Pokémon Go caught the world’s attention this summer, proving to be one of the biggest mobile games of all time. While the thrill of finding and capturing the original generation of creatures on smartphones brought Pokémon to a whole new audience, the next proper installment in the series is still on the horizon. Sun and Moon are coming to the 3DS in November, and seem to be bringing the biggest changes to the series since Red and Blue. If you have lost interest in the franchise, these might be the games to bring you back. We’ve compiled and explained some of the brand new features in Sun and Moon to show how this generation of Pokémon is truly unlike anything that has come before.
The main objective of every Pokémon game has been the same since 1996. While training your team of super powered creatures, travel around various landscapes, beat eight gym leaders, challenge the Elite Four, and become champion of the Pokémon League. Sun and Moon are putting a significant twist on this tried-and-true formula. The Alola region is a string of islands, each one composing a unique environment and posing its own challenges. Rather than defeat a gym leader, trainers partake in Island Trials to prove their worth.
Corresponding with each of the islands on the Alola region map, four Trial Captains have been introduced so far, each specializing in a different type of Pokémon. These captains replace typical gym battles with more diverse gameplay challenges. Mallow is a grass type expert, and asks you to find cooking ingredients in a lush jungle. Kiawe, the fire expert, waits on top of a volcano and will test your memory of a special dance. Lana and Sophocles specialize in water and electric types, respectively, but their trails have yet to be seen. Though the captains aren’t gym leaders, new forms of traditional boss battles are present in Sun and Moon.
Totems and Kahunas
Another part of the island challenge puts players up against Totem Pokémon, which are larger than other members of their species and posses unique skills. The most recent trailer showed off two totem Pokémon, Gumshoos and Lurantis. In addition to increased size, Totem Pokémon have the ability to call in allies. The player can only use one Pokémon in these fights, posing an asymmetrical advantage for the enemy. While horde battles in X and Y also put players at an unfair advantage, those Pokémon were typically under-leveled.
After these totem battles, the final step of the island challenge is to defeat the island’s guardian. Players will confront a Kahuna, the strongest trainer on their respective island. This trainer is partnered with the island’s guardian Pokémon, the area’s guardian deity. Only one of these Pokémon has been revealed so far, Tapu Koko, the protector of Melemele Island. Hala, the friendly old man who gives players their first Pokémon, is the Kahuna of Melemele Island, where the journey begins. After beating each of these guardian Pokémon, players have completed the rite of the island challenge for that area, but it is unclear if they can add to their team.
One the most talked about reveals in the latest trailer for Sun and Moon were all of the new Pokémon shown off in the game. The Alola forms of old Pokémon received a particular spotlight, bringing changes for some of the most beloved creatures from the past. We saw the evolutionary lines of Sandslash and Ninetales have become ice type, while Exeggutor underwent a massive growth spurt and gained the dragon type. Mega Evolution, introduced in X and Y, changes the design and type of Pokémon but only temporarily. These Alola forms are more like brand new Pokémon, and their potential is promising.
One thing worth noting is that all of the Pokémon revealed to have Alola variations so far are from the original 150. The roster may continue to grow, but we have a few safe guesses as to some of the other Alola forms we will see on our journey. First off, the Trial Captain Kiawe who is an expert in fire type is noted on the official website to use a Marowak. This Pokémon is not typically fire type, but might be getting a new form to fit with Kiawe’s theme. Since we know Vulpix and Ninetales are getting Alola forms, other likely candidates are Growlithe and Arcanine. These pairs act like opposites, and were originally exclusive to either Red or Blue versions. You couldn’t get a Vulpix in Red or Growlithe in Blue without trading. If Growlithe and Arcanine get Alola forms too, they will most likely be exclusive to the game that Vulpix and Ninetales don’t appear in. Better think carefully about if you want to pick up Sun or Moon if this is the case.
Read on to learn how riding Pokémon works as well as new multiple ways to power up your team.