It’s Pokémon’s 20th anniversary. They’ve given us event after event this year. Plenty of mythical Pokémon events, Pokémon Go, the Pokémon anime had one of it’s best seasons and a well-animated YouTube series of Pokémon shorts. All this was in culmination for the greatest release this year: Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon.
But the question is, does Pokémon Sun live up to the hype? Let’s find out.
Pokémon Sun: The Review
In the beginning, I was worried about the absence of gyms. Gyms had been the staple in every Pokémon game. Pokémon Sun, however, was different. Instead of going from gym to gym, you tackle different trials at the hands of the trial captains.
These trials were unique and varied enough that it never felt boring, or as if it was a chore. In one trial you search for Pokémon hiding out in the walls, and in another you gather ingredients for a special dish. There were plenty of ideas and each trial presented its own challenge.
The Totem Pokémon (this game’s bosses) were a challenge as well. I had a good time fighting them and was surprised that a single Pokémon could put up such a fight.
The Poké Pelago is tons of fun as well. It’s a bunch of little islands where you send your boxed Pokémon to get stronger. There are islands to build affinity, hatch eggs, level up, boost stats, plant berries, etc.
You get beans from isle beans in Poké Pelago to develop the islands. Over time the tree on the island produces the beans on its own.
You can also use these beans in the new feature called Pokémon Refresh. Pokémon Refresh is essentially an improved Pokémon-Amie, if you are familiar with that in Pokémon X and Y. You can feed your Pokémon beans which boost their affinity towards you. Doing this provides you with in-game battle boosts such as not flinching, or preventing one-hit Kos.
You can also heal Pokémon’s status ailments received in battle from Pokémon Refresh as well. If you’re Pokémon gets burned, then you can simply take care of it in Pokémon Refresh after the battle which is nice.
There are a couple of gripes that I have with the game. Although they are minor.
Fishing in Pokémon Sun is a nightmare. Going from Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire to this is a serious downgrade. Most great fish that you can catch in the game have a 1% spawn rate, and you can only fish at specific areas. It took me an hour to catch Mareanie for example. This is tedious and annoying, especially for those trying to complete the dex.
Overall, the game is the best it’s ever been. There’s a lot of improvements in Pokémon Sun.
The story in Pokémon Sun is great. Would I say it’s the best in the series? Probably not. (Considering Pokémon Black and Pokémon White’s stories were phenomenal)
Team Skull, however, is freaking amazing. Whoever thought of Team Skull deserves a medal. They were unique, well-written, and immersive characters. They were full of pizzaz! Team Skull made me chuckle simply because their dialogue and hand gestures were so great.
The story succeeded in setting a great tone throughout the game as well. It was refreshing, new, and more relaxing. It wasn’t intense, but laid-back. I enjoyed this a lot. It was a tone that wasn’t necessarily present in the other Pokémon games. Naturally, this makes sense, because (no surprise) the Alola region is based on Hawaii. They definitely nailed it.
The plot wasn’t anything too crazy, and kind of predictable. But I still enjoyed every bit of it. The character dialogue was great, and the expressions on the character’s faces went right along with the story. (Excluding the main character)
The art in Pokémon Sun is amazing. The best it’s ever been in any Pokémon game. It portrays a Hawaiian feel so well, and it’s gorgeous to look at. The sunrise and sundown parts were particularly pretty.
The main characters have great expressions, and I enjoy having the trainers in the battles.
Having trainer customization is great in this game as well. Especially since Pokémon Sun is a universal game, it’s nice to see so many different styles.
The visuals alone make this game a must play.
I LOVE the music in Pokémon Sun. The music is the best it’s ever been. The new Pokémon catch jingle is intoxicating. I love the new tuba countermelody that plays while the original jingle plays. It was delicious.
Hau’s theme (your rival) was particularly good and I couldn’t get it out of my head for days after hearing it.
Team Skull’s theme was also great. It created a great contrast to the rest of the game’s music and used a lot of new age electronic sound engineering.
It was great to listen to, and I kept my headphones in for most of the game. (Something I don’t usually do in 3DS games).
Pokémon Sun struck the perfect balance between welcoming new players and returning old school gamers. The Totem Pokémon were difficult, but having the Exp. Share made things balanced. Having the Exp. Share gave trainers the opportunity to use more of the Pokémon in the game. Even the late game stuff like Vulpix or Crabominable.
There’s plenty of custom options you can put in. If you want it more hardcore, then turn off the Exp. Share. Want the game to go faster? Turn off animations. All these features let you play Pokémon the way you want to play, and that is what makes Pokémon Sun so amazing.
Go play Pokémon Sun. Whether you are new to the series, returning, or a long time Pokémon player, this game will make you smile. There is good solid fun to be had in this game. Don’t miss out on a great adventure.
- Poké pelago is a trainer's best friend
- Gameplay is at it's finest
- Music is relaxing
- Game's environment sucks you in
- Challenges are a nice change in pace from gym leaders
- Fishing is an issue
- 1% spawn rate Pokémon are infuriating