I’ve been playing Pokemon games since the very first were released on the Game Boy in 1998. I put hundreds of hours in on that game on the school bus and elsewhere - and I’ve played every single game in the series since. Nearly all of them have followed the same basic formula. A professor gives you a Pokemon at the start of the game, and then you travel around through several cities, catching more Pokemon along the way, and defeating 8 powerful Gym Leaders, while also stopping some nefarious group or another from achieving their evil goals.
In Nintendo’s new Pokemon games, Pokemon Sun and Moon, this formula has been changed up. The game is set in the Pokemon world’s Alola islands - meant to be like our own Hawaii. Instead of the 8 Gym Leaders, there are “Trials”. These involve some Pokemon battling, but also involve puzzles and mysteries that the player must solve.
The story is a stronger focus in this game, with the player character learning about Alola’s traditions, and then helping defeat the local criminal organization - which is unwittingly helping an evil corporation take over the world.
Of course, there are new Pokemon in this game, bringing the total up to a staggering 802. (When it was just the original 151 Pokemon from the first game, I could list them all off for you. I doubt there are too many people who can do that anymore.) I understand why they add new Pokemon every time, but I think that they might be running out of ideas for new monsters.
I’ve been playing Pokemon Sun and Moon more than any other Pokemon game this decade. It took parts of the original Pokemon formula, and added just enough to make it feel like an all-new experience, rather than another rehash of the same old thing.