The game begins proper with your trainer sound asleep in their bed. To get up and begin moving, press any direction on the Circle Pad. Unlike earlier Pokémon games (prior to Sun and Moon), you control your character exclusively with the Circle Pad; the D-pad can still be used to navigate menus though.
Once you’re on your feet, feel free to nosy around the room–it’s your room after all! If it’s your first time playing a Pokémon game, you can press the A button to inspect points of interest, such as the open book on the desk. Pressing the X button will open the menu, although there are only two options available: "Save" and "Options".
Since you’re here, you may as well take a look at "Options"; within, you can alter a variety of game settings. Use the Circle Pad or D-Pad to navigate and toggle the settings if you desire, then press the A button to confirm your choices and exit.
- **Text Speed** : Determines the speed at which in-game messages and dialogue are shown. If you're a decently fast reader, we recommend choosing "Fast".
- **Battle Effects** : This refers to the fancy animations that play when each Pokémon uses a move. If you ever start to get bored of watching them or you need to speed through battles, choose "Off".
- **Battle Style:** If "Switch" is selected, you will have the option to change your Pokémon before your opponent sends out their next Pokémon. This gives you a huge advantage, but it can slightly slow down battles.
- **Button Mode:** By default, the L button does nothing when pressed, but if "L=A" is chosen, the L button will have the same function as the A button.
- **Party/Box** : If "Manual" is selected, each time you catch a Pokémon when your party is full, you will be asked if you want to add it to your party or send it to a Box. "Automatic" always sends the new Pokémon to a Box.
Finally, just to be safe, you should select "Save" to save your progress. Conveniently, the save command is mapped to the Y button, so you can press X, Y and A while on the field to quickly save your game.
As soon as you’re ready, leave your room via the south exit, just near the humongous Snorlax doll in the corner. Your Mom will say "hi" and tell you to retrieve your hat and bag before you can leave on your new adventure. Open the door behind you and go back inside your room.
Make your way to the bottom-left corner, then inspect the coat rack below your bed to grab your belongings. Once you’re kitted up like a proper Pokémon trainer, Mom will advise you to start off by visiting the nearby Iki Town. Without further ado, exit your house via the south.
Route 1: Hauoli Outskirts
Outside, it’ll be daytime if you’re playing Ultra Sun or nighttime if you’re playing Ultra Moon. Normally, the time of day is reflected by your 2DS/3DS’s clock (although Ultra Moon is 12 hours ahead/behind), but not during this very early segment of the game. Anyway, go down the steps, then follow the dirt path west and north up the hill.
This is the main section of Route 1. If you’d like, chat to the people by the side of the path. Despite playing as a 11 year old Pokémon trainer, "don’t talk to strangers" is the exact opposite advice to give in the Alola region. Sometimes you may get tips for your adventure, while other times you may even get free items.
Run Like the Wind!
To get to places faster, hold down the B button while moving to run. Unlike some earlier Pokémon games, you don’t need running shoes or the like to be able to run.
Before long, you’ll come to a bend at the top of the hill; past here is a small strip of tall grass. Try to enter the tall grass and a wild Pokémon will burst out to ambush you. Normally, at this point, you’d have a Pokémon yourself to fend it off, but you literally just arrived in Alola! Uh oh…
Thankfully, a trio of cuties comes along to save your bacon, followed by their owner–Professor Kukui in the flesh. Better late than never, you’ll now be given the option to choose your starter Pokémon–the very first Pokémon for your journey! Like Sun and Moon, you can pick from…
- **Rowlet** : The Grass and Flying-type Pokémon. Its final evolved form loses Flying and gains the Ghost type.
- **Litten** : The Fire-type Pokémon. Its final evolved form gains the Dark type.
- **Popplio** : The Water-type Pokémon. Its final evolved form gains the Fairy type.
All three Pokémon are excellent choices in their own right, so you really can’t go wrong. That said, keep in mind that (as always) this is your only chance to obtain a starter Pokémon. If you want one of the others, you’ll need to start a new save file or trade with someone else (or maybe even yourself).
I Name You!
Each time you catch a Pokémon–or receive one as an gift in the game (not including all instances of Mystery Gift)–you will be able to nickname your Pokémon. This is obviously just for fun. Later, you can rename any Pokémon you own by visiting the Name Rater; Pokémon you receive from other trainers cannot be renamed.
Having chosen your first Pokémon, you’re free to continue on your way to Iki Town. Cautiously tread through the tall grass ahead of you. Before you reach the other side, another wild Pokémon will beset you! If playing Ultra Sun, your attacker is a Yungoos, while Ultra Moon players will be greeted by Alolan Rattata.
For those of you who are new to Alola, but not Pokémon in general, this Rattata may spook you slightly. You see, Alola is a rather unique region where some Pokémon found native in other regions have adapted and changed their appearance. These so-called Alola Form Pokémon may even have a different Type and stats.
Regardless, there’s no need to fret because this time you’ve got company! If it’s your first time playing Pokémon, you must choose "Fight" along the right side of the bottom screen, either by physically tapping the button or navigating with the Circle Pad or D-Pad. Next, select one of your Pokémon’s moves.
No matter your choice of Pokémon, you’ll have three moves available. The first is a Normal-type attack move (Tackle, Scratch or Pound), the second is an attack move of your Pokémon’s Type (Leafage, Ember or Water Gun), while the third is a Normal-type status move (Growl). For now, simply choose an attack move, ideally one that matches your Type.
Pokémon and Move Types
Like Pokémon, moves have Types as well–and it’s the combination of these Types that determine if the move is effective or not against the opposing Pokémon. For instance, a Grass-type move is super-effective against Water-type Pokémon, but not very effective against Fire-type Pokémon.
There’s more to it than that. If a Pokémon uses a move that matches one of its Types, that move will deal 50% more damage than normal. For example a Grass-type Pokémon using a Grass-type move. This is referred to as "Same Type Attack Bonus" or "STAB" for short.
After scaring away the Rattata, keep climbing up the hill further west. At the top, you’ll reach a point where three paths intersect, with some conspicuous boulders below. Up ahead is a large signpost–these are Trainer Tips , offering gameplay advice for new and intermediate Pokémon trainers.
North-west from the trainer tips sign, on the other side of some tall grass, is a Poké Ball shaped item on the floor. Head over to it and pick it up with the A Button to discover it’s a Potion . You’ll find a lot of items like this, just lying around to be picked up. Well, as they say, finder’s keepers!
Moving on, head west through the tall grass or along the dirt path. Just before you reach the entrance to Iki Town, a young man by the name of Hau will rush out and challenge you to a Pokémon battle. It would be rude to say "no", so let’s do this!
Pokémon Trainer Hau
|Popplio (if you picked Rowlet)||5||Water|
|Rowlet (if you picked Litten)||5||Grass/Flying|
|Litten (if you picked Popplio)||5||Fire|
Hau is your rival in this game and, rather conveniently, he uses the starter Pokémon that’s weak to yours. This battle is basically a tutorial teaching you about Type match ups. All you need to do to win is to keep selecting the move that matches your Pokémon’s Type.
Triumph and the journey continues. Once you’re back in control, cut through the tall grass further ahead to the north-west. At the end of this grassy path is a Paralyze Heal for the taking. After putting it safely in your bag, return to where you came from and make your way up the staircase at the end.