February 27th, 1996. This date, this day in time where the air was chilled and the sun sank earlier into its brother sky, will forever be imprinted into the hearts of nerds everywhere, as the day the franchise of Pokemon was born with Red and Green in the glorious land of the rising sun. No one suspected, including its creators, what an impactful storm it would bring to the world, raising up a legion, a generation, with loyal pocket monsters who have traveled with us virtually through the good, the bad, the victories, and defeats. And the storm has never stopped.
February, 2016. 20 years after the revealing of Professor Oak and his Kanto crew, celebrated the company of Pokemon. How far they have come! How much they have achieved with 6 generations and they were giving us dedicated Poke Nerds more than we could fill in our packs! Reprinting the first T.C.G. set for modern play. Monthly mystic Pokemon box sets. Pokemon Go. A S.S. Anne load of special themed 20th anniversary products. The anime was going strong. It was glorious, a grand time to be a true Pokemon fan, even if I was 27. But then, the cherry on top: Game Frank hinted at a new main series game. Was it the expected Pokemon Z we had been waiting for for nearly three years? As it the remakes of Generation 4 already? Or, could it totally be a new generation? I was assuming Z since there has always been a third game with each generation usually released a year or so after its older twin siblings.
I recollect watching the announcement that night, my husband texting me at work all day about the amazingness of the news. As I stared at the screen of our T.V., I knew a new generation had been gifted to us and a treasure trove of promises. I was getting hyped like everyone in the world, eager to dive into this tropical world, one I prayed was based on my beloved Orange Islands (it was not meant to be, but there were some similarities). I was tickled pink to see the new, innovated generation seven friends…at first. I know every generation has its cluckers, but we were almost drowned in new content every 2-3 weeks for 9 months, and with each reveal, I was overwhelmed, forgetting about features previously revealed, and sinking lower and lower into our couch with the unveiling of new Pokemon. I would almost groan. I know, how cruel of me, but I felt like not much was left for surprises, especially with the Pokemon. My excitement would dwindle, and I did not want that. Still, I pre-ordered my copy of “Moon” (if you did not guess that that would be the one I would pick, then you live under a rock). Derrick “Sun,” and went to my first midnight release for games. I could not play it until November 20th due to work, but I was ready to be graced with the light of my guardian moon.
So, onward to our journey, where 11 year old can dominate a region with cute animal-like partners. Remember: these are just my opinions. No need to get offended. I would to hear what you have to say as well. Also, all the images are from Google image search and all credit and respect go to their artist/creator.
Review of “Pokemon Moon:”
Story/characters: 9 out of 10. I really liked this story! It was extensive, but not overbearing, so I could still go about my normal, happy-go-lucky adventure everyone pushed me into. I was hooked from the visuals and direction of the opening scene with Lily and Nebby from the get-go (Nebby is DARLING). The cast felt so real to me, like a little family that had adopted me, the new kid, right away, and it did not feel forced or too quick like in some games. It was a fun puzzle to solve about how the differences from this new region than my own, and being from Kanto made it really feel like I was my character. Even having my dad’s Greninja was epic!
Kukui is cool, man (yeah?). He was so carefree and laid back, yet had a passion for his research, but his love for life was his focus, a great quality in a professor. I felt like he was helpless at times, especially when Lily would disappear and just be up the route (but, hey! What professor isn’t like that)? The fact he is married to another successful professor is the combee’s knees! Kukui, you are not as suave as Sycamore or dashing as Steven, but you are totally in my top ranks of grown-ups in Pokemon. Stay true to you, cousin!
Lily was a darling character, very light and sweet, reminding me a lot of Maren in my Spirit Warrior series with her gentleness, motherly ways, doubt in herself, but knowing when love needs to win. I got a little sick of her not saying she was a trainer though and then magically decide to be a better one than me. I admired her courage for standing up to her mother and saving her despite everything, happy she had confidence in herself, but the switch activated way too fast and it seemed like an unrealistic change. Her smiling more was precious to see though. I felt more like her aunt than her friend/love interest (I don’t know; I just got that vibe a few times). Lily, you are as lovely as your name! Go blossom!
