Pokemon Sun/Moon‘s release is incredibly close, and with the game itself making some pretty impressive strides to break out of the mold of the previous games, there are many new features that we can’t wait to experience for ourselves. The Island Challenge, all new Pokemon forms, Z-moves, the Rotom Pokedex, and so much more await us on November 18th 2016, when the games launch for 3DS.
With Pokemon having been designed as relatively formulaic from its inception, it will be nice to play a game that breathes new life into the franchise. The last three Pokemon games have introduced new features of course, but the basic format has stayed the same. It is also possible that because of these new leaps, Sun/Moon will definitely entice some fans that have left the franchise to come back to it.
Experiencing the Island Challenge
For the first time in any Pokemon game ever, there will be no gyms to challenge. Instead Pokemon Sun/Moon is replacing the gym system with something called “The Island Challenge” which involves completing challenges on all four islands given to the player by trial captains. These could be anything from finding items to completing tests of knowledge. At the end of each trial, you must fight a Totem Pokemon, which is much larger than that of its species and is enveloped in a special aura. Totem Pokemon engage in SOS battles, in which they enlist other Pokemon as allies.
This battle structure is much different than anything we have seen before, as this will be the first time Pokemon fight together on their own without a trainer. In fact, it is somewhat like the Pokemon itself becomes a trainer, instructing fellow Pokemon in battle. And to complete their challenge, the trainer battles the kahuna of each island in the Grand Trial, which is still reminiscent of a gym battle, because of the status gained from winning.
Building Our Own Pokemon League
In Alola, a Pokemon League has not yet been built. It’s up to you as a trainer to create a legacy with the first step of your journey. There are plans to construct a league on top of a mountain peak. It will be interesting to see exactly how the game structures the Pokemon League.
Will it still have the same structure, with an Elite Four and a reigning Champion for you to defeat, or will you be the first Champion crowned? The mystery surrounding the League is part of the fun and excitement. The Alola region is already teeming with so much uniqueness, so it’s likely that the Pokemon League will have an Alolan twist to it as well.
Battling Using Z-Moves
Nintendo has always been crafty in the sense that they have introduced something new to the existing battle style with each game. Triple and Rotation battles, for example, were introduced in Pokemon Black and White. Mega Evolution was introduced in Pokemon X and Y and continued through to Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Pokemon Sun and Moon seems to be continuing this trend, introducing Z-moves to spice up its battle style. Z-moves exist for every different type, and is used once per battle, with the same limitations as Mega Evolution.
Known Z-moves include Guardian of Alola, which the tapu (guardian deity Pokemon) exclusively use, with a huge avatar appearing to attack the opposing Pokemon, dealing damage equal to 75% of the target’s remaining HP. Pikachu’s is called Catastropika, where Pikachu borrows its trainer’s strength, wraps itself in high voltage electric power, and charges into its opponent. Snorlax even gets its time in the spotlight, waking up for once with Pulverizing Pancake, a move that showcases its immense strength.
Bonding With Our Pokemon Via Pokemon Refresh
Much like X and Y’s Pokemon Amie, Pokemon Refresh allows trainers to bond with their Pokemon. With Refresh, however, it goes a step further. You can care for your Pokemon after a battle by cleaning them, curing their status conditions, and petting and feeding them Pokebeans. If your Pokemon grow very attached to you and your bond is strong, they will battle at their best for you.
They can even avoid attacks from opposing Pokemon and hold out longer in battle. It is unclear whether you will be able to play mini games like in Pokemon Amie with Pokemon Refresh. However, the fact that Refresh expands on the Amie system by allowing you to clean and cure your Pokemon is especially exciting. Because who doesn’t wish that Pokemon were real?
PC Boxes Are Now Islands Where Pokemon Can Have Fun
PC Boxes used to be some pretty boring places to store Pokemon. The Alola region brings the Poke Pelago, a series of Isles where your Pokemon can explore, play, and have fun. If you send a lot of Pokemon here, you can develop facilities on your isles. You can do things like obtain items or raise your Pokemon if your isles are successful. In addition, Pokemon that visit from Isle Abeens, which you can visit right off the bat, may take a liking to you and want to join your party.
This unique feature takes something that most players didn’t think twice about in previous games, and now gives it an entirely new dimension of interaction. Instead of a boring box where your Pokemon sit and do nothing, you get a smaller, game within a game type scenario that is certain to keep players coming back for more to develop their Isles.