Pokémon Sun and Moon – Ready for a sunny holiday on a budget this winter?

Pokémon Sun and Moon – Ready for a sunny holiday on a budget this winter?

Mariana Hurtado
Bern, on 02.12.2016

Get your sunscreen and bathing suit ready, because we are travelling to the warm islands of Alola for the adventure of a lifetime. At our side: The battle monsters from Pokémon Sun and Moon.

As a trainer who started her journey in Hoenn 13 years ago, there’s just so much I want to say about this game. But it will mostly be a comparison to the previous games, so if you are not familiar with the Pokémon world but are considering starting now, you just need to know: This is the most beginner-friendly version I’ve played so far (Pokémon XD doesn’t count) but be prepared to be treated like a five-year-old in what feels like a very long tutorial disguised as the introduction of the game. You’ll enjoy it though; I know I did.

Now for my fellow trainers: let’s get down to business!

Rinse and repeat no more

Forget all you know about gyms, gym leaders, the Pokémon League, elite four and the like. Game Freak did an outstanding job of reinventing the game while keeping all the basics we love about Pokémon. To tell you the truth, it was a hard transition for me but mostly for the better. Let’s be honest, the formula was getting a bit old. It worked for me for a long time, but I’m glad we have a new challenge ahead of us.

The island world of Alola is waiting to be conquered by you

With its new, more complex story and more details, the game sometimes felt a bit slow, particularly at the beginning. However, it now features more content and tries to get you emotionally involved with the characters around you.

The starters are beautiful, except for the water type one. As a water trainer, it was the hardest choice of my life to stay faithful to my type and go for Popplio. But once it evolved to Primarina, it was so worth it.

Some of the new Pokémons you’ll see: Popplio, Rowlet, Litten and President Elect, Gumshoos.

The music is great. Enjoy the good old oldies during evolutions and battles in the Pokémon Center. Then there are the songs of this Hawaii-inspired new region with the sound of the sea in the background. What a great way to dream myself away from this grey cold concrete jungle.

A particular change that I really liked was getting the Exp. Share EP-Teiler almost at the beginning of the game. HELL YEAH! And what’s this? Don’t tell me it works with all the Pokémons on your party at the same time?! HELL EFFIN YEAH!

Considering that the last game I played before this was Black and White (hey, it was either Pokémon or a real life degree, it was a hard choice), the 3D really blew me away. It took me a while to get used to the camera angles though, which are phenomenal during a fight. Don’t believe me? Just do nothing for a minute in a duel against a Caterpie – it soon turns into the most thrilling thing ever.


As usual, you’ll meet the new local Pokémon, but on the way you’ll also encounter a fine selection of creatures from all the previous regions. You should have seen my face when I got a peek at Luvdisc at the Pokémon Research Lab.

I love you too, old friend.

I remember being introduced to the household appliance Pokémon Rotom on a Friday night in an old chateau in Pokémon Pearl. Well, he’s back, but as a new upgrade for your Pokedex and he’s adorable. So, he’s a Rotom Dex now.

There are more options now to interact with your Pokémon, like Pokémon Refresh, where you can pet and give treats to your companions or groom them after a messy battle. There’s also Poke Pelago, a group of islands designated for the leisure of your captured Pokémons who aren’t in your party.

Come for the weather, stay for the fights

Back in the day, rivals went straight for the monster that was strongest against your starter. But this time, Hau, who’s supposed to be your nemesis, not only chooses one weaker than yours but also one that’s super nice and friendly during the whole thing. Being the competitive trainer I am, I found it very irritating and frustrating at times. He was not a challenge – not once. But for beginners or people who don’t take the whole thing as seriously as I do, that might be a good thing. I’ll keep repeating to myself that this is just a game, while you go ahead.

Very early on you’ll notice the lack of gyms and Pokémon league, and, instead, will be facing what is called the Island Challenge. After clearing each trial, you’ll receive a Z-Stone that will allow you to unravel a fatality-like type of move just once during battle. I’ll miss the clever traps from the gyms, though.

If you you’ve already encountered a type of Pokémon before, you’ll notice that the effectiveness of the attacks will be shown below your Pokémon’s moves. That renders more than a decade of memorizing and studying the types of moves invalid, but it’s still pretty useful.

Another new introduction are double battles against wild Pokémons, in which the latter call for back-up from their surroundings. This proved to be very useful when looking for an Eevee in the wild for breeding purposes. They are already quite rare and finding a female one is almost impossible. Just engage in battle against the first one you meet, keep killing their sidekicks until they summon a girl – bam!

Come at me bro... Nevermind

Most of the fights against other trainers are optional, even giving you the chance to recover before facing them. The bad guys this time are called Team Skull, and they are hilarious. It’s really hard to take them seriously and the face they make when you beat them is priceless.

Nice extras


Some little details have changed as well, and for the better.

  • For starters, you can buy new clothes for your character, change and combine outfits.
  • Now all Pokémon have their own QR Code.
  • There’s a dedicated button for Pokeballs.
  • You gain Exp. Points even if you capture the Pokémon.
  • You can choose to add the recently captured creature to your party on the spot.
  • Technical Machines (TM) can be used unlimited times.
  • Instead of Hidden Machines (HM), you get a Pokémon butler at your service. So if you want to fly to the other island or cross the sea, you can actually summon a Charizard or a Lapras!
As soon as you scan it you’ll get the entry in your Pokedex

There are just so many other things I would love to talk about, but in a nutshell, I must admit I really enjoyed it because and in spite of all the changes. Well, I must go, I’ve gotta catch them all! *gets on a Charizard and dramatically flies away*

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Mariana Hurtado
Mariana Hurtado

Grafik-Designerin, Bern

I might be a graphic designer, a Pokémon trainer and tech-savvy but I'm no creative writer. I'm on a non-stop quest against bad design. Since 2014, I call Switzerland my home.


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