Pokemon Ultra Sun And Ultra Moon [Game Review]

Title: Pokemon Ultra Sun and Pokemon Ultra Moon
Developer: GAME FREAK, Inc.
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: 
Nintendo 3DS
Category: 
RPG, Adventure
Release Date: 
November 17, 2017
How we got the game: 
We preordered physical copies

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Of course we’re going to buy and play the newest core Pokemon game! Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon came out almost literally a year after their predecessors Sun and Moon, and… were extremely similar to their predecessors, in my opinion. They were still a lot of fun to play!

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Story-wise, super similar! However, I felt as though they added a good amount of side quests as well as other things here and there to make the game enjoyable. In my opinion, more enjoyable than Sun and Moon.

gameplay

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Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon play much like every other core Pokemon game. Your main objective is to travel the land, catch and raise a team of Pokemon, and aim to become the strongest trainer in the region, all the while having the world’s fate rest on your 11-year-old shoulders.

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It’s easy enough since the game, in a way, holds your hand throughout. Your Rotom Dex is also the map on the bottom screen of the 3DS. There’s an arrow that shows where you are and where you’re going along with a red flag for where you’re supposed to go. Not to mention in Pokemon battles, if you’ve battled a Pokemon before, everytime you battle it again, your Pokemon’s moves will tell you if it’s effective or not. Though, none of this is different from Sun and Moon.

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Thus, the gameplay itself is fairly linear, with clear goals in mind and your opponents always being around a similar level as your Pokemon team. While there is plenty to explore, you always know where you’re supposed to go. A strategy is usually involved when it comes to battling — with type weaknesses and strengths, using items effectively, etc. — but it becomes a bit of a moot point when your Pokemon’s moves tell you if they’re super effective or not against Pokemon you’ve already fought. It helps to speed battles up and is great for newer fans, but some challenge is taken away.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Yes, they definitely catered it to younger players or first-time players. It is a cool feature, but I’d still like to learn it myself. A new gameplay mechanic was added and that was going through the Ultra Wormhole. It uses tilt controls on your 3DS to gain speed and head towards or away wormholes. You should always see how far you can get, but there are things in there that’ll slow you down. It’s one of those things that takes getting used to.

krismii
Using motion controls was a bit odd in a Pokemon game, but I didn’t mind it the few times I did it. I think I would have enjoyed the Ultra Wormhole aspect more had they been given more of a purpose. They seem to be just extra “pockets” of areas to catch rarer Pokemon. I would have liked to have more land to explore, such as the Ultra Megalopolis city. It was interesting to see and a great battle took place there, but that seemed to be it — granted, I’ve played enough to beat the main storyline, so perhaps there’s some post-Champion aspect of Ultra Megalopolis that I haven’t seen yet.

graphics-music

krismii
It’s utterly amazing how far the graphics and music for the Pokemon series has come since the original Blue and Red versions! Animated cut-scenes and battle stances, both for Pokemon and people, are fluid and crisp, and the scenery in the games are so pretty!

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While this is also in Sun and Moon, I love how they added actual backgrounds to the Poke Refresh as well as the battle sequences depending on where you are. They updated some of the music for certain battles where were upbeat and a lot of fun to hum to; especially the Rainbow Rocket music. It was very nostalgic.

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I noticed the Poke Refresh backgrounds as well, and was impressed — I wonder how much data and programming it took to be able to create so many individual backgrounds like that? Some of my favorite music was the Champion and Elite Four battle tunes, having come much farther than the original games.

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Yes, they did such a great job. It really makes me wonder what they’ll come up with next. Though, I will admit, they should have let your Pokemon follow you. I’d rather that than the backgrounds changes. But I’ll take what I can get.

