Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Review
Welcome to our review on the final 3DS titles in the Pokemon series! Pokemon Sun and Moon debuted on the Nintendo 3DS in 2016. As per series tradition, Nintendo released two upgraded versions one year later. Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon added several upgrades to the original titles.
A 40-hour adventure with a long postgame to boot, we delve into the Alola region…and beyond! We’ll cover the best and worst parts of the game and let you determine if Pokemon Ultra Sun and/or Ultra Moon are right for your 3DS collection!
For the record, this review covers Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon as individual games, not as a comparison to the original Sun and Moon. If you’re new to this iteration of Pokemon, then let this review welcome you to the game!
Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon take place in the Alola region. Unlike contemporary regions in past Pokemon titles, Alola takes place amidst several islands, which feels reminiscent of Hawaii.
In these titles, you’re a trainer who recently moved from Kanto, the setting of Gen I. You’ll embark on the Island Trial to become the Pokemon Champion. In addition, you’ll meet several new friends and new foes as well, such as Team Skull and the Pokemon-saving Aether Foundation.
As per series tradition, you’re the trainer, which you can make male or female. Catch Pokemon, raise them, and battle them. You’ll travel through Alola battling stronger players, culminating up to the battle in the Pokemon League.
In addition to tutorials, many characters will stop you for interactions multiple times in the game. While it builds a bit of depth, it can be a little overbearing at times.
Unlike Pokemon Sun and Moon, however, the Ultra versions include alterations to story, new Pokemon, and even a new postgame chapter. You can read a spoiler-free list of changes here.
You can also read a more detailed list of changes here. Please be mindful of spoilers.
As the third 3D title in the mainline Pokemon series, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon take many cues from the visuals of the previous generation. Unlike its predecessors, however, the character models don’t have a chibi look. They look taller and more detailed.
You can also customize the appearance of your trainer. Much like in Gen VI, you can enter fashion shops. You can customize their hairstyle, hair color, eye contacts color, and various pieces of wear.
You’ll hear some island cues as well. In addition to the catchy Pokemon music, the item cues now sound like they’re played on a ukulele.
Some of the tracks in this game bring out the best in Pokemon music. I’m fond of Route 10’s theme and the Elite Four battle theme. As a longtime fan of Pokemon music, this might be one of the best soundtracks in the series!
Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon follows the trend established by its predecessors. You’ll catch Pokemon and raise them, battle them, breed them, and fight against an evil organization. Your Pokemon can learn four moves each and you’ll strategize them among their stats and 18 different elemental types.
New to the series, however, is the Alolan Trial. When you meet a Trial Captain, they’ll ask you to indulge them in a sort of mini-game. This includes finding Pokemon as well as battling them. These culminate into the Totem Pokemon battles, which are larger variations of Pokemon who can summon help. These battles are quite challenging!
Overall, the game is fairly easy when battling trainers. The Totem Pokemon battles are where the real challenge lies. This is due to them having buffed stats while summoning help, in which you can only use one Pokemon at a time.
You can fight in 2v2 battles, which include either your own Pokemon or battling alongside another trainer. This feature also returns in Linked battles with friends!
Pokemon Refresh, formerly known as Pokemon-amie, returns. You can now treat status conditions after each battle without using an item. If you enjoy petting and feeding your Pokemon, expect to spend time on this mode.
One new feature to the series is the Rotom Dex. A Pokedex inhabited by the Pokemon, Rotom, he acts as a sort of side-kick. The bottom screen serves as a map, which you can tap to utilize the Pokedex. He also sends you messages to cheer you on and genuinely treats you like a friend.
Interacting with Rotom also activates the Roto-Loto, which generates a random perk you can use for your Pokemon. These include healing, repel, catch rate, and even hatching Pokemon eggs!
This generation of Pokemon introduces Z-Moves. This means you can use a special type of hold item that powers up a Pokemon’s attacks. This results in a lengthy cutscene which includes a devastating finish!
Finally, you can now use Ride Pokemon. You no longer need HMs as you can call upon these Pokemon to assist you outside of battle!
In addition, all TMs have unlimited uses! You can also play some new mini-games, like Mantine Surf!
In addition to battling through the story, you have 400 Pokemon to catch and add to your Pokedex. You’ll trade with friends and can even participate in Nintendo events to get exclusive Pokemon, such as Lugia and Ho-Oh!
Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon introduce a new post-game chapter, Episode RR. This is several hours long and features some powerful boss battles.
You can participate in the Battle Royal Dome, which holds unique challenges. There’s also the Battle Tree, which opens up gauntlet battles against powerful trainers. Finally, you can also interact in the Festival Plaza, which allows you to fight battles and trade Pokemon online!
Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon reintroduced me to the Pokemon series. After a several years-long hiatus, it made me feel invited back into a world that belonged in my childhood.
I honestly enjoyed these games more than Pokemon X and Y. The character designs, the story, and interactions with your friends and Rotom really made you feel like you were part of their world.
I enjoy the Gen VII Pokemon. Bewear, Mimikyu, Ribombee, Incineroar, and Lunala became some of my favorite designs. Whether you’re new to the series or a veteran player, you’ll surely find several Pokemon you love!
If you have Sun and Moon, it’s likely not worth the extra purchase unless you’re a diehard fan. This review largely covers Pokemon Sun and Moon as well.
That being said, if you haven’t played Sun and Moon, this game is completely worth it. If you enjoy JRPGs, Nintendo games, and want to play Pokemon again, get this game. Even if you’re new and coming from Pokemon Go, this game will be worth the dozens of hours you can invest into it!
We hope you enjoyed our Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon review! Did you play Sun and Moon previously? Are you a newcomer to the series or a returning fan? Let us know in the comments below!