Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are the enhanced versions of Pokémon Sun and Moon. According to The Pokémon Company, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will be the swan song of the series on the Nintendo 3DS, with future entries presumably being on the Nintendo Switch. Fortunately, these final games stand out as two of the best entries in the series and are an excellent closing note for the 3DS.
For those who aren’t familiar with the previous games in the series, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon might be a bit confusing. We haven’t had a third version of a Pokémon game since Pokémon Platinum, and the fifth and sixth generation passed without any definitive editions being released. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon feature the same main story as Sun and Moon did, so we’re going to skip past that and get right to what makes the new games unique.
Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Review: Small Changes
Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon may retain the same story and gameplay as Sun and Moon, but it has been tightened up considerably. You’ll find yourself with a starter Pokémon much faster, and a lot of the beginning dialog has been shortened so you can get into your adventure quickly. There’s still a lot of non-skippable tutorials in the game, and they can drag on. However, that’s part and parcel for a Pokémon title and this game made a good compromise between allowing long-time fans to play faster and doling out help for newcomers.
Most of the changes in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are subtle up until the endgame, so don’t expect a drastically different experience if you’ve already played Sun and Moon. One of the first changes you’ll notice is the UI. It’s been changed to feature brighter colors that feel a lot more tropical and a quick save function.
Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Review: Ultra Changes
The most significant addition is the larger part Ultra Wormholes, and Ultra Space plays in the game. The Ultra Recon Squad will interject at points in your travels through Alola, which will eventually build up to the post-game quest to explore Ultra Wormholes. Using a Legendary Pokémon, you can enter Ultra Space and find wormholes which can lead to you catching rare or even legendary Pokémon.
Some of the island trials have been tweaked as well. In Sun and Moon, the trials could be somewhat tedious or uninspired. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon have made changes to make trials a more unique and fun experience, and they feel a lot more vital than before. This extends to NPCs as well, who have more dialog that inspires you to return to them.
There are more interactions with Pokémon you find in towns as well. You can play peek-a-boo with any random tame Pokémon you see in the cities of Alola. Furthermore, NPCs nearby will comment on what you’re doing, and it was little touches like these that make Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon stand out.
A new Pokémon game typically means new Pokémon, and Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are no different. During the course of the game, you can collect Totem Stickers, which have been placed on objects all over Alola, to get a chance to catch new Totem Pokémon. I mentioned above the ability to capture Legendary Pokémon that weren’t in the Sun and Moon in Ultra Wormholes. For the entirely new Pokémon though, you’ll have to wait until your journey to the Elite Four is almost complete.
Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Review: Is it Worth it if I Have Pokémon Sun and Moon?
The biggest bummer with Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are that there’s two versions. In earlier generations, the third, enhanced version of the game just came in one form. However, these games have the same version exclusive Pokémon as Sun and Moon and also have version exclusive Legendary Pokémon. It would have been kinder to fans that already bought Sun and Moon if The Pokémon Company had just released the one definitive edition.
With the Pokémon series moving to the Nintendo Switch, we’ll be entering a new era. Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon may be the last purely handheld Pokémon games. It’s fitting then that these titles are two of the best Pokémon games made. If you already own Sun and Moon and aren’t thrilled at the aspect of traveling through Alola again, you might want to pass, because a lot of the new stuff is post game. If you haven’t played Sun and Moon, or any entry in the series in a while, Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon is a great place to pick up the series again.