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I do miss that from HeartGold and SoulSilver! I don’t know how it would work with the different graphics style of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, but it would have been a nice aspect, especially since Hau always seemed to have his starter Pokemon out with him, haha!
story

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As far as story goes, it’s not much different from Sun and Moon. You help Lillie and Gladion stop their mother, Lusamine, from opening the Ultra Wormhole. Of course, you fail, but then you end up getting to go into the Wormhole itself.

krismii
It took much longer for the Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon stories to appear different enough from the original Sun and Moon than I thought it would, and I was a little disappointed at that. I thought it would be a brand new adventure rather than a rehashed version of the original story, and I honestly wasn’t sure if the money was worth it. The wormholes have more of a purpose in these versions and there are a few more post-Champion events for you to do, but they seemed as if they could have been DLC for Sun and Moon rather than an entirely new game.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
It definitely seems like just an “updated” version of Sun and Moon, but I found it different enough. I enjoyed collecting the Totem stickers (even though I didn’t really care for the Totem Pokemon, but I like collecting things). I expected Team Rainbow Rocket to be part of the story instead of an afterthought. I enjoyed their time, but I wish they had a bigger part.

replay-value

krismii
It’s Pokemon. Of course we’re going to keep playing these games. With how many creatures you can raise, each with customizable move sets, as well as being able to set your own challenges as you progress throughout the game, the Pokemon games generally have a high replay value.

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I will not stop playing until I raise every single Pokemon to level 100. Then there are shiny Pokemon, of course.

Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon gets…
4 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! 

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Friday Favorites: 2017 Games

Double Jump Kris MiiOnly a few more weeks until Christmas!

Amid everything happening in life, we’ve played quite a few awesome games that came out this year. This week, I’m celebrating some of my favorites that I’ve played!

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Alrightie, so this was more or less an improved version of a game that has been out for a few years. Nonetheless, when we had gotten the Switch, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was one of the first games that we put on our list for the new console. With the new characters and tracks that had only been available previously as DLC, it was a good investment for us. Since then, we’ve had tons of fun playing the game with our cousins and the rest of our family!

Miitopia

This addictive and, at times, silly RPG was one of my top games due to how well it was written and how charming the graphics and characters were. Being able to customize your party and characters however you wanted while going through an intriguing adventure all helped push the game onto this list!

Fire Emblem Warriors

Hyrule Warriors was a great game for the Wii U, with placing characters from a favorite franchise into a new style of gameplay. Fire Emblem Warriors did something similar, and I had so much fun with the hack-and-slash game! While Hyrule Warriors had more diversity when it came to characters and attacks, Fire Emblem Warriors had more of a strategy and battle chaos that made me enjoy the gameplay much more.

Pokemon: Ultra Moon

It’s Pokemon. Obviously, the Pokemon game of the year is going to be on this list. I’m still playing it and, honestly, the story isn’t too different from the original Moon game yet in a way that has disappointed me a bit, but it’s a great adventure nonetheless. Seeing the Pokemon additions to the world, letting you fill up the National Pokedex easier than the previous versions, is fantastic. While your avatar still has a dopey smile on nearly the entire game, the other characters — Hau, Gladion, Lillie, for example — are wonderfully written.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

You guys really shouldn’t be surprised that this game is at the top of my list. I’m a Zelda fangirl through-and-through, and I have been waiting years for this game to come out. To see it in all of its open-world glory with a new twist on the same wonderful story was amazing to me! It’s a game that I’ll return to again and, honestly, probably won’t mind the DLC that gets released for it. I’ll use any excuse to return to that version of Hyrule.

What are your favorite games from this year?

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Pokemon Mega Construx

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A few months ago, when Gamestop was having a sale on all Pokemon items, we had to go there and go wild. I mean, it’s Pokemon. Why not? We were actually pretty good and didn’t get too much, but we did splurge on something a little different. Pokemon Mega Contrux, which are Lego Pokemon.

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Although it’s not Lego brand, they’re very similar to the other building block company Construx. Each box gives you extensive instructions and the needed blocks to properly build your little Pokemon and the surrounding scene, if there is one. When we did the Gyarados build, we even realized that they gave us a few extra pieces just in case they were needed… Unless Rachel and I just somehow missed a step somewhere and had the leftover pieces as a result.

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(I didn’t realize they were different companies… you learn something new every day!) We very well could have missed a step, but if we did, you can’t notice. Gyarados looks wonderful! It actually amazed me how it all came together so quick. You look at the mess of pieces and think that it can’t possibly turn out the way it looks on the box. But the instructions were well put together and therefore, so was our Gyarados.

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I remember having a big bucket of Legos as a kid and creating large towers out of them. Dad once helped me make a windmill, and it was tons of fun to spend that time with him! I doubt he remembers it now, haha! Now we have memories of us goofing off while trying to create a Gyarados. We still have the Ivysaur to create. Being smaller, it probably won’t take us as long, but you never know with us.

