By Jasmine Alfaro
Pokemon, a national media phenomenon, released new installments, “Pokémon Sun” and “Pokémon Moon,” on Nov. 18 to yet again continue its 20 year-old legacy of pocket monsters and pokéballs.
My expectation that this game would be another desperate attempt to keep the franchise alive was proven wrong once I powered my Nintendo 3DS to play. As hours of gameplay have turned into days, the games have proven to significantly honor the franchise’s 20th anniversary.
“Pokémon Sun” and “Pokémon Moon” both follow the same algorithm of previous installments, in which the player is a young Pokemon trainer who explores the game’s region, capturing and leveling up different Pokemon to progress further. Both games introduce brain-puzzling scavenger hunts and puzzles in the form of island challenge trials, a substitute for the ancient Pokemon gyms.
This alteration highlighted my love for challenges, testing me to complete a trial that made me tirelessly search for ingredients, and come face to face with a boss Pokemon five levels stronger than my party.
Another refreshing change is the breathtaking diversity of the setting, which is basically an allegory for Hawaii. Each inhabitant exhibits a native laid-back attitude that made me enjoy my adventure even more.
Unlike past Pokémon games that made me solely focus on being “the very best,” both games have made me laugh from the endearing jokes of non-playable characters, amazed me with sharp graphics and polish, and entertained me with unexpected battles that could easily make me rage quit.
To fit the tropical theme of the game, both versions introduce the Alola forms of first generation Pokémon, such as the colorful Grimer and giraffe-esque Exeggutor. The new forms creatively parallel the ecology of the region and give interesting types of Pokémon combinations for competitive players to take advantage of.
The music is filled with original scores that are Hawaiian-inspired, unique yet familiar to past players, especially those who remember the iconic battle theme.
Despite the annoying fluctuations in their frame rates when it comes to battling more than one Pokémon, they are truly games that make me stop and smell the roses.
“Pokémon Sun” and “Pokémon Moon” are both successes that prove that an old gaming dog can still learn new tricks. They can appeal to everyone, from critical veterans to confused beginners.