Hau was so…jumpy! My heavens, he made me tired! But, I would grin wide every time I saw him and I loved how he still would have moments of freak-out and some sadness, making him well-rounded despite him being my rival/friend. His animation was so detailed and lighthearted and by far my favorite of all the characters. I would get so excited when he would throw his pokeball. Was he challenging? Other than the final battle in the story with him, not really, but he was for SURE the most useful rival/friend character I have ever had when we had to double battle as a team! He held his own and took out as many villain Pokemon as I did. Plus, he gave me fantastic, useful gifts all the time! I do so love me presents! And I so want him and Lily to get together; how precious would that be? Hau, you are a ray of sunshine. Go share your brightness and happiness with others. And his story with his dad? OH! I really like Bird Keeper Toby’s Youtube theory on that! 🙂
Overall, the story kept me engaged and characters made me feel like I had found a home no matter how far I travelled. And it was a decent length, no like X and Y! It didn’t drag, but it also had a plot. Alola is a fabulous place and a great setting for this tale Game Freak wove.
My biggest complaint with the story is at the very end, after you return home as the first champion for your party, you CANNOT save for about half an hour of story before you technically complete the game! I had church to go to and I was almost late for it. Derrick was miffed about this too. There were at least two good times I saw where I could have saved. Not really good planning on their part.
OH! Gladion is so epic sauce! He’s edgy, but has a heart of gold and how he full force tries to save his sister, but acts all tough about it. Adorable! I think my brother would look cool as him! I wish him all the luck in the future. I wish they did more backstory on how he recused Null!
My mom is pretty rad too in this game! So chill, but still warm and caring to me.
Graphics and Angels: 8 out of 10: This may look like a weird rating, but hear me out! The locations were stunning and the sprites looked so normal sized that it took some adjusting. I missed the chibi-ness of X and Y and Alpha and Omega. But, I have no vices there at all. You can tell all the attention to detail and how beautiful everything looked that they poured their hearts into this 20th anniversary celebration. Alola is so diverse and I was stunned by all the effects, backgrounds, sprites, and more I saw.
So, why not a perfect score here with the gushing? Well, two reasons: One, my walking animation. More like my arm animation. This may be a nitpick, but it bugged me the second I moved and never went away, the irritation. My arms were straight as a board and did not move with the rest of my body in time, no matter how fast or slow I was going, although the rest of me did, including my back animation and hair movement! Again, I know they bit off a lot on this platter of new, but I still twitched every time I started moving again.
Second is the fact I COULD NOT SIT DOWN ANYMORE! Really?! You gave me this gorgeous gem and then swipe it from my hands like a fox in a mask! The fact I could lay on random beds AND would SMELL them did not make matters better. I think I need to check into a mental hospital, my character…I just want to sit down *cries!*
Special Features: 17 out of 20:
- Rotam Pokedex/PokeFinder: The Rotam Poke dex was SO darling! He was funny and sarcastic and it was nice to have a constant companion, so I didn’t feel alone. 🙂 He was easy to use and I adored the quick access to my map and the list of all the Pokémon. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Poke Finder in this. I loved the idea of taking pictures, but it was hard to control and I didn’t find the spots easily (but that could have been just me).
- QR Scanner: This is a cool feature since I collect the codes for my Pokemon TCG account that I never hardly use, lol! I haven’t really tried to find the rare Pokemon after you get 100 points for the Island scan, but I liked seeing the Pokemon I scanned, even if they were not found in Alola. I don’t think you get to keep them, which sticks! Too easy, I guess?
- Quick Link: Very useful! Used it for battling and training.
- Alola Forms: I really liked half of the Alola forms for their typing and their fantastic redesign, such as Vulpix, Ninetails, Sandshrew, Sandslash, Raichu, and others, but some were ridiculous! I know it was meant for this, but the Persian, Diglett line, and Geodude lines. I felt sorry for some of the disfigurements of these Kanto forms, such as poor Raticate, like he’d been to the dentist and had too much novacaine. It was neat to see the tourist NPCs have the original looking forms of the Pokemon, like Vulpix and Meowth. The concept is incredible, but I wish they had more choices (even if they were all Kanto; I’d be okay with that). I have seen so amazing sketches on-line, so ideas are floating out there. I know these were to satisfy us since we did not get any new mega evolutions and I think it did a good job, but I wish they gave more Pokemon a chance to Delta shine or not look so silly.