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The Gyarados didn’t even take us too long. We watched the old Pokemon anime while we did it too, which was fun. I’m looking forward to making Ivysaur and getting all the other Pokemon. I want to get Charizard and there are smaller ones for Pikachu and Eevee.

krismii
Our only problem with having these constructions is where to display them! Our Gyarados is sitting pretty on top of a stack of books that are on a wall shelf, which is a nice spot to both keep it out of the way and so the cat doesn’t try to play with it, especially since Gyarados came with a loose ultra ball. Still, it was a lot of fun to build, and I’m looking forward to creating more.

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We need to invest in display cases or shelves to store all our Amiibo and soon-to-be Contrux masterpieces! This was a fun, mindless project to work on that didn’t take too long. We enjoy puzzles, so this was a lot of fun!

Have you built the Pokemon Mega Contrux? What do you think of them? Let us know in the comments below!

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Friday Favorites: Best Pokeballs

Double Jump Kris MiiI can’t believe it’s already December… Everyone else ready for the holidays?

Rachel and I are still exploring Alola in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, with Rachel being a little farther than me. While we’re both a bit more interested in the story and seeing where it goes, we do our best to try to catch any wild Pokemon we don’t have in our Pokedexes. Today is all about the best pokeballs, in my opinion, for the job!

frifavesbestpokeballs

Dusk Ball

For the Alola generation of Pokemon games, I started off with Moon versions of the pairs. In Moon and Ultra Moon, the game is 12-hours ahead of the Sun versions (and the 3DS clock), making it nighttime when you play the game during the day. Dusk balls make it easier to catch Pokemon at night, or in dark places like caves, making them incredibly useful for me, especially this time around. Even when they were introduced in Generation IV, I used them often enough since I generally played the games later in the evenings after work.

Nest Ball

As someone who goes tends to go through the story parts of the game first then backtracks through routes to catch any wild Pokemon that may have been missed, I’m finding myself using Nest balls more often. With how quickly our parties of Pokemon grow with Exp. Share and plenty of battles, it’s easy for my Pokemon party to be too overpowered to merely weaken the wild Pokemon. Nest balls help when it comes to catching the lower-leveled Pokemon.

Friend Ball

Back in Generation II, when Happiness was first introduced, I loved being able to get Friend Balls from Kurt in Azalea Town. Even just the thought of a Pokemon being more friendly towards me when I first caught them was enough motivation for my younger self to use these pokeballs — I wanted my team to like me! They were always fantastic in helping to give Happiness a boost to the caught Pokemon.

Quick Balls

Whoever thought up of these pokeballs was a genius. Rachel and I tend to stock up on Quick Balls whenever we pass by a shop that sells them. Considering they work best when thrown at the beginning of a battle, it’s usually simple to just catch the wild Pokemon and move on, no weakening required. It’s not foolproof, no, but they work well for the most part.

What are your favorite pokeballs to catch Pokemon with? Any certain types of Pokemon that you love adding to your Pokedex?

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Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You!

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We watched Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You the other night. It came out in the US on November 5, 2017. It was shown in theaters and we were bummed we couldn’t make it, but it was shown on TV recently. I’ll admit, I didn’t know much about the movie going in. I just knew it was kind of a throwback to Ash getting Pikachu and starting out. It was a little different from what I expected… so, I was kind of glad we didn’t see it in theaters.

krismii
I have never dropped so many F-bombs nor teared up at a Pokemon movie as much as I did with this one! We expected it to be chock full of nostalgia with the beginning resembling the start of Ash’s journey, which is probably the season of the anime that Rachel and I are most familiar with. We watched the show through the first couple of regions, but our interest waned when the anime started taking place in Sinnoh or so. Basically, when Brock left, so did we, haha!

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The beginning of this movie was great. It was so nostalgic and I loved the way they portrayed Ash starting his journey – and Pikachu is utterly adorable! But for the last hour or so of the movie, I had a steady, thick stream of tears. It wasn’t pretty.

