Disclaimer: Since I wrote this post, I have now played many more hours than ten. Truth be told, I got way too into the game and forgot about life so I just rediscovered this blog post in my drafts! I made 0 edits to the post since its original form though (even though some of my views have changed), and plan to do a follow-up when I’ve completed the main storyline.
I’ve followed the Pokemon games since I first started gaming back in ‘96 and got my first ever video game – Pokemon Red. I’ve based these initial reactions on how much I’ve enjoyed Pokemon Moon as a standalone game, as well as how it compares to other games in the series, particularly generations V and VI. I’ve just completed my first Grand Trial in the game, so thought now would be a good time to reflect on my first few hours of gameplay.
Interacting with your Pokemon is really sweet but time-consuming
I’m a sucker for cute stuffs, so when I first discovered that I can pet my Pokemon using the 3DS touchscreen and see my Pokemon’s reaction, I was delighted! There are different ways you can interact with the Pokemon in your party, from petting, feeding them different coloured beans and cleaning them up after battle to relive status conditions. The latter is really interesting, as it means less money spent on Full Heals and fewer trips to the Pokemon Center. The petting and feeding are great ways to increase the bond between you and your Pokemon, which for some Pokemon (such as Eevee) is essential for evolving as they will not evolve without a high friendship rating.
The only thing I’d say is that Pokemon require a lot of care! It’s easy to spend quite a lot of time petting and feeding your Pokemon to maintain the bond and happiness, which can slow down progress of the main quest. It’s a good way to teach us to be nicer Pokemon trainers though!
Team Skull are really cringey
I’m not sure what the thought process was behind Team Skull’s vocabulary and animations but they are bizarre to say the least (what’s that walk about?!). Plus I don’t think I can ever get used to being called ‘homie’ on Pokemon… It’s just weird.
Festival Plaza takes some getting used to, but it’s a nice idea
Game Freak are clearly trying to make the Pokemon series easier to game online with, and Festival Plaza is a nice way to socialise with friends and randoms. The various festival stalls also integrate with the main gameplay; clothes can be dyed, prizes (such as potions etc.) can be won at the lottery stands and your Pokemon can jump around in a bouncy castle to improve their base HP and other stats.
You can also take part in festival quests with other players once your Festival Plaza has reached level 4. This is another good way to win festival coins, which can be used at the stalls.
Shiny Pokemon occur more frequently
Before completing my Grand Trial I had already found and caught a Shiny Rattata. I’m not entirely sure how it differs to the normal Rattata but I definitely felt some kind of sense of achievement when I caught it… I’m just not sure why!
The ability to add a newly caught Pokemon to your team is welcomed
In no other game have you been able to send a Pokemon back to the PC simply by catching another one out in the fields. This is a really nice feature, which will be greatly appreciated later in the game (I’m thinking Victory Road) when the gap between Pokemon Centers widens.