Pokémon Sun & Pokémon Moon Wash-up

This weekend, it'll be Adios Alola and Alola to, errrr, Alola as we leave Pokémon Sun and Moon to start the adventure once again in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon. We initially reviewed Sun & Moon back in December 2016 so in this cutting edge piece of investigative journalism we interview the writing team behind award winning gaming blog That Guy's a Maniac to see what impression the game will leave a year later and some hopes for the new games out this week.

How many hours did you clock? 

Cunzy1 1: So I ended up clocking nearly 330 hours on Moon, it's only Sapphire on the GBA and Y that I think I've played for longer.

Richie: A meager 250 hours on Sun, my lowest clock up of hours for any Pokémon game (X was over 1k hours!)

What did you like about Sun & Moon?

CZY: I thought there was a lot to like about Sun & Moon and part of that tried and tested iterative design from the Pokémon Company brought and bettered a lot of good ideas from previous games and ironed out some of the kinks. I think, number 1 for me though was getting rid of HM moves. Finally. I've been playing Pokémon Yellow and Silver on the 3DS virtual console and I'd forgotten how annoying it was having to carry around Pokémon with dig, surf, etc. Only took 20 something years to sort out.

Richie: Playing dress-up!

What didn't you like?

RCH: Levelling, what a nightmare! Play festival plaza to unlock a stall which gives a bump in levels, do that twice, then buy rare candies... in ORAS you fought a few Blisseys a couple of times and boom lvl 100. I didn't like Pelago that much; the bean mechanic seems a little F2P-ish for me and makes me think it was jammed into the game but originally designed as a mobile "add-on".

CZY: European GAME giveaways. Why, oh why, do Nintendo keep up this partnership? One thing that's quite annoying is the lack of a national pokédex too. I've worked hard to catch them all so why can't I see them all in this game? I'd also really like the option to be able to rapidly transfer items from one game to the next. There's now hundreds of unique hold items but it's a slog to have to find, buy and earn all of them every game. The day/night gimmick didn't add much either. 

Thoughts on the new Pokémon?

CZY: As I mentioned in the review, new rock types were kinda thin on the ground but I ended up using Lycanroc and Minior pretty much throughout. I can take or leave many of the new legendaries Tapu Huey, Tapu Louie and Tapu Dewey. Really didn't like the Ultra Beast designs either. Alolan forms are a nice addition and a way of mixing up some old favourites. As for new Pokémon Toxapex is a great design and everything about Mimikyu is just great.

Richie: 80 new Pokémon added, and most of them felt like they had been there forever, but that is not a good thing, in fact, it puts them squarely in the realm of underwhelming!
The legends and UBs are their own thing and always end up as box fodder for me. And starters are starters, always impeded by a silly situational ability.

My standouts from new additions of this generation are:
Mimikyu: see above.
Toxapex: a total pain in the butt defensive type, with a a poison twist, love it.
Pyukumuku: I love the idea of this little guy; solid defences and a potentially scary ability (however severely limited by its movepool).
Dhelmise: cheaty grass/ghost Pokémon, which also gets a unique move with an ability which essentially renders it a ghost/grass/steel type Pokémon. Awesome.

Who was on your team?

RCH: Kommo-o, Dhelmise, Toxapex, Salazzle, Palossand, Snorlax
CZY: Snorlax, Minior, Lycanroc, Solrock, Primarina, Pikachu

Z-Moves or Mega Evolution?

CZY: I was unsure about both these extremely anime gimmicks and I've been following the anime too and both are an uninteresting key plot points. Some of the Z-Moves are cooler than others. I've got a lot of time for Pulverising Pancake and Continental Crush but I think I prefer Mega Evolution. I could leave both though as I think having that extra hold item offers more advantages, which I guess is the trade-off right?

Richie: Z-moves, I had so much fun with Snorlax's "Metronome" giving me random Z-powers: "Random factor, like a tractor"

How was the end game?

Richie: I spent it shiny hunting, which crushed my soul.

CZY: It was fine, I liked the fact that a lot of the running around was removed from some of the end game and the post 'story' bits were good. 

Did you get Zygarde/Eevee quest?

CZY: There was substantive post-Elite Four story stuff with the Ultra Beasts which has been better than previous games. I did get all the Zygarde cells for the Power Construct Zygarde which I promptly put in Bank and will likely never use again. It's impossible to do without a guide especially with some of the cells only being available in the day or night. Eevee quest was okay too. I hope there's just more of this in Ultra.

Richie: Meh, got Eevee, was not inspired by the Zygarde hunt.

So, SOS battles?

Richie: At one point it was 2 shiny Dragonairs, 1 shiny Dratini and roughly 5k SOS kills throughout February and March. I had to put Pokémon down and play Miitopia instead after all that. That aside, fun mechanic, if a little long-winded. Clocked me up a shiny usable Alolan Grimer and an Oricorio (4 shinies for the price of 1).

CZY: Ugh, both addictive but ridiculous. A number of times when I went SOS hunting, I went through all the emotions waiting for a shiny to turn up. Had I missed it? Did I accidentally KO one? What if this is the run when one literally never turns up? Am I having fun? Is this a good use of my life? I'm divided. But then fuck you 'cos I've got two shiny Rockruff, a shiny Nosepass and Jigglypuff. 

To add to this anxiety, whilst hundreds of KOs into SOSing a Jigglypuff I must have accidentally missed a shiny Happiny which inexplicably appeared on the rotomdex. Another painful moment in gaming.  

Where does it rank in the series?

Richie: Best yet, easily so much quality of life improvements, but so much room for improvement!

CZY: I think I agree. Going back just a few games and there's a lot of grind that has been cut out with Pokémon Pelago, SOS battles, EV training and IV checking. 

Hopes for Ultra Sun and Moon, the last 3DS Pokémon game?

CZY: In general I hope it follows the other 'third' games so you can transfer Pokémon over from the start rather than scraping through the early game with a throwaway team before using ones we've been prepping. I'd love for there to be a mechanism to transfer over all those unique items rather than having to buy and find them all again. I hope there's Bank integration sooner rather than later and I've not seen details of this anywhere yet.

Richie: More utility! There is still too many points which are heartbreakingly grindy. Levelling up quickly the option to not watch that hatching animation (or have multiple hatching)! I dug the O-powers of old and would like to see them resurrected.

And beyond 3DS Pokémon games?

CZY: I really, really hope that whatever's coming on the Switch will allow Pokémon from the older games to continue to be transferred. I've been using some of the same Pokémon since 2004's Fire Red, transferring them from game to game from GBA to DS to Gamecube, Wii and 3DS and I'd love for that to not just abruptly come to an end with a big series reset. Nintendo have gone to great effort to make transferring between handheld systems possible, I'm not even sure how this would be possible on the Switch (Richie: Bank!?). As for what these games might be, I'm open to seeing it mixed up a bit. As much as some see the series as a stagnant reworking of the same game over and over, there's so much depth and strategy and that's the reason why it's still such a popular and critically acclaimed series. 

Richie: More dressing up.

SUN & MOON FINAL TGAM REVIEW SCORE: 8 penises out of 10, takes more dedication.

Love and chugs,

Richie and Cunzy x x and special guest starring our boyfriends Spanneke and Vikingbeauty. 


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