A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents should know that Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon are adventure games for the Nintendo 3DS. Both games, which are essentially the same with some subtle differences, have some mild cartoon violence. Players battle their Pokémon creatures against adversaries where they can strike the enemy with physical and magical blows, but there's no blood or gore. Players may find themselves interested in checking out other Pokémon merchandise after playing these games.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
POKÉMON SUN and POKÉMON MOON let gamers become a Pokémon trainer who arrives on the fictitious tropical islands of Alola Region, so you can find, catch, level up, and battle unique Pokémon against others. The light story isn't of any substance, but your goal is to become a Pokémon Champion by exploring large areas and bypassing obstacles by summoning help (like a horned creature to smash rocks, so you can enter a cave). You'll also toss Pokéballs to trap creatures and use a new, intuitive screen to manage your rock-paper-scissors battles by choosing the ideal offensive and defensive maneuvers based on the Pokémon you're up against.
Is it any good?
Whether you’re a seasoned Pokémon fan or brand-new to the series, these two games are excellent role-playing games for players on the go. Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon -- one taking place during the day and the other at night, with different Pokémon available per game -- hasn't changed the standard gameplay formula from previous titles, which is just fine, but there are a few enhancements and additions this time around.
Everything isn't perfect with these two games, because you'll have to forgive the lame story and some long animations you can’t skip through. If you can look past these issues, the improved graphics, intuitive controls, and engaging combat sequences all make these games easy to pick up, but difficult to put down. Even the little things -- a helpful new map and an objectives list on the bottom screen of the 3DS and the ability to earn Z-crystals to unlock super powers (or Z-moves) are worth mentioning. During battles, you can also tap the "i" (information) button to see what kind of an effect your move may have on the enemy, which is a welcome new feature to prevent you from wasting time in combat. Overall, Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon are exactly what a good sequel should be: something that retains what made the original games so beloved, yet builds upon the foundation in a few key areas.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violent content in Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. What are your thoughts on using Pokémon for battle? Is it an OK way to resolve conflict? What might other options be?
Talk about branding and franchises. If you weren't interacting with and collecting recognizable Pokémon characters, but instead you were using a group of random characters, would you still play the game? Did you want to play the game because it featured Pokémon? What makes them so popular and engaging?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Nintendo of America
- Release date: November 18, 2016
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Dinosaurs, Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Cartoon Violence
- Last updated: October 21, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.