By Joshua Kamath
As I’m sure most of you are already aware, Nintendo have released more information about Pokemon Sun and Moon with their latest trailer at 11pm AEST. Of all the announcements to date, this is probably the most interesting, so I figured it’s time to start talking.
This trailer gave us evolutions and pre-evolutions for the new Pokemon we’ve already seen. Yungoos get an expected evolution into Gumshoos, looking more and more like a brooding parody of Donald Trump. I couldn’t help but laugh at it and wonder what it will look like competitively, as well as how many we’ll see on Battle Spot when it reopens.
A new line of Grass-type was also shown, as well as a new move named “Solar Blade”. A throwback to the good old Gen 1 days, just like it’s special counterpart (Solar Beam), Solar Blade is a two turn move, charging up on the first turn and then cutting through its target on the second. Assumedly, using it in the sun will charge and release on the same turn, but either way, this is a really interesting move, and I’m excited to see what other Pokemon get it.
One of the most tantalising reveals, from a competitive perspective, is Oricorio. A tropical bird, it has a different form and typing depending on which of the 4 islands you obtain it on; Baile Style is Fire/Flying; Pom-Pom Style is Electric/Flying; Pa’u Style is Psychic/Flying; and Sensu Style is Ghost/Flying. As if that wasn’t enough, it has a new move (Revelation Dance), which changes type depending on the Oricorio’s type, much like how Genesect’s Techno Blast typing was dependant on the Drive it held. However, the real draw is it’s ability: Dancer. Dancer allows Oricorio to mimic a Dance move (Dragon Dance, Swords Dance, Quiver Dance) used in front of it, though it is unclear whether this replaced the move selected for the turn, used immediately as a secondary move for the turn or simply adds to the 4 moves it can use for the next turn. Considering most Singles games are won by set-up sweepers, a Pokemon like this could see high use within the competitive community. With an ability like this, I feel like it’s safe to assume that it’s base stats will be low, but evenly spread. The real question is how well it’s movepool will support such a fascinating ability.
Now for the reveal that had all fans of the franchise my age jump out of their seats and scream to the heavens; Kanto Pokemon with alternate typings. Vulpix, Ninetales, Sandshrew, Sandslash and Exeggutor are the first Pokemon we’ve been shown to have this happen to them, and the type choices and redesigns are inspired. This is the also the first time we’ve been shown that Pokemon, who have been discovered outside the region they were discovered in, can adapt to the environments of a new region. Normally a Fire-type and Ground-type respectively, Vulpix and Sandshrew have adapted to the new terrain into Ice-types, types one would not ordinarily expect, given the volcanic nature of a classical tropical island paradise.
Exeggutor found a new place in Alola as a Grass/Dragon, growing a 4th head at the end of its new tail. All in all, I like the redesigns on paper, but gameplay will be a whole other challenge to tackle.
Finally, I want to talk about the single biggest change to the franchise since Mega Evolution was introduced 3 years ago. The Alola region does not have Gyms or Gym Leaders. Yes, you read that right, the formula that every installment in the franchise has utilised has undergone some tweaking. Instead, players will experience Trials and Rites of Passage specific to each island. These trials bring Pokemon Sun and Moon closer to their RPG roots, as trials will not be exclusively limited to battling, but rather, they open up to gathering missions or tests of knowledge. Of course, at the end of each trial, there will be a Totem Pokemon waiting to battle you, though these Pokemon will be stronger than their regular counterparts. Not to sound pretentious, but I think it’s about time that the franchise finds a way to solve all it’s story problems without resorting to battles. Knowledge and resourcefulness can be just as critical to problem solving as strategy and brute strength. This is especially refreshing after the cake-walk that was the storyline of X and Y, an installment where your Pokemon were almost always 5-10 levels above anything opposing trainers could throw in front of you. In addition to the Trials, players will challenge with Trial Captains and Kahunas to prove that they are worthy of moving on the next island, so while we don’t have Gym Leaders per se, this is the Alola region’s equivalent.
Well, that’s pretty much everything covered by the latest reveal trailer. The link for it is here, in case you haven’t seen it yet and want to see what I’ve been talking about in action. I’ll happily continue covering reveal information when the trailers come up, if that is what you, as readers would like. Drop a comment below to let me know.