Pokemon Sun and Moon – Test

Peace on the islands, new gimmicks and at the same time enough nostalgia for all old collectors. Perhaps the best Pokémon since X & Y.

The passage of time, the nagging question of the impermanence of all being and of humans in particular, is seldom better illustrated these days than by the appearance of a new generation of Pokémon. Anyone who, like me, is between 25 and 35 years old spontaneously gets a few more crow’s feet and back pain every time Game Freak heaves a new piece on one of these newfangled Game Boys, who (spit!) In color and with 3D graphics is made. Kids these days.

But all anger, all roaring from the window, the wretched brats should kindly move away from my lawn, fall silent when the sun and moon, as the new versions are called, first glow in the 3DS. As an old hand you come back immediately, the mechanics have of course not changed, because how should they? And even if it is now more strange than familiar to create a pre-teen avatar, the new Pokémon immediately starts doing what it does best; a portion of charm, dosed so high that it has to be seen as an attempted murder.

I’m actually a cat person, but I had to choose the wonderfully stupid looking owl Rowlett because … well, have a look at her!

I sincerely hope you don’t expect me to tell you the story. I’ve never met anyone in my life who would have played Pokémon because of the story. As always, it exists as a hook for traveling the world and taking exams and otherwise quark. “The world” is a good keyword, however, because it is the first refreshment on the sun and moon.

Alola is the name of the collection of islands, and it serves a scenario that we have never seen before in the Poké world and that is neglected in the video game medium anyway. For lack of better words it could be called “Pacific”, it combines elements of Hawaiian, Samoan and some other island cultures. This aesthetic approach works extremely well, a noticeably different mood arises not only in view of the locations, clothing and similar details, but also because of the soundtrack, in which island rhythms can often be found and familiar Pokémon melodies are remixed. And all of this without lapsing into too bad pineapple and coconut kitsch – urban city centers with completely normally dressed people can be found here just as much. An astonishing variety has been extracted from the scenario.

The world is also the occasion for some new mechanics, and here we come to the playful strengths of the sun and moon. To be very clear once again: The substructure has not changed, not now and not for 20 years. The Sun and Moon are great Pokémon games because they understand just that. The finely balanced network of elements that have become more and more extensive in the course of time and cross each other in a rock-scissors-paper system is already the greatest “difficulty” in everything, and even that has been defused – you have become one enemy pocket monsters already have data in the Pokédex, the game automatically shows which attacks will be effective or ineffective. Comfortable, but of course also makes the whole thing very easy – and in a game that, similar to its predecessors, is largely so easy to master that a lobotomized chimpanzee could play it through.

Z-Moves are one of the playful innovations – strong special maneuvers as a reward for conquered tests.

But even if everything is known by and large, there is still a lot to discover. The exams replace the old system with new, more interactive sections – if you want to defeat an “arena leader”, you have to complete your own little parkour beforehand, each with a slightly different gimmick and new elements such as “Totem Pokémon” – particularly strong beasts, the act as a kind of boss fight. In addition, the Pokémon of the Alola region have learned a trick that is vaguely reminiscent of earlier mechanics: If they feel inferior in battle, they can call in reinforcements to turn the battle in their favor. Kind of a spiritual legacy to the familiar group fights, but a little more unpredictable and capricious.

By overcoming the exams you can not only travel to new sections, but also get another, fortunately game-mechanical reward: the Z-Moves are linked to an accessory that you put in the hand of the corresponding pocket monster. If it has its own move that corresponds to the element of the accessory, it can start a spectacular and very powerful special maneuver once per fight. The relatively long animation prevents you from simply knocking it out in every fight in order to end it quickly, so the maneuver remains useful and a highlight for tougher duels. It’s a shame that the Z-Moves aren’t very diverse. For example, almost all offensive maneuvers of the “normal” type become the same super attack – it might have been too much to want just as many special maneuvers as normal.

Since you can now spice up your little mutants yourself after a tough match by brushing them back to a high gloss, dabbing or blow drying them (all real examples) in order to free them from bad status changes and at the same time the oh-so-tender bond to the already morbid ones For loyal beasts, the Amii feature (or whatever it’s called now, the game didn’t tell me) is more reminiscent of Nintendogs than ever. Well, if you didn’t keep piles of pixels rolled into dogs in Nintendogs, but rather hundreds of accidents from God’s creation kaleidoscope.

Alola form means: same Pokémon in green, or, as here, black. Not the most exciting innovation of the new generation.

Even on the level outside of combat, the sun and moon make good decisions. A great example of a long overdue detox is that there is no longer any HM. For those who don’t know what it is: They are (or were) learnable moves that were mostly used to explore the world – for example, swimming, breaking stones and chopping bushes to travel through blocked paths. They have always been an important Metroidvania component of Pokémon games, but have always held back the games – those who didn’t sacrifice valuable skill slots and / or Pokémon for travel skills looked stupid. The time of HM slavery is over – if you have acquired the ability to cross a body of water (not entirely unimportant on an island atoll), you can do so at any time and on demand, without having to degrade your beloved partner to a multifunctional vehicle .

Incidentally, the tame monsters are a nice mix of familiar and completely new Pokémon. The former have a new twist every now and then, a so-called Alola shape. I can’t deny that this system doesn’t give me too much. To be honest, I’m a little puffed up about whether my rat-rat has black fur, my Raichu a different color of eyes or my Knogga wields a kind of tiki torch. But not every change can blow everyone’s socks off.

There is so much more to say. About the details of the world, the variety of Pokémon, a wealth of new little things and even an element like a basic Pokémon snap blend can be found. In a nutshell, however, it can be said: Pokémon Sun and Moon is great. From the moment I picked my little Rowlett, I was once more captivated by the franchise. (I called the little owl Rowdy because I’m about as creative as … like … now I can’t think of anything.) The new Pokémon game appeals to both the old hand in me and the old-timer, the one is out of practice, and I am sure that both experienced coaches and newcomers will have a lot of fun with the sun and moon.

Neither the huge amount of fun, the all-consuming addiction nor the Pipifax difficulty should surprise us – Pokémon is Pokémon is Pokémon. After 20 years of taming beasts, delivering something other than the same Pikachu in green is difficult, and yet you can congratulate Game Freak. The new pacific scenario, an abundance of, as always, incredibly cute and strange critters, a good dose of nostalgia for old fans and lots of details, from refined old mechanics to brand new ones, make the sun and moon a very rewarding generation. It’s worth it for beginners and veterans alike, because although it improves a lot, it still remains true to the roots of the series. And as worn out as the label is, it’s true: Pokémon is still fun for the whole family and all ages. The sun and moon are probably the best representatives since X and Y.