(Note: I will spoil the demo so don’t read this post if you haven’t played it!)
The eagerly-awaited demo of Pokémon Sun and Moon is finally here! In this post I’ll point out what I think are the demo’s most important features, then I’ll offer my opinion on those features and how I think they will affect the full game once it releases next month. I am aware that players have already datamined the demo and have unearthed many new details about the game. But I’ve decided not to look at what they’ve found in order to keep at least some of this game a mystery.
Here’s a rundown of the most significant features of the demo:
- It appears that HMs are no more! Instead, the player has a pager with which they can call Pokémon to ride. The demo features a Tauros that smashes through rocks. It seems obvious that the full game will include Pokémon like Lapras and Charizard to ferry you through the water and the air. There is further evidence of the demise of HMs in the demo’s items menu. There’s a slot in the player’s bag for TMs but not HMs.
- Trials seem to take the place of traditional Gyms. At the end of the demo, the player has the option to transfer items and the special Greninja that they receive to the full version of the game. If the player selects Greninja, the game warns that the Pokémon will not obey them until they’ve completed two “grand Trials.” Pokémon used to obey trainers based on the number of badges they had so it seems that Trials will be taking the place of Gyms.
- The Trials are centered on completing a special task in addition to battling. The demo has the player complete a Trial in which they take pictures of Dragon-type Pokémon before fighting them. It’s reasonable to assume that all of the Trials will have similar challenges.
- The game has no 3D mode. There is no option for 3D in the demo in battles and in the overworld.
- The game warns players before they enter the sights of another trainer by having the screen narrow and focus on the opposing trainer but not initiating combat until the player draws closer.
The two biggest changes here are the seeming elimination of Gyms and HMs. While many spectacle that Trials will just be Gyms by another name (complete a puzzle, fight a battle, the end), the addition of powerful Totem Pokémon (if the Totem in the demo is any indication, these Pokémon added much-needed challenge!) and the strong focus on completing tasks other than battling distinguish Trials from Gyms in a way that I feel is progressive. Trials are undoubtedly built on Gyms but they are also evidence that the series is trying to do something new.
The seeming elimination of HMs is a godsend, a necessary change. Ever since Black and White allowed players to use TMs indefinitely, I’ve been hoping and praying that HMs would go. HMs do nothing but make the game clunky and ruin your attempts at composing a good team (you have to leave a slot for a Pokémon that knows Cut!). It seems that we are finally free from the tyranny of HMs.
This demo has me very excited for the full release of the game and I hope that it will raise your hopes for Sun and Moon as it has done for mine.