There was one Christmas gift I recommended on my Christmas Gifts Guide that we haven't reviewed at that time, which is Nintendo's latest Pokemon game on their 3DS system - Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon. It was one of the highly anticipated game, and the fact that it's the one that is released on Pokemon's 20th anniversary year, with Pokemon Go bringing up the Pokemon hype, it's guaranteed to be the game high on many children (and adults) Christmas wishlist (the out of stock Nintendo 3DS handheld system and Pokemon Sun/ Pokemon Moon bundles on Nintendo's official UK online store says it all!).
After playing Nintendo 3DS Pokemon Sun (this review apply to both version of the game) for a couple of weeks, Pokemon Go made a lot more sense to us (we never played a Pokemon game before..)! There is this "you are physically in a Pokemon game" kind of feeling now. However, there are a lot of new features that you can only experience by playing Nintendo 3DS Pokemon Sun and/ or Pokemon Moon, which I think are brilliant additions to the game. Read on to find out more.
Nintendo 3DS Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon (RRP £39.99 each, pegi 7) games come with a matching pin if you buy the game from the official Nintendo UK store. Bundles are also available. We were given the code for Nintendo 3DS Pokemon Sun for this review.
Differences between Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon:
In-game Time - Pokemon Sun's in-game time is based on your Nintendo 3DS system's time, while in Pokemon Moon, the in-game time is shifted by 12 hours. So if you've set the time on your Nintendo 3DS system based on your real life clock, Pokemon Moon will appear mostly at night.
Pokemon - Certain Pokemon will evolve into a different Pokemon in different version. For example, the main Pokemon in the game's story will either evolve into Solgaleo in Pokemon Sun or Lunala in Pokemon Moon (the ones on the covers).
Players start the game as one of the island's Pokemon Trainer (you can create your own character and change their look and outfit later in the game), who has just arrived at the Alola region. While following a series of trials and challenges, more is revealed about the mysterious Pokemon Nebby and its carer Lillie, who are part of the main story.
I think Pokemon series are definitely more about collecting different Pokemon (who are super adorable by the way!), training them up, and eventually getting your character the Pokemon Champion title. I am more of a story person, but although the Nintendo 3DS Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon story reveals a bit more slower than I'd prefer, it is mysterious and intriguing, and I can't wait to find out more.
Wild Pokemon: These are the Pokemon players can collect by throwing a Pokeball at them.
We love discovering new Pokemon, especially the really adorable and classic ones! I couldn't resist getting myself a Christmas Eevee after falling in love with it in the game!
Challenges: Players can't capture owned Pokemon through challenges, but you can learn through these challenges what their weaknesses are (it'll be registered) so you will be more prepared next time you see a wild one.
Combats are fairly straight forward if you have been levelling your Pokemon up, raise their Affection to the maximum (see below) and have the correct Pokemon type in your combat team (you are only allowed to keep 6 in your team, so choose wisely).
Other items includes berries and potions that gives Pokemon a temporary boost, skills Pokemon can learn (although they each have a maximum of 4 skills, so you'll need to decide what they are), funfair games which boost base statistics permanently (more below), etc.
Defeated: It's not as painful as it seems to fail a challenge or trial. (it's certainly heart breaking though, especially when you can't run away from a trial!) You will appear in the nearest Pokemon Center (more below) where all your Pokemon will be rested completely, so you can head straight back out to train more (or change the Pokemon combination in my case) before you try again.
Battle Royal: Another new feature in Nintendo 3DS Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon, it lets your character play against 3 individual opponents in an arena, and the battle ends when one player has all 3 of their Pokemon defeated.
Pokemon levelling and evolving: After a Pokemon has been defeated in combat, experience points will be given to your Pokemon. Some of them level up on the spot, and some might want to learn a new skill after levelling. They sometimes evolve too, if levelling to a certain level is the requirement to evolve.