- Zygarde Cube Collecting: I have no desire to complete this. I do feel badly for Zygarde because he was hinted for so long and got shunned from the spotlight when no third installment of generation six happened like the world predicted and expected. I collect the pieces because they are shiny honestly, lol! I can see how this is an appealing, all encompassing side quest for those in their story and post game though.
- Battle Royal: Okay, Kukui being Masked Royale (Oh, my bad; spoilers) was so weird and laughable that it was a tad entertaining, especially when his WIFE had no clue it was him but almost everyone else did! But, the mechanics of this were neat and I would like to try it again a few more times for fun (I only did the required one time). It did lag and pixilate the graphics to look wacky when I did it, but I also have a 3-DS from 2013, so I was warned that was possible.
- Z-Moves/Z-Crystals: I really enjoyed the animations for these; it was vivid and fun. In real life, it would be far fetched, but oh well! I owned it! The ghost and dark ones were my favorite, animation wise. OH! My Snorlax’s special Z-move! It was a powerhouse and I would grin from ear-to-ear every time I used it! I really liked this way of collection hunting, counting your achievements. I still miss badges, but I loved the freshness and reward of Z-Moves!
- Hyper Training: I’m a dumb duck and for some reason, had no idea this was a thing, but I kept wondering where the training was, missing my Super Training. If it is anything like Super Training from Alpha/Omega and/or X/Y, then I am sure this will be a useful feature (but at times annoying).
- Pokeride: YES! All hail the Helix Fossil; Game Freak heard our twenty years of complaints! Were all the Pokemon needed? Not in my my mind, but the fact HMs are buried and done with (I pray) was such a gift! Fishing/riding on Lapras in small areas of water, soaring with Charizard, finding hidden items with Scoutland, made the experience more real to me and made me feel like I was 11 again. I do miss the Eon flute and flying to spots on my own with Latios though.
- Festival Plaza: I was obsessed with this at the beginning. It reminded me of the mall feature I had in my Black/White 2 that I would waste so much time and check daily for months. However, there are not as much opportunity for shops. I like how you can do events in it and connect with people, but once they were your friend or guest, you could not get anything out of them. As greedy as they sounded, it sucked. I liked VIPs, doing some of the events, and most of the shops (my favorite are the lotty shops), but it was as incredible as I wanted it to be. There is plenty to do in it though to unwind!
- Poké Pelago: This is my FAVORITE new feature! I like relaxing mini games/features and this fit my bill. I would check it twice a day for 10-12 minutes each. Between this and Pokemon Refresh is most likely why my time is 10 hours more than it should be, ha! I always felt badly for the Pokemon in my PC, but here, they had something to do, could train, and help me a lot! I got some cool wild Pokemon thanks to my berry tree, planted more berries than I ever need, and, my favorite, got SO much money and goodies thanks to my explorer Pokemon. Picking up all my beans made me smile and seeing my Pokemon interact with the environment made me feel like I left them with Professor Oak in the anime; I knew they were taken care of. This feature is fun, rewarding, and warmed my heart and I want it to be a permanent part (or some form of it) of the Pokemon main series games in the future so much!
- Wonder Trade: Loved it the last two, still adore it here!
- Pokemon Refresh: While I DO miss the mini games I could play with my Pokemon in X/Y, I liked the bonding approach of this one. Graphics? Great! Learning the natures of all your Pokemon? Fantastic! High-fiving my Pikachu? The bomb! Collecting berries to feed my friends? Sweet! And the advantages of maxing out friendship and affection, where this helped immensely? You have NO idea how many times my Pokemon dodged attacks, held on to 1 HP in the heat of a tough battle, or even overcame poison all because they LOVED me! Pikachu once dodged three earthquakes from a level 50 Pokemon IN A ROW, a powerful move that would have 1-Hit K.O.ed him, but it was all me, the little hearts above his head filling me to the brim with joy. Anyway I can give back to my dear partners is a blessing and this feature, again, make this experience more lighthearted and made me feel like there was not a screen between us.
