If you told little four-year-old Kristina that, 18 years later, she would still be excited to play a new Pokemon game, she probably would have thought that was the coolest thing.
Who am I kidding? I’m 22 years old and even more excited than I was for Pokemon Go showing that these wonderful creatures somehow existed in our own world because there is nothing like getting lost in a brand new region.
A disclaimer about how I will play the game: My biggest thing about playing any of the games is to just enjoy it. I don’t try to train only the best of the best Pokemon with the greatest stats; as someone who gets winded from taking the stairs in real life, it’d be rude of me to hold them to that standard. I like approaching the games in a way that I actually feel like I’m exploring each region and just trying to be the best I can be. I also don't play with 3D just for the sake of my eyesight.
As of right now, I’ll only be able to play Sun, and, remember, unlike previous generations, the biggest difference with the two games is that the time of day each game is played actually differs.
I’m so excited to play I’m shaking. A little peeved I forgot to do a system update, but now it’s time to discover the world of Alola!
Just waiting for the game is the best! A cute little Pikachu is chillin' in a pokeball-themed life saver. Oh, it’s just for the language preferences. There are a SURPRISING number of language options, but I’ll stick with English! Toodles Pikachu! It’s time to play!
We start with an immediate video message from Professor Kukui. Actual 3D or not, it's still one heck of an introduction to this region’s professor. He knows we’re moving to Alola, and it kind of reminds me of gen three -- just no moving truck.
We get an immediate look at this new region’s map from our professor. Alola is made of several islands, which kind of remind me of the Orange Islands adventure from the show, but the Professor says it's the reason for the rare new batch of Pokemon we’re going to meet. And what POKEMON IS IN THE BALL?
OH, IT’S THE PUPPY.
There is more stuff from the prof about where we’ll find Pokemon, but there's a puppy on screen, and I am only human. It’s called Rockruff. It wants to play with the professor, and I need 300 of them immediately.
We get to pick from eight pre-designed character looks (which is cool), but none really look like me. So I’ll settle for a girl who looks pretty close. AND BAM. KRIS HAS ENTERED THE GAME, Y'ALL (and needs to help unpack the boxes...)! A new world of Pokemon doesn’t mean we can avoid being a responsible child.
...Right to a cut scene? Oh, wow. Who is this intense looking girl? THAT POKEMON SHE'S SMUGGLING LOOKS SO SAD. RUN PERSON RUN. SHE’S TOTALLY GOT THIS ESCAPE IN THE BAG ... Okay, maybe not. Get away creepy peo- Oh? Some burst of light from the Pokemon, and she’s out of there? And into the logo! Well done.
So here our hero's story begins.
Let's take a closer look at Alola. What an incredible sight. Our home looks cool as hell, and our mom looks pleased to be enjoying the sunshine. (Bonus accuracy points because the family apparently also owns a Meowth.) Looks like our cat is coming to find us? Giving us a cool look at our room. The only inaccuracy is that the cat wouldn’t try to jump on my face to wake me up, but I love it anyway. NOW TO EXPLORE!
Okay, so our trainer guide book is from our dad. First time since gen 3 that we get multiple parents for our hero. According to the globe in our room, Alola and Kanto seem far apart. This place is fancy as hell. Mom is excited for us to explore this new region and is rambling when the doorbell rings.
Wow, it took so many years, but they’ve finally given the game doorbells for general privacy. Yes, in the revamped Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, that was included in New Mauville, but this still seems really cool. I guess Professors make house calls 'cause we finally get a look at our new professor! (Where is his shirt?)
Apparently, we moved from Kanto (which explains the Meowth), according to our warm intro from Kukui. We’ve been in Alola a day, apparently. I appreciate the consistency, Pokemon, even have our professor calling our parent Mom when you probably know her real name. Mom knows Kukui, apparently. Kukui battled against the Indigo Gym Leaders in Kanto once upon a time, which helped convince Mom to move us to this new place.
Kukui was in Kanto to research Pokemon and learned even more from the Gym Leaders. But no time to waste, the shirtless prof bro wants us to meet the Island Kahuna and get our PARTNER! Now we can ask about either Pokemon or Kahunas -- it’s not my first Pokemon rodeo, so I’ll ask about the Kahuna.
Kahunas are apparently “crazy-strong” trainers in Alola. Kukui claims they’re “unbeatable,” but we’ll see about that. The Kahuna we’re gonna meet is in Iki Town and is our source for our starter Pokemon. Mom is excited that this Kahuna will just give us a Pokemon (I am, too, honestly.), so let’s get to Iki Town after throwing on an outfit for our next great adventure!
