Pokémon Sun (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Brandon (Michael) Howard 21.11.2016

Review for Pokémon Sun on Nintendo 3DS

Pokémon is truly a series that no longer needs an introduction. For the past 20 years, Nintendo and Game Freak have been enticing people of all ages with the games, animations, and toys that make the franchise so beloved to people across the globe. Pokémon Sun and Moon celebrate the milestones achieved by the titanic series, bringing trainers to the sunny region of Alola and the many adventures that await them there.

Pokémon Sun and Moon feel unique right off the bat, and it's not just the tropical sun giving off that feeling. Right from the onset, it's clear that Game Freak has put a lot more work into developing the narrative of this entry. The characters feel much more fleshed out, and there's a surprising amount of depth and intrigue to the story, even from the early establishing moments of the game. In a way, it has more of a traditional RPG feel than most Pokémon titles do.

Each of the four main islands in the game has several unique challenges to overcome, each with their own unique flavour. It's a nice departure from the old eight gym format the series has devoutly stuck to, but it does sacrifice a bit of player freedom to do so. Each challenge opens up more and more of each island to explore, whether through new field abilities or removing roadblocks. It's an extremely linear experience, but not so much that it feels restricting.

Screenshot for Pokémon Sun on Nintendo 3DS

Field exploration is a lot more streamlined now, with the removal of field moves such as Cut and Surf, in exchange for ridable Pokémon that help trainers navigate through treacherous terrain with a simple button press. Despite the small seeming size of the map, there's a surprising amount of detail on each of the islands, although it's limited mostly to the challenges found on each one.

Despite the changes made to the overall game structure, Pokémon is still about collecting and battling with the series' impressive list of over 800 unique creatures, and that hasn't changed much at all. There is a new helpful system for letting trainers know what move will be most effective against a previously fought Pokémon, which is definitely useful for newcomers.

The new Z-Moves offer a bit of the spectacular as well, and there's definitely some charm to Pokémon borrowing a page from the super moves found in tons of different JRPGs. Each Pokémon type has a corresponding crystal that allows a Pokémon with a move of that type to unleash a devastatingly powerful attack, if only once per battle. They're flashy and fun, and a pretty good replacement for the badges earned.

Screenshot for Pokémon Sun on Nintendo 3DS

Wild Pokémon encountered in tall grass may also call for help from their friends, and it makes for a simultaneously neat and frustrating feature. While it's much easier to encounter a specific species now, and it does offer a good way to quickly raise the levels and stats of a team, the battles can become a bit of a chore while trying to catch a low-health Pokémon, as they'll often call for help when low, forcing another round of the battle as Pokéballs can only be thrown at the last creature standing.

On the plus side, there's quite a robust variety of Pokémon to be found, spanning across all seven generations. Each area feels pretty diverse in Pokémon habitats, and it's honestly amazing to see just how many Pokémon are packed into each part of the map. Even revisiting older areas it's definitely possible to run into something never before seen in that area.

Screenshot for Pokémon Sun on Nintendo 3DS

The biggest frustration, much like in Pokémon X and Y, boils down to the lack of postgame content. As enchanting as the story is, it ends all too soon, and for all the beauty and splendour, there's just not that much to do in Alola. For many fans, raising and battling Pokémon is all the endgame they need, but a little more to explore post game would have been nice.

Pokémon Sun and Moon feel like the narrative giant of the series, delivering on the best plot and character writing the series has ever seen. It's hard to stress just how refreshing the characters and setting feel, and how captivating the story is. It's a new direction for the series, but one that's sure to feel delightful to long-time fans.

Screenshot for Pokémon Sun on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Pokémon Sun and Moon come away feeling like a totally fresh experience for the series. After 20 years of memorable Pokémon experiences, Game Freak has brought out something that feels completely new, while still delivering on the core Pokémon experiences people crave. There's something for every kind of Pokémon fan here, whether they're looking to catch them all, or if they just want to be the very best. Pokémon Sun and Moon don't just feel like another entry in the long running series, they feel like an opportunity to let the series soar to new heights, and, boy, does it ever.


Game Freak




Turn Based RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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