- Battle Tree: I haven’t done it yet, but will soon. I am so pumped to see Red and Blue grown-up! You guys don’t even know! 😀
- The fact I could change my clothes again was spectacular! I didn’t like as many of these options as in X/Y, but I get the island feel. I feel like the prices went up too, but maybe I just noticed more… It wasn’t an issue though since I would use amulet coin AND my Snorlax’s happy hour for 95% of the battles I had, earning my 4 times the Pokedollars I would have gotten otherwise. I think I have close to $700,000 now after buying some clothes and going nuts on items!
Trial Captains/Kahunas/Elite Four: 7 out of 10. I liked the characters of the trial captains for the most part and how they were there to help you, but normally not overbearing. The concept of challenges to test your mentality and different skill sets than just battles was an interesting change. I liked Mallow’s trial the best since it made me have to search and think and I liked the characterization of Acerola; her creepy/kawaii expressions made me shiver and smile at the same time! I really think Mina, the artist, is a cool character by design, but her not having a trail is so lame! My husband said that FINDING her was the trail, lol! Lana was neat too and I liked the little mini story and battle you can do when you meet her twin sisters at her place.
Kiawe had such an epic design and the fire dancing Marowak was SICK, but…his trial was SO STUPID! The hidden different in the shot was a cool idea, but the way they executed it was…bloody awful! I was so disappointed. Sophocles was boring too. I wish he would have done a quiz show format like Clement did in his gym in “X and Y.” Oh well.
Oh! The totem Pokemon? Not a fan. Did I hate them? Not really ‘hate,’ but not like. I see they didn’t want us to battle the Captain for it would feel too much like a gym leader, but I think that would have been better, or the final Pokemon of the Captain’s team by fueled with the energy of the totem of the trial site? I don’t know. It just felt off to me.
And DON’T get me started on the Totem battle I had against the grass area! Baka Lurantis and Castform combo, almost blacking me out three times…Thank gosh for a slow battle with Snorlax. Worst battle I have had in awhile, for how challenging it was.
The Kahunas were cool beans! I liked three of the four of them a lot (I’m sorry, but Nanu crept me out fierce and I wanted to punch him every time he smiled his grimace! That’s not normal…ha, ha, I’m aware he’s a dark type specialist). Neat designs, cool characters, and powerful role models for their islands; how noble of them to partner with their island’s guardian with the ultra beasts attacking! Mad respect! Hala’s going to make you holler! That’s my new catch phrase!
I did like how each Kahuna was in charge of introducing new trainers with their starter! 🙂
OH! And the final battle! That was a doozy! >.< Had to restart three times (turning my game off. I always save right before a big, planned battle so I don’t lose anything).
- Island Trials VS. Gym Battles: So, how do I like this format of achievement in my region when compared the the staple gym battles? I would have to go with thy gym battles. I love how unique Alola is: its forms, array of landscapes, special features, and such, make it a beautiful and milestone place in the Pokemon universe and I really gave this a shot, but…I miss my gyms, my badges! I like these ideas of mini activities to do to get the Z-crystals ON TOP of the eight gym badges, AND battling the Kahuna from each island before you move it. Four islands to guard, four protectors, four kahunas. So makes sense to me and it may be more work, but that’s why trainers start at 11 instead of the usual 10; to GET that extra training and year to study! This would be my dream situation. What did you guys think?
Towns/Cities/Region Layout/Routes: 17 to 20– I did like the variety and styles of the locations in this game. You think tropical, you think warm, a rainbow of hues, and a pleasant environment, and boy, we got that, but we also got different terrains, such as the icy areas, a volcano, dried up grass, ruins, large cities and quaint towns, but all of these are based on real areas in the inspirational Hawaii, so props on the research!
Each island brought something new to the table, but I felt everything was connected, the community of Alola strong as Kukui’s abs (the man lets Pokemon attack him for research!) I was stunned that Hau had never left his island, not even on a trip, but the scene where we are Kukui’s boat was so sincere, peaceful, eye opening to my adventuring spirit.
I did find some of the routes confusing to navigate through and I know some locations are easy to miss if you are not looking, but since I would walk around so much to capture Pokemon and level up, I got turned around more than I wanted to admit.
