventures moved to the Alola region and we get known the 7th Generation of Pokémon – the games Pokémon Sun and Moon were released for the Nintendo 3DS consoles. What are these games inside of the Pokémon world? And what are they in the much wider world of gaming? I would like to share my impressions after finishing the Sun version and completing my Pokédex in this game.

The game develops:
#Memory     #Logic     #Planning     #Constancy     #Improvisation

A fresh view

Before Pokémon Sun, I played only the Red version, the very first game of the series – and I haven’t finished it (maybe later). So, while playing, I couldn’t compare Sun and other core games in many slight details. And this is good in a way. It’s nice to have a fresh view of the game.

Still, I’m quite familiar with the franchise. I watched the anime and played a lot of Pokémon Duel, Pokémon Go, and Pokémon Shuffle Mobile. This is a good basis for entering the impressively huge world of those creatures.

Core games – Spinoffs

The first powerful impression is – the primary series is much, much better than the side-adventures. You can be surprised by the hype around Pokémon and even try to understand it by delving into Pokémon Go or watching the anime. Still, only the original RPGs give that feeling. “Oh, now I know why so many people are rather obsessed with Pokémon Sword and Shield, the next core games in the series.”

The path of a Pokémon trainer

Alola is an interpretation of Hawaii. We have four big islands here with a big variety of natural areas: forests, snowy mountains, deserts… You can explore caves and ride two Water-type Pokémon in the sea. You can fly on Charizard or ride Tauros and Stoutland to move faster in the location. Exploration is a totally amazing component of Pokémon Sun/Moon. And yep, you can ride some special creatures – this is one of the new features, introduced in these games.

The main hero is a good explorer, but seeing the virtual world is only a part of their in-game life. Like all the other trainers of the core games, the main character of Sun/Moon has two other exciting entertainments:
  • the story;
  • Pokémon collecting.
The story is cute and interesting. I never found myself too involved in it, and still, I waited for its continuation. Something in the plot is in a good way weird to me, but the dialogues are not boring to read, the characters are not unnecessary artificial, and the whole storytelling doesn’t annoy players but gently motivates them to move forward in the game.

Pokémon collecting is one of the primary attractions of the series. “Gotta catch ‘em all” – this motto was introduced in the first season of the Pokémon anime series, and it still is powerful for many players. The process of collecting is much longer than the game story. I filled my Pokédex long after watching the final credits. But I never regretted the decision to “catch them all”, even while spending hours hunting a specific creature. The trading feature makes the process much simpler, and sometimes it is impossible to avoid it. Also, the idea of collecting all the Pokémon allowed me to remain in the game after the story was finished – and some parts of the story continued. The developers took care of making the post-story experience joyful to the max. (advice – feel free to check out info about particular creatures on the Internet. Without knowing some tricky facts, you will spend too much time guessing how to find a specific Pokémon or how to evolve them).

Another part of the game makes the Pokémon Sun and Moon experience much longer than collecting all the creatures and even playing both games – multiplayer Pokémon battles. It is a typical esports, very demanding for your skills. Players should know their own Pokémon and their opponents’ fighters perfectly well to understand how to start with a specific creature, how to avoid some powerful effects, and which moves/items to use in different situations. I tried the multiplayer mode a few times but stopped after experiencing one specific scenario. A few opponents in a row used Mimikuy as their starting Pokémon. Their first move was boosting the speed, so they start all the following turns. My Pokémon strike first but Mimikyu gets no damage from a first hit. Then, it became vulnerable but I never had a chance to win – opponents make their attacks first and the ghost power of Mimikyu destroys them immediately. Even if I could defeat the creature, the following opponents finished my exhausted crew easily. This is only an example of possible scenarios and only my personal experience – I know, it’s possible to come up with a solution for such situations but I wasn’t motivated enough to do so. Multiplayer battles are not for everyone to enjoy. They are super competitive and time demanding – but maybe they are exactly your cup of tea. Try them out to know for sure.

