It’s Pokémon time again, and just like with Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire, there’s a demo for Sun & Moon. Special demos that aren’t limited to 30 uses like standard demos on eShop. Because Nintendo is a prick.
So let’s take a look. …The game; not the prick.
We start out on an island with the new male character, Sun. At least we’re supposed to think he’s new, but you can’t fool me, GameFreak – you’re trying to pass off a tropical version of Calem from X & Y as a new character, only shorter and slightly tanned. I expect no design rehashing from Pokémon, ~thank you very much~, and especially not from the 7th iteration of the formula (not counting countless spin-offs).
According to a letter in the mailbox,
TropiCalem Sun just moved to Aloha Alola region with his mom. Her name? Why would you care? She’s the Mom character in a Pokémon game; we’d be lucky if we ever get a name. As far as I’m concerned, she’s “Alolan Mom”. Sun also has a Greninja that the letter sender… left for him, or already gave him prior – it’s not very clear. Who’s the sender then? I don’t know, because they didn’t write their name.
Next, we see the starter town, Hau’oli City. Slightly bigger than most starting towns. First stop: City Hall, to register their new address. Apparently, they moved from Kanto.
This is Hau, who is apparently here to show Sun around while Mom waits for the registration process. Neat. So they exit the City Hall and-
Oh dear gods.
Remember when Pokémon villain teams used to be menacing?
I’m not saying Team Flare was a stellar record by any measure, buuuuuuut…
C- Can I just start the battle already?
Now we have our first Trainer-slash-Grunt battle, and see how the interface has been spruced up. Instead of 2D still images for opponent portraits, their 3D models actually move and pose now – which was reserved strictly for important characters in G6 – with a defeated expression at the end. Trainer models even show up in the battlefield!
The lower screen has the same commands as before, except the buttons are rearranged to be more compact. In the space cleared up thereafter are icons of Pokémon currently in battle; pressing them brings up a new feature that I really dig: The screen that shows every stat change and condition in play at the moment. Not that I was in urgent need of something like this when battling intently (because I’ve adapted after two decades of playing essentially the same game), but it’s still a really intuitive addition and I welcome it. I just wish GameFreak implemented this sooner.
I fight only one grunt, so I assume Hau is handling the other. Nothing much to say – my final-stage starter vs. the regional equivalent of Rattata. Music is electric and energetic; like Team Flare Grunt battle theme, but not as instantly catchy. The stooges run off, swaggering something about telling their “big sis” or something.
What we need right after a battle is the Pokémon Center, and Hau considerately leads Sun there. Once they leave:
This is Kukui, the regional
Prochestor Professor. His specialty is Pokémon moves, and he’s so into moves that he tests Pokémon moves on himself.
Just so you know, this generation’s titles make it so easy for “S&M” jokes. To say I wasn’t squealing inside with glee over this would be lying, but I don’t even need to try here – the grin on his face says enough.
Hau suggests giving Sun some training, so Kukui invites him to an island trial, a local custom that trains kids at – what else – Pokémon stuff.