Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are enhanced versions of Sun and Moon, in a similar vein to Pokémon Yellow, Crystal, Emerald and Platinum. For the most part, the general story is the same, although this time there’s a larger focus on Necrozma. However, there are many new additions that make this pair of games the definitive Alolan experience!
1. New Pokémon and Forms
In recent years, it’s not unusual for new Pokémon forms to be introduced in an enhanced version, sequel or even remakes. Two of the new forms added in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are blatantly obvious from looking at the game boxes etc. These are actually new forms for Necrozma after its absorbed Solgaleo and Lunala’s powers respectively.
The biggest surprise though is that new, numbered Pokémon have been added for the first time in-between generations. Granted, there are only 4 such Pokémon (5 if you count the currently unreleased Mythical), but it’s a game-changer all the same. These 4 Pokémon are all Ultra Beasts and can be encountered towards the very end of the game (or afterwards).
2. Necrozma Takes The Stage
Debuting in Pokémon Sun and Moon, Necrozma is the third pillar of Alola’s Legendary Pokémon trio, much like Giratina, Kyurem and Zygarde in their games. Just like those Pokémon, it was severely underpowered and didn’t really have a proper role in the story. But with Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, it finally has a chance to shine (RIP Zygarde).
While Solgaleo and Lunala still have an important presence, the endgame story now revolves around Necrozma. Certain truths about Necrozma will come to light and Necrozma itself gains a massive power boost thanks to its two new forms: Dusk Mane Necrozma, which looks like Solgaleo, and Dawn Wings Necrozma, which resembles Lunala.
However is that truly the full extent of its power…?
3. Expanded Alola Pokédex
During you travels in Alola, you can encounter over 400 Pokémon, rather than the 300 or so in Pokémon Sun and Moon. With 100 more Pokémon to catch, this greatly increases your team options and makes it exciting to run through the tall grass again. Of course, opposing trainers may also have new Pokémon in their squads, making for a refreshing challenge.
4. Brand New Z-Moves
Z-Moves were an exciting addition in Pokémon Sun and Moon–and now there are even more of them to surprise your foes with! Pokémon with new Z-Moves include Lycanroc (all forms), Mimikyu, Kommo-o, Solgaleo, Lunala and Necrozma. Of course, all the previous Z-Moves are still available and all event-exclusive Z-Crystals can now be obtained in-game.
5. Alola Photo Club
Pokémon isn’t just about battling, it’s about having fun with your Pokémon! Newly added is the Alola Photo Club, which can be found in Hau’oli City and Konikoni City. Here, you can take photos with your Pokémon and decorate your photos with snazzy stickers. Afterwards, your favorite photo can be shared publicly via Festival Plaza for all to see!
6. Mantine Surf
Besides the ferries and Charizard, there’s a new way to travel between the islands of Alola: via Mantine Surf! In this mini-game, you ride the waves atop a Mantine and perform awesome tricks in the air, while avoiding obstacles floating around the sea. It’s a neat way to let off steam between battles and you can even earn BP to spend on new Move Tutors!
7. Battle Agency
Later on, you can access a new battle facility within Festival Plaza known as the Battle Agency. Here, you can team up with players met via communication features, and fight with borrowed Pokémon. Rather than relying on your Pokémon companions, you’ll need to adapt to the tools made available to you. Triumph against the odds and you can earn lots of FC!
8. Ultra Warp Ride
Near the very end of the game, you can borrow the help of Solgaleo or Lunala to enter Ultra Space in search of wormholes leading to other worlds. Cue a mini-game, where you direct your Legendary Pokémon to weave in and out of obstacles in search of new horizons, with the potential to encounter Ultra Beasts and Legendary Pokémon from across the generations!
9. Episode RR
Upon completion of the main story, a new postgame story, titled "Episode RR" will become available. Similar to Episode Delta in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, a new menace has appeared and your help is once again needed to save the day! This time, you opponent is Team Rainbow Rocket, consisting of all the previous evil team leaders!
10. The Little Things
Last, but not least, there have been lots of small quality of life changes, like an easier-to-find Save button and new Rotom powers that function like the old Pass Powers and O-Powers. On top of that, there are lots of new sidequests scattered around that make Alola interesting to explore. Some of these also provide access to previously hard-to-acquire items.