We have a pretty big house, but enough about that. We gotta follow the professor, it seems, before we can do much exploring which makes sense because we probably need that starter Pokemon. Kukui emphasizes that Pokemon and Trainers work and live together because “you can go anywhere as long as you got Pokemon helping you out here.”
The little details going into this game are incredible. You can hear the Pokemon, as you walk around, and the ledges actually look like ledges you can hop down from. AND WHAT A TEASE. THERE’S JUST A POKEMON CHILLING NEARBY. Oh, those sounds are apparently from the battling trainers nearby.
Iki town is a cute looking place. According to Kukui, it’s where people come to worship, Tapu Koko, the Pokemon that watches over Melemele Island and keeps people safe. We’re heading towards Mahalo Trail where Tapu Koko’s ruins are, but of course we gotta find this Kahuna when we have no idea what they look like. But now ... shameless invasion of random people’s homes 'til I find this person!
Okay, so general exploring just gives you more insight into Alolan culture, but you eventually spot that mysterious cut scene person with the distressed Pokemon. Apparently, they’re heading toward the Ruins? (Is this another legendary she’s casually carrying in a gym bag?)
Looks like we’re gonna have to head toward the Ruin of Conflict because I can’t find the Kahuna. This trail looks intense, and I love it. The mysterious person is still walking the same way we are and is hiding something awesome in that bag, I’m sure of it.
A cute mysterious Pokemon wanders across the bridge? OH NO! IT’S GONNA GET ATTACKED BY SPEAROW. (Such a bully Pokemon, I swear.) WE GOTTA HELP THIS PERSON!
Who she is doesn’t matter to me. I need to help that cute Pokemon that she calls Nebby? (Nebula-type Pokemon, perhaps?) Okay, she’s scared, I have no Pokemon, but I gotta save the little cutie. Pro-tip if you’re afraid of heights in real life: don’t run across the wooden bridge to be a hero; you’ll stumble and give yourself a real life small panic attack.
Cut scene happens. You cover Nebby as best you can, and the Spearows attack you. Nebby panics and attacks in a way that destroys the bridge, BUT you get saved by Tapu Koko who comes and saves you from the waterfall in a cool burst of electricity. It disappears after returning you to safety, and, wow!, what an entrance for this new region.
Nebby gets wiped after trying to save people, apparently, but this trainer person really cares for the cute thing. We find a random Sparkling Stone, and it’s a key item so we definitely won’t be using it any time soon. Still no Kahuna or Pokemon, but let’s get this duo back to town. Turns out this person is named Lillie, and she is Kukui’s assistant! We’re just in time for Kahuna Hala to return from wherever they were!
Ah, that’s what a Kahuna looks like. He was away solving a problem on the island, apparently. Since it is rare for the island’s deity to save anyone, it gives Hala the approval to entrust us with our partner Pokemon. These starters are so cute, but I love Litten, the fire-type cat, more than anything. This is different, Litten needs to choose me, too (this is cute).
This is the most nerve-wracking thing in the world. Litten is just staring at me. (OH GOD, WHAT IF THE LITTLE GUY DOESN’T WANT ME, WHAT DO I DO?) Awesome, not only did it approve of me and look genuinely happy, but it even jumped into my trainer’s arms, and we got to lift it up! I may or may not have just named it after my own cat, but who cares? This is the greatest thing.
Now that we’ve got our own Pokemon, it’s time to get our Pokedex and a Trainer Passport. Time to head home to show Mom! By the way, before I headed back to Mom’s, I explored a bit more, one of the places actually has a bathroom. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in the games before -- this is amazing.
Ah, so here we go. Our rival, I assume, has just made their presence known. This is Hau, and, oddly enough, his partner is the grass type Rowlet (uncommon because, if you’ve played before, our rivals usually pick the superior type). Hau is the Kahuna’s grandson apparently. I thought I got some Professor Oak vibes from him. But an easy win if you play it right, first victory in hand with my Litten!
Oh? The stone did a thing? Apparently, getting that stone was a gift from the deity that has the Kahuna saying we were meant to be in Alola. The Kahuna takes the stone for a day, probably to research why it did the sparkly thing after we won.
We finally get home, and, oh my goodness, our partner Pokemon is casually out of their ball, and our mom and Meowth approve right before we immediately cut into the next day where we will probably get to check out the festiv- Doorbell again, though, because Kukui is here to bring us to the festival.
I'll cut off this entry here before we get to Route 1 to probably learn how to catch Pokemon, build up my team and explore Alola!
Time of play: 1 hour, 18 minutes | Pokemon captured: 1.
Which starter did you pick? What are you looking forward to? Check back here on PopWrapped for the next edition of KA plays Pokemon Sun!