Praise the Sun, the demo for Pokemon Sun and Moon has released for us all to play. In such a limited time I have enjoyed this demo for all the content it has to offer me.
How Pokemon Sun and Moon Plays
Pokemon Sun and Moon offers the biggest change since X and Y introduced 3D. The setting of the game is the tropical-themed Alola Region with your character having recently moved from Hoenn. Ash’s Greninja from the X and Y anime is in your mailbox (Transferrable to the full game when it’s released). After collecting the Pokemon, you and your mother explore the surrounding town of Alola.
The game tries to guide you on a linear path, but if you’re anything like me you went everywhere which wasn’t where the game wanted you to be, moving your character around the decent sized map for a demo.
And when this character moves, he actually looks like he has a weight to the characters movements. The character is a normally proportioned human being as opposed to being super deformed of past games. There are multiple articulations in the movements. For example, his hands raise when he enters the tall grass, the series well-known way where wild Pokemon jump out and attack you.
When Pokemon Attack
When it comes time to fight off wild Pokemon, what jumps out to me is how different the UI is. My first real Pokemon game was Diamond back in 2007, and since then the UI of the battle screens hasn’t really changed much, a large attack button in the centre, and three buttons at the bottom for using items, running and switching Pokemon.
In Pokemon Sun and Moon, the run button is in the bottom center, the attack button is on the right, while the switch pokemon and items button are on the left. Replacing the center attack button are any pokemon currently participating in the battle. Tapping on the pokemon brings up its name, level, gender and any status currently effecting them. And for the first time, you show up behind your pokemon for the entire battle, and your pokemon don’t generate little islands for them to be on during battle. Interested to see how they handle water Pokemon.
Trainer battles also have an improved style to them. Trainers will also show up behind their pokemon and give orders. Unlike previous games, Trainers portraits are in 3d.
Perhaps my favourite new effect is that as you get closer to trainers, a Letterbox style slowly comes into the screen and when you get close, a giant exclamation mark falls onto the screen.
The demo also introduces the concept of Z-moves to the game. These are super strong attacks that are only once per battle, preceded by a Power Rangers-esque pose, but if used right would probably mean the one hit use wouldn’t matter. I can’t help but think that Z-moves will replace Mega Evolutions. Mega Evolutions are not shown and you must wear a bracelet very similar to the Mega Evolution bracelet for Z-moves to work. Pure speculation by this writer, but I can see it coming.
Pokemon Sun and Moon‘s New Stuff
What jumps out to me instantly from the gameplay and the trailer it gives you at the end is that the game seems to be fading out HM moves, like fly, swim and rock break. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire experimented with this by giving you either Latias or Latios to fly around with. In Sun and Moon, you can physically ride a Tauros to mash down boulders, rather than having to carry around a Pokemon exactly for the use. I for once welcome our new non-HM overlords. It removes the ‘HM slave’ from playing, which has long been a term of the complaint and something I personally didn’t like in the game.
The bottom screen carries a computer that looks’s like Rotom’s Wash Form. At the current time, all it does is display ads for buying the full game or watching the trailer, but it does have a short gameplay aspect to it, but in the full game ends up being the PokeDex. The ‘mission’ you go on during the demo is to capture photographs of new Pokemon Hakamo-o and Jangmo-o using the Pokedex, for purposes of a rite of passage known as the ‘Island Challenge’. And towards the end of this, you fight a Totem Pokemon, giant versions of regular Pokemon with special abilities, like calling ally Pokemon in to fight you.
The Pokemon Sun and Moon Gangsta Squad
Pokemon Sun and Moon Is going for a much more casual vibe than previous games. There’s no Pokemon League, but there is Island Kahuna’s to beat on your quest to become the strongest Pokemon trainer, rather than a Champion.
To top this off we have Team Skull. While previous games have given us greats like Team Aqua, who planned to wipe out humanity so Pokemon could live a carefree life, and Team Plasma, which questioned the morality of the series itself. Sun and Moon gives us Team Skull, a group of hilariously stereotypical gangsta’s in the hood, with even a style of walking that involves throwing gang signs everywhere.
If I’m to be honest, Team Skull was one of the only things I don’t like about Pokemon Sun and Moon. Before, villains had some grand and evil scheme to control the world. From what I’ve seen from the demo, it would surprise me if Team Skull had such ambitions beyond ‘stealing Pokemon’.
I got rather good vibes from the Pokemon Sun and Moon demo. The new additions to the over world gameplay seem tight and efficient, while the revamped battle UI and information come as a well-needed plus to the games. My only worry is Team Skull, and I hope Game Freak writes them well.
And before I leave, here’s our very own Editor-In-Chief Dazza’s play-through of the Pokemon Sun and Moon demo:
(All images via Dazza’s youtube video)