Pokemon Sun and Moon Demo Impressions – A Taste Of Something Good

I’ve been pretty excited since Pokemon Sun and Moon were announced (to be honest I’ve been excited for most of the Pokemon games) and, when a demo was announced, I knew I’d be downloading it straight away to see what the new game has in store for players. It’s not a particularly long demo and doesn’t really show off too much, but it does give you enough to make it worth playing (because who wouldn’t love a free Pokemon?) So here are my impressions of Pokemon Sun and Moon so far (short and sweet, just like the demo itself!)

The first thing to mention is that the demo is not taken from the game, so by downloading and playing it you won’t really be spoiling any of the actual gameplay for yourself. It’s pretty much a guided tour of a few features, and begins with your character (Sun) and his mother moving to the Alola region from Kanto. You’re quickly whisked off to the City Hall and it’s here that you meet Hau, a local of Hau’oli and your guide through the demo. After this you’re given a taste of the updated battle mechanics through a battle with Team Skull Grunts (who have the most adorable and quirky animations of the entire game).

Battling the Grunts is essentially the same, with an updated UI. Following this, the two Grunts run away promising to “return with their sister” and it’s not long before you’re introduced to the strangely-muscular Professor Kukui, who agrees to train you for when you next run into Team Skull. This is where Trials are introduced which, if you’ve been keeping up with the new games, replace traditional Pokemon Gym battles. For the demo trial you’re tasked with taking pictures of 5 Pokemon in caves, using a Poke Finder, and warned that the Pokemon will attack if startled (which is where your Ash-Greninja and his Pikachu come in handy). The trial also introduces you to Jangmo-o and Hakamo-o, both new Dragon types. It’s pretty easy actually: head towards the noise, snap a picture and beat the critter in a battle before moving on to the next one. The 5th Pokemon is a Totem Hakamo-o, which are special Pokemon you’ll encounter at the end of island trials. I like how the Totem can summon backup to make a battle more challenging, but this Hakamo-o is pretty easy considering it’s just a demo.

Pikachu’s Z-Move is extremely powerful and even a little overkill against this poor Golbat.

After defeating the Totem, Prof. Kukui gives you a Z-Ring and a Z-Crystal as your reward, which introduces the new mechanic just in time for another Team Skull battle – this time with the sister of the grunts and her Golbat- a pretty easy battle considering you just learned the Z-move for Pikachu. Completing this battle leads you on to a promo trailer, and voila! You’ve just completed the Pokemon Sun and Moon demo. It’s by no means the longest of demos (I managed to make it last about an hour), but it does introduce some of the core gameplay mechanics quite nicely while providing you with a taste to tide you over until 18th November (or 23rd November if you’re over in the UK like I am).  Despite completing the actual story in the demo, however, there are still more things to do and explore.

For starters, re-opening the game will let you try out the Ride Pager, where you can ride around on your Pokemon (similar to riding your Gogoat in Pokemon X and Y). The Professor helpfully provides you with your Ride Pager and a Tauros to ride around on, which will lead you to another freebie in the game: a gold nugget. To get your free transferrable nugget you need to head back to the trial area and, instead of heading towards the cave, head right (holding B to make Tauros smash the rocks – goodbye HM Rock Smash!) This will take you to a Pokemon Catching Challenge, where you simply need to catch as many Pokemon as possible. Sadly you can’t actually keep any of these to port to your full game. You can also get a free Star Piece by battling the new trainers along the way to the trial cave, and finally defeating Ace Trainer Sheri, and can get three Stardusts by finding the Mahalo Trail and meeting the mysterious old man there. All of these, along with your trusty Greninja, can be ported over to the full game by talking to Professor Kukui in the Pokemon Centre.

Finally some of the NPC’s tell you to return on certain days to participate in extra events, or unlock something else for your game. Currently I’ve found a woman who wants me to come back when she leaves on a boat, and a policeman who might need backup to foil a daring crime. Small things, but they’re intriguing enough to make me go back.

Sounds awfully mysterious to me...

Sounds awfully mysterious to me…

For such a short demo it is entertaining, and certainly gives you a good look at what to expect when the full game hits the stores next month. It really is worth downloading for the free Ash-Greninja and free goodies (they’ll definitely help when you’re strapped for cash at the start of the game).

The demo is available to download now via the Nintendo E-Shop, and Pokemon Sun and Moon comes out for Nintendo 3DS on November 18th 2016 and November 23rd for the UK. Have you played the demo yet? Let me know what you thought about it by leaving a comment.