This is a very weird time for Pokémon. Niantic is still going strong on last year’s huge hit with Pokémon GO for mobile devices, the physical Trading Card Game has seen a huge resurgence in the past year, and even though the 3DS has been languishing for a little while, Game Freak and Nintendo have offered up an updated release of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon for the taking. Despite being only a year since the original’s release.
With the game being an update of a game that came out just a year ago, read our original review here before treading further.
The long and short of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon is this: if you haven’t played the latest two games in the franchise and are looking for some new pocket monsters to collect, train, and battle, this is your jam. If you played it last year and you’re not a completionist who needs every game in the collection, wait for the new Pokémon game coming to Nintendo Switch. Caveat: you may be waiting a while.
Much like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild did away with traditional dungeon mechanics, Pokémon Sun and Moon eschewed traditional gym battles for trials that include battling, collectin rare items, and other fetch quests. Ultra Sun and Moon don’t change this mechanic in the slightest, but the additional storyline of the new games does include additional content that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.
This content is quite varied from the original, and it includes a new duo called the Ultra Recon Squad that is very interested in your creatures, to say the least. The story takes more of a unique turn than expected, but it is tough to say much and remain spoiler-free. What is perhaps most annoying is that all this extra content doesn’t really begin until more than halfway through the game, so for those who do elect to play every game in the series, there is a serious slog of content to play through again before getting to anything truly new. And Sun and Moon weren’t exactly the most fast-paced of the Pokémon games.
Our review of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon has to take into account that the game is so fresh in our minds, and so graphics, audio, and gameplay is largely the same from the original games. As such, if you have played Pokémon Sun and Moon before, these updates are a hard pass for all but the hardcore. If you haven’t played the originals, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are the versions to get, and our score below reflects that.
A remake of the original versions of the games, with additional content, make Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon must-plays for those that haven't played the originals. For those that have, it may be time to take a pass.