What is Pokemon Sun?
Pokemon Sun and Moon are a pair of monster raising, training and battling role playing games that see you travelling around the tropical Alola region to take on the Island Challenge. Playing as either a boy or a girl, you set off with your Pokemon in tow, ready to explore the region, find and catch new Pokemon, and battle your way to the top. Both versions of the game are essentially the same, with a nigh on identical story, although each version has its own set of exclusive Pokemon to catch - in order to catch 'em all, you'll need to find a friend with the opposite version to trade with.
How do you play Pokemon Sun?
In Pokemon Sun and Moon, your quest to become the best Pokemon trainer in the land will take you from island to island, and from town to town, as you seek out the captains and Kahunas you'll need to defeat. Rather than a Pokemon gym leader to defeat, Sun and Moon instead see you complete a number of quest for each island's captain, before you're let loose on that region's Kahuna - essentially their Pokemon training boss.
Exploration is really the name of the game, and you'll need to make your way through winding caves, twisting forests and snowy pathways to progress, sometimes in search of a specific character to progress the story. For example, fairly early in the game you need to help the Professor's assistant Lillie track down her escaped Pokemon, Nebby, in a field of flowers - while another section sees you battling an angry Taurus on a farm to calm it down.
Speaking of battling, during your journey you'll meet plenty of other Pokemon trainers and wild Pokemon who'll engage you in battle. Simple, turn-based affairs, you and your opponent choose a Pokemon, and then pick one of it's four moves to use, in an effort to come out on top. Different Pokemon have different elemental strengths and weaknesses - fire beats grass, water beats fire etc - and making use of these will give you the strategic edge in battle. As such, it's in your interests to create as varied a team of six Pokemon as you can, so you have something to cover all eventualities.
How easy is Pokemon Sun to pick up and play?
A good introduction to more complicated role-playing games, Pokemon is fairly easy to get your head round - you simply move from town to town, battling Pokemon and building up your collection of critters, until you can become the best Pokemon Trainer in the Alola region. Thanks to the new 'talking' Rotom Pokedex, you always have your next destination marked on the map, so getting lost in the fairly sizeable world is unlikely. However, it's important to note that Pokemon Sun and Moon are both unvoiced, and with important instructions about where to head next/what to do next relayed entirely through text, a solid reading ability is a must here.
While your Pokemon can't die, they can be defeated in battle, and should all your Pokemon run out of health mid-fight, you'll find yourself being returned to the nearest Pokemon Centre, at which point you can just heal up your team and try again - or perhaps train up a bit more first. As in all Pokemon games, battling and training your Pokemon is essential in Sun and Moon, as the more you use Pokemon in battle, the more experience they'll earn, letting them level up, grow stronger, and learn new moves, meaning the only thing standing between you and finishing the game is perseverance. Bear in mind that you will need to save manually too, via the main menu (opened with the X button) as there's no autosave.
- "Kahuna Hala is the strongest Pokemon Trainer on all of Melemele! But I guess he must be off helping someone train right now. I don't see him anywhere."
- "Let's get a move on to the next town over, cousin! Time for you to meet the Island Kahuna and get yourself a Pokemon, yeah!"
- "I gotta catch more Pokemon! Pokemon with cool knees are so neat."
Like most Nintendo games, both Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon feature little in the way of mature content. There's no bad language, no sex scenes and no blood or gore to speak of at all. The game's very minor violence, meanwhile, is limited to the Pokemon battles, in which the creatures perform various basic moves (like swipes, tackles, kicks) and more dramatic attacks (like beams, or causing earthquakes) until one 'faints' from exhaustion. Attacks are non-realistic and cartoonish in nature, with many showing no physical contact at all, with moves accompanied by bright flashes of light and impact sounds. There's no obvious lasting damage or wounds shown at all.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo 3DS