Your goal is exactly the same as in Pokémon Sun and Moon. As a newly arrived Pokémon trainer in the Alola region, you’ll travel across the various islands of Alola in order to complete the island challenge. Rather than compete at Pokémon gyms like in other regions, you’ll have to prove your worth by passing the numerous island trials and grand trials.
To do so, you’ll need to capture and befriend Pokémon, and make them fight wild Pokémon and Pokémon belonging to trainers like yourself. All the while, you’re encouraged to fill the Pokédex–an electronic encyclopedia containing all information on Pokémon–by capturing all the Pokémon you can find. Plus you’ll inevitably end up having to save the world.
You’re a seemingly average child who’s just become a Pokémon trainer. Despite being new to the Alola region, it’s not long before you’re thrusted on an exciting and Pokémon-filled adventure. Your powers are myriad, including the ability to travel endlessly without need of rest, or food… or sleep. Nevermind your bag that can fit anything and everything inside.
To move your character around, you use the left Circle Pad (located above the D-pad). You can run by holding the B button . If you spot anything or anybody of interest, press the A button to interact. This will enable you to talk to people, read messages, pick up items, or just poke something. Whatever the case, don’t be shy with that A button.
Pokémon are your partners in crime… wait, that sounds wrong. No, they’re your partners in bringing justice to the world. Or something like that. Anyway, Pokémon–those amiable pocket monsters–are extremely important. Without them, you can’t get far in the Pokémon world. Heck, you’d probably struggle to make it beyond the front door.
At the very beginning, you’ll be given one of three starter Pokémon to accompany you. From there, it’s your responsibility to capture new Pokémon and raise your Pokémon party. With Pokémon by your side, you can fight off the aggressive Pokémon found in the wild and battle other Pokémon trainers to earn valuable experience.
Your adventure takes place in the bountiful Alola region, which consists of four natural islands and fifth, artificial island. Alola is a large place, with a wide variety of locations–from populated towns to peaceful pathways or dwelling places for exotic Pokémon. Whilst the places you visit can differ a lot in appearance, they generally fall into two types:
- **Town or city** : A place where people live, sometimes with their Pokémon. Here, Pokémon battles are generally far and few between. Most of the time, there is a Pokémon Center where you can rest your Pokémon.
- **Route or dungeon** : A place of nature, where wild Pokémon roam free. These places attract other Pokémon trainers like bees to honey, so Pokémon battles are aplenty. Usually, they connect different towns and cities.
We have a whole section dedicated to Pokémon battling just ahead, but for now we’ll just briefly discuss the basics of Pokémon battles. There are two types of Pokémon battles:
- **Wild Battles** : Randomly triggered when moving through tall grass or other places where Pokémon may reside. When this occurs, you'll encounter a random wild Pokémon from that habitat.
- **Trainer Battles** : Triggered by speaking to or being spotted by a battle-ready Pokémon trainer.
For the most part, Pokémon battles occur between two Pokémon–yours versus the wild Pokémon or the opposing trainer’s Pokémon. During battles, trainers pick moves for their Pokémon to execute, while wild Pokémon use a random move. The battle is won if you defeat all of the opponent’s Pokémon or if you KO or capture the wild Pokémon.
Winning battles grants Experience Points for your participating Pokémon, which eventually allows them to Level Up and become stronger. If you defeat a trainer, you’ll also earn Poké Dollars (money) **** that you can spend in shops or elsewhere. Capturing Pokémon helps expand your team options and fill up the pages in your Pokédex.
Managing your Pokémon
During each Pokémon battle, your Pokémon’s HP and PP may deplete. HP (Hit Points) are your Pokémon’s health–once their HP drops to 0, your Pokémon will faint and be unable to participate in battle. If all Pokémon are knocked out, you’ll automatically run back to the Pokémon Center you last visited, dropping some of your money in the process.
PP (Power Points) are the number of times a Pokémon can use a particular move. Each move has its own maximum PP value; typically the stronger the move, the less PP it has. Once a move’s PP reaches 0, the Pokémon will be unable to use the move. HP and PP can be restored by visiting a Pokémon Center or by using items such as Potions or Ether.
Saving the Game
Last–but definitely not least–don’t forget to save your game via the X button menu, especially before or after you’ve completed something important or if you need to take a lengthy break from the game. The last thing you want is losing all your hard-earned progress for the day! This is especially important in an age where auto-saving is very common.
Just The One
As with all mainline Pokémon games, you only get one save file. If you want to start over, you can delete your save file by holding Up (on the D-Pad), B and X simultaneously after the Nintendo 3DS logo appears and before the title screen shows up. Keep in mind that erased data can not be recovered!