And the Aether Foundation layout, the manmade island headquarters! Place that are pure white scream creepy to me, a forced purity, in my mind, forms a cruel type of darkness and was I right!
My game being 12 hours behind/ahead of the regular timeframe took some adjusting. I understand the reason for it and I liked it after a while, but it made the region feel upside down at times, like I could not catch my bearings. That’s not good being a rookie.
The graphics and attention to detail really made this work for me! Beautiful job there!
Team Skull/Aether Foundation: 9 out 10: Ha, ha, ha! I can’t help but laugh at this! Who in the bleep came up with the idea of Team Skull and how?! It’s a riot, but I adore them. I can’t take them seriously at all. In fact, NO ONE in Alola does and I feel sort of bad for them because of that, citizens blaming their actions on young people having too much time on their hands (Nintendo trying to tell us something)? They really are not hard; I only had trouble with one grunt because he kept confusing my Pokemon and the boss in the final battle, but it is good to have those challenges. Their movements, their antics, their buggy personality and eyes, all make me grin and chuckle. Are they my favorite team? No, that will always be Team Rocket, but they are pretty, ‘bad to the bone.’ And A ZILLION times better than Team Flare.
Guzma is a great ying-yang balance with his revenge and rage at Kukui and all the light he represents, but his love for Lusamine and how his team is a family (like Plumeria being a caring big sister to each Grunt). I would like to learn about him more as a young trainer and the scorn that made him become this role model for all other trainers who could not beat the Island Challenge. Yo, yo, yo, rock on Team Skull. Their theme is SO catchy too!
The twist of the Aether Foundation did not shock me too much, but I like there were two teams, but not right away, a real mystery. Like I stated above, the foundation was too white, too clean, too much of an illusion. Now, Lasamine, although beautiful, was the most INSANE villain Pokemon has ever had! She is also fairly evil too, but her reasoning, what made her crack, all for beauty of this nasty, in my mind, Ultra Beasts and to keep beauty, those who obey her, to herself…was so mental! The scene I saw all those Pokemon frozen in her chamber…holy crap! I actually felt physically sick in my stomach! *covers mouth* The franchise’s first female villain boss make a mark that others will struggle to fill.
The twist of her being Lily and Gladeon’s mom was a concept I have not seen since Silver and Team Rocket.
Bring on the bad to the bone Team Skull cosplays for 2017!
Generation 7 Pokemon: 11 to 15: I will give Nintendo props for not giving us blob Pokemon like in Generation 6 and for making all the Pokemon overly colorful and unique in shape, but it was too much, too extreme. I did like a good number of Pokemon, but only about half. A good chunk were just ugly beyond belief! Either the Pokemon were everywhere or near impossible to find. I did like how they placed several generations of Pokemon in catchable areas, a Generation 5 addition I am so glad stayed. Some of the new attacks looked epic and the abilities went from awesome to head numbing. I like the atmosphere of these Pokemon, but they all seemed to tropical focused (literally, there is a lei Pokemon. Adorable, but I had to roll my eyes each time I thought of it). A little more variety would have been nice.
Like in “X and Y,” only 70 new Pokemon. Go back to my 100! Again, I am sure the updated graphics take more time and I respect that, but you had three years to get used to the coding for that. If you added even 10 new Pokemon, I think it would have balanced this team more. I think I like this set a little more than generation 6 due to the attack animations and that they had definite shapes, like creatures, but it still could have been better.
Part of the problem, for me, was they revealed all but like 10 of them before the release! It took out so much of the wow factor. I think revealing even 35 was too much! Give me maybe 20 or 25 and then let me discover, explore, be a real trainer.
Also…I hate Ultra Beasts! I get it; they are new and supposed to be innovative, but they are ugly and look like someone put a virus in my game. I can’t get behind them. Pokemon from space or another dimension? We’ve done that and I can deal with the origin and idea, but the designs are too…blah! They do look like final bosses, but not meant for the world of Pocket Monsters.
The starters were so/so. I didn’t fall head-over-heals for any of them, but Popplio was by far my favorite AND the only generation 7 Pokemon on my team. I TRIED to have more Alola Pokemon, but I could not find any good fits.