According to a tip in the game, there is a way to stop your Pokemon from evolving. It might sound silly to want to stop them from growing up, but I wish I have learned about this right at the beginning, because my favourite Hoot Hoot, who I've put a lot of effort into making it the strongest Pokemon I have (unfortunately still very weak against fire), has turned from the cutest chubby owl into a vein one who likes to flick his fringe. Why?!
Another option is to collect 2 to 3 of the same Pokemon and evolve the 2 so you have the full collection. This game can last forever if you choose to hehe.
Relationship with a Pokemon:
Pokemon are a companion, not just a combat tool, which is a message more obviously shown in Nintendo 3DS Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon. Not only do they live amongst human in the Alola region, they sometimes take care of things too, like Rotom, who lives in your Pokedex (see below). So you are given the Refresh section to raise it's affection (which also increases their combat ability), feed them until they are full, and groom them to make them happy.
Pokemon eat Poke Beans, which at the moment in our game is rare and we can only get 12 beans a day (more below). I hope that there will be more available later on as this is the only one I'm struggling with (can't bear the thought of my Pokemon going hungry!)
To raise Pokemon's Enjoyment, simply stroke their head (or other parts depending on the Pokemon), and groom them as soon as the option appears after a combat.
Rotom Pokedex index the Pokemon you've collected, as well as information of wild Pokemon that hasn't been collected yet, gathered during combats. It also shows you the map, and give you advice and reminder where you need to go next.
To physically access your Pokemon collection, you will need to visit the Pokemon Center (see below), or you can access it through the Pokemon Nursery (where you can rest 2 of your Pokemon for a chance to collect a Pokemon egg from them) as well.
Pokemon Center is the place to visit when you need your Pokemon to rest fully (with all debuffs from combats removed), access your Pokemon stored away, buy items for combat use, as well as enjoy a special drink at the Cafe, which might give you a special item, and 12 Poke Beans once a day.
Players should also talk to people in the Pokemon Center (and outside), as you can gather some very useful tips, or sometimes a side quest too.
This is another feature which shows the close bond between human and Pokemon in the Alola region. Players can ride specific Pokemon to help them reach areas they can otherwise not. The Stoutland Search can even help you find special items that are burried underground!
Apart from Poke Ride that you access through the Y button on your Nintendo 3DS family handheld console, the rest of the features can be found in the menu:
Pokemon - Access your Pokemon Combat team's details, swap them around to arrange their combat appearance order, and swap items they hold that can be used in combat.
Bag - where you can find all the items you've gathered, including items you can wear.
Trainer Passport - shows your achievement so far
QR Scanner - allows you to scan QR codes found on the Internet that register certain information about the Pokemon into your Pokedex.
Festival Plaza - is like a mini game in Nintendo 3DS Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon. Players can meet other real life players in here, or play single player by talking to the non-playing characters to help them and earn Festival Coins, which can be used in the Festival Plaza stalls.
Stalls can be changed during Festival Plaza upgrades. There are ones to increase your Pokemon's base statistics, clothing vendor, lucky draw that gives you special items, etc.
I haven't use this feature yet, maybe because when it was introduced in the game Abby was playing so I missed it completely. (She did mention something about taking in-game pictures). Basically it is a feature loaded into Rotom Pokedex, and when used in certain spots in Alola region, you can snap pictures of Pokemon. The pictures you take will be evaluated, and as you take better pictures, more features such as the ability to zoom will be unlocked.
We are currently stuck because our team wasn't correctly built to go against the Pokemon in the next trial (we like to keep our favourites in the team). My poor team was completely defeated by the totem Pokemon (I wasn't allowed to run away a the trial), which was very sad to go through, and I can really feel that defeated feeling, even though they were recovered completely after.
I'm now building up a new team just for the next trial, and hope that eventually I can either get my original team back or I will find a new team that has a better combination (a team full of evolved Eevee!).
I like it that there is plenty to do in the game, so if you are tired from levelling or collecting Pokemon, you can play mini games, hatching eggs, and even earn money to equip yourself with pretty accessories! The quests (trials) and story does make me want to keep going as well, I want to see what this mysterious Nebby is about, and if I can collect one that will be even better!