The game introduces a number of new gameplay systems and mechanics, most notably the championship criteria, which differs to other Pokemon entries on the 3DS.
Pokemon Gyms are no more, so rather than challenging Gym Leaders to earn badges, the many islands of the Alola region rely on Regional Trials, a significant change in the quest to be the very best.
Trials play an incredibly important role in Pokemon Sun and Moon, incorporating the new Z-Ring and Z-Move gameplay mechanics. Once you beat a Trial leader, you’ll be rewarded these moves, which can be used only once per battle and are devastating on an opponent. Each island has a final Grand Trial, which is every Poke-hunters primary test for superiority and to, *sigh*, be the very best (okay I won’t use it again: promise).
These new Trials also break up the ways in which you encounter and move through areas. Unlike Pokemon Gyms, Trials are typically broken up into three-to-four battles, while the puzzle-trainer hybrid modes from the original Pokemon classics have been replaced by what is best described as mini-games.
Each Trial introduces a new Trial Captain, and you’ll battle it out against a Totem Pokemon, which is essentially a mutated, huge version of regular Pokemon found scattered throughout Alola. These little critters are tough hombres, with better overall stats and plenty of sidekicks to help them out in battle. Take out these guys and you’ll move to the aforementioned Grand Trial, where you’ll battle the leader of the Captains.
Stay tuned for more Pokemon Sun and Moon coverage in the coming days.