|Dev: GAME FREAK Inc.|
|Pub: The Pokemon Company|
|Release: November 18, 2016|
|Players: 1-4 Players|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Mild Cartoon Violence|
Pokemon will gain XP and level up from combat, but with a little extra care using the new Pokemon Refresh feature, you can increase their productivity. Using this Nintendogs inspired minigame you can rub them, feed them treats, cure ailments, and groom them to increase their affection level, which in turns makes them more receptive to your commands in battle.
One tedious new addition are the super-powered Z-moves. After obtaining a Z Crystal compatible with specific Pokemon, they can unleash a devastating attack once per battle. It's useful for draining your enemy's health, but the animations, while exciting, are far too long and cannot be skipped. When you are simply trying to grind out levels, you will likely forego these power moves and opt instead for regular, effective attacks.
The aesthetic of the Alola region is pleasing and soothing, making this the most gorgeous looking Pokemon adventure to date. There are vibrant colors throughout the archipelago, with the contrasting black and white shades of the opposing Team Skull playing well against the palette. The music selection is also infused with instruments and melodies often typecast to tropical paradises, but pleasant and well composed. I enjoyed the unique calls of the new Pokemon, however I grow ever more weary with the developer's stubbornness in keeping some of the antiquated sounds. Seriously, please make a new sound for when a you enter or exit a building or area, I implore you.
Digressing from my initial criticism about nitpicky fans, Pokemon Sun and Moon makes it difficult to keep anything but a casual, easygoing attitude while playing. The wonderful creatures are given a spotlight not only in combat, but through your free exploration as they wander close to their owners and bear affection through many scripted dialogues. As the game displays, you are encouraged to enjoy the company of your Pokemon companions through keeping them healthy and happy.
With a zest for life and a fresh impression, Pokemon Sun and Moon feels like a new introduction to the series, and not a weary inclusion to simply capitalize on the brand. Whether you are devout follower, a jaded former trainer, or a fledgling enthusiast, now is the perfect time to embrace the Pokemon splendor, pause the real world, and take a paradise vacation to the Alola region.
Senior Contributing Writer
Date: November 21, 2016