After 130+ hours of playing

I like this game very much and look forward to new adventures in the Pokémon world. Still, some aspects of Sun can be improved.

- The Alola region is colourful and beautiful. It’s nice to be here, feel the general atmosphere. But visuals could be much better technically. The Nintendo 3DS systems have an absolutely outdated screen resolution, so the game picture looks a bit weird. It’s easy to get used to this, especially because this is a problem of the device, not the game itself.

- The story and side battles weren’t really challenging for me. Considering my struggles to succeed in multiplayer, it’s hard to call me a super-skilled trainer. The game sometimes is too easy – especially if you collect many Pokémon along the way and develop your crew. This is a minor observation, and the difficulty level is understandable because many players are small children.

- The game offers so many activities that it’s super easy to get distracted from the main action. Festival Plaza and Poké Pelago are like games inside the game. I felt them as good entertainment just for a short period.

- Z-moves are too powerful – I mean their animation, not the battle effects. I often find myself thinking about how cruel it looks to make Pokémon fight each other. The game authors explain that these creatures love such fights, it’s their way of living. But some Z-moves look a bit like fatalities in Mortal Kombat, and I don’t like to use them. For example, Inferno Overdrive is almost like exploding a nuclear bomb.

- The game has a photo mode to take pictures of wild Pokémon. Still, it would be much better to take pics of new creatures in your collection or some moments of the playing process. This is again a limitation of the console, and still, the inability to make screenshots is disappointing. I had to take photos of the whole device to share the best moments, and it’s not a perfect solution at all. 

The Moon version

I’ve played Pokémon Sun and haven’t compared it to Moon in practice. Having both games is collectors’ joy but not gamers’ need (oh yes, I’ve got the Moon card). These versions have only slight differences:
  • Pokémon Moon starts at night but it also has the usual day-night cycle. 
  • The story has some specific features. 
  • There are a few Moon exclusive Pokémon. You can get them from the trades.

Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

In November 2017, enhanced versions of the games were released – Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. They introduced some new features, such as the possibility to surf across the seas, collect special stickers to get big Totem-sized Pokémon, and use new Z-Moves.

Player got new Ultra Beasts – Pokémon from another dimension, new forms of Solgaleo and Lunala, the main legendary Pokémon of the original games, a Dusk evolution Lycanroc, and an upgraded Rotom-Pokédex.

The differences are not too big. I believe, the experience in one of the four versions is enough for a player to move forward in their gaming life – there are so many other amazing games to explore, including those of the Pokémon series. But maybe this game gives you so much joy that you want to re-play it. Then why not get a fresh version?

Games that introduce the VII Generation of Pokémon - they are of the core RPG series: Pokémon Sun and Moon, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.


This aspect of the game is worthy of a specific mentioning. The music is amazing. Some melodies from Pokémon Sun and Moon are among the best I heard in video games. 

The soundtrack is available separately as Pokémon Sun & Pokémon Moon: Super Music Collection.

Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon are almost excellent games. Still, they are quite specific in its core. You should like turn-based battles with random encounters of opponents to enjoy the gameplay. And you should like the anime style to delve into the game properly.

For me, the game was a wonderful experience, and I heartily recommend giving it a try. Don’t try to catch them all if you don’t feel in the mood for this – the story mode may be enough for many gamers.

To play Pokemon Sun, buy the game through the official site:

A button to purchase Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon for Nintendo 3DS

The finish of the story mode in the game Pokémon Sun on Nintendo 3DS

See also…
If you are into portable gaming, you may be interested in my review of PlayStation Vita. It’s a competitive device to Nintendo 3DS, but why limit yourself to one only brand or style?

A review of the portable game console PlayStation Vita on the gaming blog Very Good Games

The gaming blog Very Good Games have a few free online RPGs to offer:

A collection of free online role-playing games for computers and mobile devices