While pretty much all the games in the main Pokémon series have retained an almost unrivalled level in popularity – note the barely lowered prices of any of them in second hand shops – the franchise has been rocketed back into the public sphere by the recent release of Niantic‘s augmented reality game Pokémon Go. Its sheer popularity has caused the servers to be under almost constant pressure, been incorporated in an MMA taunt and even inspired a range of sex toys. It has rebooted the idea of a live action Pokémon movie – not a new idea, but one that has been debated for a long time.
But in all the hype, the continuation of the narrative Pokémon series has got a bit lost.
Due out on November 23rd, Pokémon Sun and Moon recently became available to pre-order. The announcement came along with the reveal of a limited edition Nintendo 3DS XL console, an accompanying strategy guide, a collector’s edition strategy guide for the hardest of hard core fans and even bonus figurines and pins of the new legendary icons.
Since, many new features have been revealed. With fans across the world consumed by Pokémon Go at the time, it has been easy to miss out on all the exciting stuff.
1. These majestic legendaries.
Solgaleo and Lunala are hardly new. The Psychic/Steel ‘Sunne Pokémon’ and the Psychic/Ghost ‘Moone Pokémon’ are the mascots for the new games and an abundance of incredible fan art has already been created to celebrate them. Regal and powerful in equal measure, their roles in the story of the new games are sure to have immense repercussions for Alola.
But they are not the only new legendaries.
Some fans may remember Magearna, the Steel/Fairy Pokémon from the movie Volcanion and the Ingenious Magearna. Known for being one of only a small handful of man-made Pokémon – joining the likes of Mewtwo – it has not featured in any game so far and is expected to show up in Sun and Moon.
Giving Alola a truly symbiotic relationship with the Pokémon that inhabit it, Tapu Koko is the Alola Guardian Diety Pokémon. The Electric/Fairy Pokémon embodies the spirit of the land and acts as the guardian of Melemele Island. Fickle yet curious and known for helping both people and Pokémon who get into trouble, it already has a lot of personality which is sure to translate into a fun and challenging part of the gameplay.
2. This heartbreaking Japanese ad.
The first Pokémon Sun and Moon ad revealed very little about the upcoming game, instead showcasing the way that the franchise has brought joy and happiness to generation after generation. Slowly, more videos released offered more information about what to expect from the new installment.
But this Japanese ad took that original premise and brought it to a tear-jerkingly sweet level with its story of a lonely boy who is taught about friendship and given the courage to overcome his nervousness through the help of his adventures with Pokémon.
3. The return of rideable Pokémon.
As soon as the opportunity was first opened to them, trainers across the world relished the ability to gallop on Gogoat and rampage on Rhyhorn. Although it was a popular feature, there was no guarantee that it would return to future games. After all, having your Pokémon walk beside you was a much loved aspect of the games from the very beginning with the original Pokémon Yellow, but that hasn’t sealed its continuation.
While it looks like that won’t be incorporated into the new game, images have shown that players will be allowed to travel on the backs of their beloved Pokémon – provided, of course, that they have broad enough backs to accomodate a human.
Whether or not this will be restricted to specific areas or sections of the story, as was the case in previous games, has not been confirmed.
4. The introduction of four way battles.
When double battles reinvented the concept of Pokémon battling, it offered players a whole new way of considering their strategy and scope. It changed the way Pokémon teams were built. When the various forms of tripple battling was added, it evolved yet again, creating a whole new challenge in a very familiar format.
Now, another revolutionary form of battle mechanics has been revealed.
Four way battling in online competition is not new. Some streamers have developed their own way of creating a kind of mêlée form in which four players incite a double battle, but also fight the other player on their own team.
Perhaps Nintendo saw this and decided to create something to indulge this idea officially. Perhaps they were planning it all along. Whatever the reasoning, competitive battlers can now take on the challenge of a Battle Royal, in which four trainers are pitted against each other.
Trainers are allowed to fight with three Pokémon each. The battle ends when all three Pokémon of any one trainer have been defeated, at which point the trainers are ranked in order of who has the most remaining Pokémon as well as which trainer has defeated the most opponent Pokémon.
This opens up a whole new dimension to battling, with victory taking a more complex form than in previous fighting styles and likely requiring a lot more strategic planning.
5. All these new Pokémon.
Everyone has already picked their favourite of the three new starters, Rowlet, Litten and Popplio, but where to go from there is still a bit of a mystery. While most of the new additions to the Pokédex will still be secret until you stumble across them in the long grass, there have been a lot of new Pokémon released to give a bit of an idea of what to expect.
There are new cute Pokémon, with gutsy Rock type puppy Rockruff seeming to be the Poochyena of its generation. It is accompanied by sleepy Normal type Komala, which has a unique new ability called Comatose, which prevents it from being affected by any status condition other than sleep.
Common on Route 1, the classic early caught Flying type is the woodpecker inspired Pikipek. Perhaps a little less cute, and likely a modern alternative to Rattata, Yungoos joins Pikipek on Route 1 – and throughout most of Alola, too.
Unlike other releases, whose evolutions remain up to the imagination for now, Bug type Grubbin and both its evolutionary forms – Charjabug and Vikavolt – have been formally announced. Though Grubbin is just a simple larva, its evolutions get a secondary Electric typing, making for a truly formidable looking family.
Drampa takes the concept of Dragon type Pokémon in a new direction, taking inspiration from Eastern dragons rather than the more ferocious western designs that inspired the likes of Charizard and Garchomp. Residing in the clouds, Drampa are peaceful Pokémon that live on berries and have been known to help hurt children.
A striking new Water/Psychic Pokémon, Bruxish, has had a mixed response from fans already. Though hopefully they’ll be cheered up by the joy-spreading Bug/Fairy Cutiefly or the newest roly-poly Electric type mouse Pokémon, Togedemaru, who has shockingly familiar cheeks, to say the least.
Corrosively toxic, a solid battling partner can be found in the form of Poison/Fire lizard Salandit. Those who favour a more physical fight might prefer Bewear, the affectionate but scarily strong Normal/Fighting bear Pokémon, or Mudsdale, the Ground type horse-like Pokémon known for its epic kick.
A less formidable fighter is Wimpod, a Bug/Water type that is known for its aversion to conflict. Bounsweet, similiarly, is not exactly a fighter, as the cute new Grass type is known to have a calming effect on those around it, much like Fairy type Comfey, which is known to soothe its friends and hand out flowers.
One of the new releases that has drawn the most attention for its simultaneously sweet and crrepy story is Mimikyu, the Pokémon who so craves the love of a trainer that it hides behind an imitation Pikachu suit, and no one knows what it really looks like underneath.