A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Basic themes of friendship, teamwork, adventure, personal growth. While characters say they love and care for their Pokémon, they show no hesitation in sending them into battle, where they may get hurt.
Positive Role Models
Player's customizable character has little personality or backstory, but several non-player characters exhibit a wide range of traits, including kindness, courage, and generosity as well as greed, anger, and jealousy.
Ease of Play
Welcoming to both veterans and rookies, with a gradual learning curve that should allow novices to understand, if not necessarily master, the game's many intricacies before bumping up against some serious challenges.
Violence & Scariness
Fantasy creatures fight each other by orders of their trainers using magic and melee attacks, resulting in colorful effects, smashing, exploding sounds. Pokémon never die, but losers faint from exhaustion.
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Products & Purchases
Part of an enormous franchise spanning games, books, comics, TV shows, movies, costumes, toys.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon are tweaked versions of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. Players take control of a customizable young Pokémon trainer who travels across the region of Alola collecting monsters to train and putting them in battle against other monsters. Combat involves a variety of melee and magical attacks, with flashes and sound effects accompanying hits. Pokémon never die, but instead faint and then recuperate. The simple story contains themes of friendship and personal growth, mostly displayed by kind and helpful non-player characters who are part of the story. Combat eventually grows to become challenging, but a gradual learning curve lets rookies get a good feel for how everything works before the game gets too hard.
Is It Any Good?
Both of these games are undeniably fun -- better, even, than the two upon which they're based. Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon's tweaked story elements are engaging, helping players get into the thick of things a bit quicker while introducing some surprises that create a meaningfully different experience. And kids who love to collect Pokémon will undoubtedly have a blast trying to track down the new and powerful monsters lurking around Alola. There's also plenty of fresh busywork for players who enjoy the Animal Crossing-style elements of Pokémon games, plus new places to explore and new challenges to overcome. If you didn't play 2016's vanilla versions, you'll be in for an especially fun time. The big question, though, is whether or not these games are worth revisiting for those who played the originals. Is there enough new here to justify purchasing and playing what, underneath all the enhancements, is essentially the same core game a second time?
The answer to this question depends entirely on just how big of a Pokémon fan you are. Series acolytes will delight in all of the alterations and embellishments, lapping up the ample references to previous Pokémon games both subtle and overt while feverishly trying to fill up their expanded Pokédexes with all the new critters. More casual players, on the other hand, will likely experience a serious sense of déjà vu and find themselves wondering why they're doing stuff they did just months before. These kids are better off waiting for the next generation of Nintendo's pocket monster role-playing game series, which is set to debut on Nintendo Switch and will likely play host to a huge range of satisfying series-evolving enhancements.
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