Game Review: Pokémon Sun and Moon



Logo designs for Pokemon Sun and Moon

Pokémon is world renown for being a widely successful series that Nintendo and Game Freak produce, next to other series such as Mario and the Legend of Zelda. Recently, on November 18th, the newest games  in the Pokémon series have been released: Sun and Moon. Only a week has gone by and the game has, for many, surpassed expectations, whilst others argue the creators may be running out of ideas. One thing is for sure; the game, like it’s predecessors, has been a success.

One notable accessory about the game-play itself is the new attention to detail. Where in the original games the backgrounds and characters are depicted in minuscule pixels, the graphics in the new games have been phenomenally enhanced. Instead of a flat, 2D, colorless background, players get a view of a vibrant, detail-filled island, able to see some of the tiniest things there are to see. Another is the movement of the character. In previous games, the player was locked in a left-up-right-down keypad, whereas in the new games, players are free to roam in whatever manner they please.

the series has made fantastic strides in being more inclusive

— Abbey McGee

Many have noticed that the game concept itself has changed. The creators took a brave leap with Sun and Moon, choosing to discard the traditional gym leaders and Hidden Moves, and instead replacing them with trials and ride Pokémon. In the past games, players would battle gym leaders as a show of skill, but in the new games, the gym leaders have been taken out and were replaced with trial captains, who challenge the player to a trial of their choosing, rather than battle them. Hidden Moves, which were movesets critical to reaching hidden places, have also been taken out, and replaced with Ride Pokémon, which are companions the player calls upon to help get to those seemingly unreachable places.

The general story of Pokémon stays the same, however. The player begins with a character and companion of their choosing, they’re challenged by their rival, and there is generally an evil organization working behind the scenes to prevent the players from reaching their goal. There are some notable highlights to the story, though. When the character is choosing their persona, there is now 8 different designs to choose from, 4 considered boys and 4 considered girls, ranging from light to dark skin. The rival, named Hau, is a dark-skinned person of color, the first rival to be designed this way. The organization behind the scenes, the Aether Foundation, has the first female team leader in the main series, named Lusamine. Clearly, Pokémon has begun working on a more progressive and inclusive story line, one for people of all races, genders, and ages.

All in all, the new Pokémon games have been a hit. Many consider the differences to be a highlight of the games, whereas some want the games to go back to its original roots. I personally believe the series has made fantastic strides in being more inclusive, and Sun and Moon have shown a peak of improvement in that regard. The Pokémon series, especially Sun and Moon, is a fun and intense series for anyone to play, of all ages, and of all backgrounds.