I did like some of the lore and special secrets of a handful of these creatures, like Mimikyu, Oricorio, and Wishiwashi. There were a lot of cute Pokemon mixed in with the strange/ugly, but not a lot of betweens like usual. And Nebby is darling, of coarse! I did like the legendries, but them both being part psychic is still a tad odd to me…
Battles: 13 out of 15: Like the last two reviews, I give major props here for the perfect graphics (I fangirled every time Hau threw his Pokeball because it looked so darn good) and the fact there are NO required rotation battles OR three-verses-three battles. Other than the lagging for double battles, it was all good.
The only issue I had here was the Pokemon crying for help. I dislike this feature. You have NO CLUE how many times I was trying to catch a new Pokemon and it would call for help seven or eight successful times in a row and I would be stuck for 10-20 minutes. My worst one was a battle with an Exgaacute. *GROANS* I’m done talking about this…
This region will also be special to me because it is the FIRST region I caught a SHINY Pokémon! Derrick and I were stilling on his parent’s large couch for Thanksgiving, my father-in-law taking a nap and the three of us playing Sun or Moon. Derrick all of the sudden started freaking out for he encountered a Sandile with the sparkles to indicate it was a shiny. Of coarse he caught it and we all freaked out! I did a deep sigh, exclaiming, “That’s so amazing. I’ve been playing Pokémon for 17 years and in all of my career, I have never seen a sh…” I had been absentmindedly walking around the route I was in, in grass, and I had an encounter pop up. In the corner of my eye, almost missing it, I saw the sparkles and looked to see a mauve Alola Rattata! I was hyperventilating then and I caught it! 17 years of playing and within a minute of each other, different games, different routes, but the same couch, we both caught a shiny! His mother tried to sit on the couch later and nothing.
Two days later in bed, I ran into ANOTHER shiny: Trumbeak! I am SO glad my Snorlax learned “Hold On” early on; such a life savior for catching Pokémon! This game will always ‘shine’ as an achievement for me!
Other things I liked/didn’t like:
- I really liked the coffee shop and how it showed the chit-chat friendliness of these islands and the treats from other regions to show imports.
- How easy the PC boxes were to organize.
- The Pokemart employee noticing my new Z Crystal! HA! Loved his expression.
- How people would heal me and give me items just because I am boss applesauce, but it was not overbearing.
- The little side quests of capturing certain Pokemon to show them in order to get money. It was sweet!
- The good trades with Pokemon Center NPCs.
- Still LOVING how fast my game is to save and I liked how I wrote it in a notebook!
- My bag and the amulet for the Island Challenge was so adorable!
- Having a dad talked about and it MOST likely being Ash! 🙂
- It was weird to not have Kukui ask if I was a boy or a girl…
- EX share was the same, but it felt like they balanced the NPCs more so the extra levels did not feel as overpowering the last 1/3rd of the game; they grew with you.
- I did miss not having a bike…But running INSIDE the building! Holy Snot Rockets Batman! Living the dream! I bet Red will go nuts with that in Alola!
- The new Elite Four reveal was precious.
- Cameos of old characters, even those not in the Battle Tree! I like returning characters fans grew up to see them in a new light!
- The demo was pretty neato too; made you get a good feel for the region.
- It did seem easier to log on-line, but that could have been me.
- STILL wish we had Pokemon following us around; I will never give up that dream. Having mini games back as part of Pokemon Refresh would be hardcore too!
Overall Rank/Final Comments:
And our final score is…*Drum rolls* 91/110: B! Alola, you are beautiful, refreshing, and the best way to show the wave of change for this beloved franchise of precious Pocket Monsters, but still keeping what we love!
Thanks for reading my review guys. What was your team? What did you like/dislike about Pokemon Sun and Moon.
My Champion Team/Hours/Pokedex:
- Primarina (Umihoshi) level 65
- Snorlax (Pancake) level 61
- Butterfree level 60
- Umbreon (Tabby) level 61
- Alakazam (Kaiba) level 61
- Pikachu (Zappin’) level 63
Time I beat the story: 45 hours and 48 minutes.
Pokedex for the story: 112
If I had to have ONLY Moon Pokemon on my team:
- Lycanroc (Mid-day form),
Others I like:
- Tapu Fini,
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