Here’s how a Pokémon game works: Choose a starter (Usually a Fire-type because YES dammit), catch ‘em all, level up and beat eight gym leaders. With eight badges in your collection, you’ll hit the usual Victory Road and finally the Elite Four before you challenge the Pokémon champ of your region. The same procedure as every year then.
Except not this year James, although do watch out for that Arcanine fur carpet please. This year, Pokémon Sun and Moon is taking a familiar gameplay formula and overhauling the mission mechanics that have been consistent for two decades now. No more working your way towards a themed gym, as trainers will instead tackle Island Challenges as they prove themselves worthy of being crowned the Alolan champ.
The same goes for the main campaign challenge, as there’s no Pokémon League presence available here at all. Instead, the press release described something else. Which I copied and pasted below, because I’m lazier than a Snorlax:
In previous adventures in the Pokémon series, the Pokémon League was always the ultimate stage for battle. The Pokémon League housed the Elite Four (four Pokémon Trainers with powerful Pokémon partners) and the Champion (who reigned as the region’s top Trainer), all awaiting challengers. In the Alola region, there is no Pokémon League yet—but it seems that there are plans to construct one at the peak of a certain mountain.
After your major achievement in completing the island challenge, will the day come when you also take on the Pokémon League to become the strongest Pokémon Trainer?
Somewhere in Alola, you’ll find the Battle Tree. It’s a place where Trainers who have completed their island challenge, or who are strong enough to have done so, battle one another. You can scout an opponent you’ve battled against so they can partner and fight alongside you in future battles. You may even see some familiar faces, including the Trainers Red and Blue from the Kanto region!
Waitaminute, Red and Blue? The original dynamic duo? Yep, they’re back in action in Pokémon Sun and Moon. Here’s what the pair look like after the ravages of time have taken a toll on them:
In addition to that, the latest trailer revealed some brand new pocket monsters, because who needs a surprise at this point right?
The Arrow Quill Pokémon Decidueye is the fully evolved form of the Grass- and Flying-type first-partner Pokémon Rowlet. Decidueye attacks with astonishing speed, plucking arrow quills from its wings to send them hurtling towards its target with precise aim. This Pokémon is able to move about whilst completely masking its presence from others. Decidueye is the only Pokémon that can learn the move Spirit Shackle. This new Ghost-type move hits an opponent and makes it unable to leave the battle—it can’t flee or switch out.
The Heel Pokémon Incineroar is the fully evolved form of the Fire-type first-partner Pokémon Litten. As Incineroar’s fighting spirit increases, the flames it produces within its body burst from its navel and waistline. These flames resemble a championship belt, which it uses to unleash its moves. Incineroar is the only Pokémon able to learn the move Darkest Lariat. This new Dark-type physical attack allows Incineroar to deal damage to an enemy whilst ignoring the effects of any stat changes on that enemy.
The Soloist Pokémon Primarina is the fully evolved form of the Water-type first-partner Pokémon Popplio. As Primarina dances, it releases balloons of water and controls their movement using the sound waves from its voice. Primarina uses some of these balloons to jump on and maneuver in battle whilst others explode when touched, which can trigger chained explosions. Primarina is the only Pokémon that can learn Sparkling Aria, a new Water-type special move which heals the burns of any target it strikes.
The Nebula Pokémon Cosmog is extremely rare, known only to a select few across Alola. Named by the Aether Foundation, Cosmog is very curious, and its gaseous body is so lightweight that it’s sent flying when the wind blows. When light falls on the Pokémon, Cosmog can absorb it and grow bigger.
Alolan Persian is highly intelligent and doesn’t like to grow attached to its Trainer, making it something of a difficult Pokémon to have as a battle partner. The round face of Alolan Persian is a symbol of the rich Alola region, and it is held to be a Pokémon of great beauty. Its exquisite coat shines with the glow of high quality and enchants both humans and Pokémon. For this reason, it is a very popular Pokémon in the Alola region.
Tapu Lele is the guardian deity of Akala island. This Pokémon scatters glowing scales that have physical effects on others—providing stimulation to their bodies and healing their illnesses or injuries. Tapu Lele has the Ability Psychic Surge, an Ability that no other Pokémon has previously had. With Psychic Surge, the field will be turned into Psychic Terrain, which boosts the power of any Psychic-type moves used by Pokémon on the ground and prevents them from being hit by priority moves.
Tapu Bulu is the guardian deity of Ula’ula Island. This Pokémon has the power to manipulate vegetation and cause it to grow. It can use this power to make its wooden horns change shape and grow larger. Tapu Bulu has the Ability Grassy Surge, an Ability that no other Pokémon has previously had. With Grassy Surge, the field will be turned into Grassy Terrain, boosting the power of any Grass-type moves used by Pokémon on the ground and restoring a bit of HP to them each turn. It also halves the damage taken from the moves Earthquake, Magnitude and Bulldoze.
Tapu Fini is the guardian deity of Poni Island. This Pokémon is able to attack by manipulating water. It does not like to risk being harmed during battle, so it creates a thick fog to disorient its opponents and lead them to their own destruction. Tapu Fini has the Ability Misty Surge, an Ability that no other Pokémon has previously had.
With Misty Surge, the field will be turned into Misty Terrain, halving the damage taken by Pokémon on the ground from Dragon-type moves and preventing them from being afflicted with status conditions or confusion. All of the guardian deities can use the special Z-Move Guardian of Alola. When using this Z-Move, the Pokémon closes its shell and a huge avatar appears from the ground to attack the opposing Pokémon, dealing damage equal to 75 percent of the target’s remaining HP.
Pokémon Sun and Moon drops next month. Or if you’re hungry for some Pikachu (the other other white meat), you can jump into a demo right now.
Last Updated: October 28, 2016