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My favorite part was when the theme song played. Hearing the original theme song was induced so many feelings itself, but having it coupled with the gorgeous montage of key moments from the beginning of Ash’s journey was amazing! Anime is a hit or miss with me in regards to the animation, but this movie was really well done. And the music? Damn, I would love to rock out to those tunes while playing the games! The animation and the music quality was awesome throughout the movie, even when the movie had a couple of dark turns.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
The theme song certainly was the best part. It was more of a montage than an actual theme, but the original song was great to hear and I loved how they fast forward time in that way. The music overall was upbeat and definitely got you amped up during the battles and the climax at the end. The other characters were great, too. I missed Misty and Brock for sure, but Sorrel and Verity were a great addition to Ash’s team. I would love to see more of them.

krismii
Yes, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Sorrel’s and Verity’s characters. Misty and Brock will always be the best companions, and I was a little put-off that they weren’t even mentioned (although, there seemed to be some Pokemon nods to them in the movie), but Sorrel and Verity did well. It was also a nice conclusion, if you will, for Ash seeing Ho-Oh in the very first episode of the anime. And then the movie had to show the scenes of how Charmander joined Ash’s team, of the episode Bye-Bye Butterfree, of a Luxray having a truly sad ending, that made us nearly bawl. Despite a weird moment of the final battle where Pikachu spoke English, we were tearing up at the end of the fight, too!

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The final parts of the movie were trippy and morbid, which really threw me off. I was not expecting it to take such a turn. It was great to see Marshadow, but even that Pokemon wasn’t explained very well – unless everything just went over my head. Overall, it was a great movie and I’m glad we watched it. It was nice to see the characters again, despite how weird it got.

Have you seen this movie? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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Character Spotlight: Gladion [Pokemon]

Happy Tuesday!

I can’t believe November has come and gone already… This month (the whole year) has flown by.

With the release of Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, I thought I’d talk about one of my favorite characters from the Alola region.

Gladion from Pokemon

Gladion was first introduced in November 2016 when Pokemon Sun and Moon was released for the Nintendo 3DS. He was a member of the rival team, Team Skull. His sister is Lillie, who happens to be a good friend of yours.

However, Gladion has different motives than Team Skull. One of the reasons I love Gladion is because he’s kind of an anti-hero in a way. He’s a double agent trying to do what’s best for Alola on the inside. He doesn’t agree with what his mother is trying to do, so he’s subtly rebelling.

He’s a good character and I think he was well rounded throughout the game. His character development was on point throughout the game and even though you’re meant to dislike him in the beginning, I always liked him. His character was intriguing to me and I had wished he was one of our friends from the very beginning.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Pokemon Sun and Moon had the best character development for all of their characters. I absolutely loved each character and Gladion is by far one of my favorites.

Do you like Gladion? Who’s your favorite character from Alola? Let me know in the comments below!

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First Impressions: Ultra Moon

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday! How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? I hope you all had a great weekend filled with family, friends, and fantastic food!

Our Thanksgiving was wonderful… then Rachel and I spent the rest of the weekend playing Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon!

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Rachel and I tend to try to “reward” ourselves with new video games around Thanksgiving for completing NaNoWriMo. After Thanksgiving dinner is over, our family rents a house in the mountains for the weekend where Rachel and I spend the time playing our games (with the occasional break for going out to eat and maybe shop with our parents).

Last year, we had Pokemon Sun and Moon. This year, it’s Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.

It was fun getting back to Alola, especially since I haven’t really played Sun and Moon since this time last year. However… I expected a much different opening.

Honestly, when I first turned on Ultra Moon and saw nearly the same opening story, I paused and wondered if I had accidentally put last year’s game into my 2DS. The only difference seemed to be the appearance of the Ultra Retcon Squad, or whatever the robotic characters are called. I expected the Ultra pair of games to have more of a different story, like how Black 2 and White 2 took place after the original Black and White games. Instead, the story so far seems to be remarkably similar and it was disappointing.

Don’t get me wrong, Ultra Moon is still fun, and it’s been nice seeing the plethora of Pokemon that inhabit the islands, but I’m looking forward to when the story really starts to pan out. Otherwise, it feels as if I just paid for the same games as last year, almost as if the Ultra pair are expensive DLC. If the Ultra pair are supposed to be an improved version of Sun and Moon, I almost wish that Nintendo would have waited the extra year and just released the Ultra pair rather than the original games.

I’m about halfway through the trials at this point. Let’s see if it gets more exciting from here!

How are you liking Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon so far?

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