A whole load of new things have been announced for Pokémon Sun and Moon, including new Pokémon, new forms of older Pokémon, and a new “Z-Move” system.

You know how Pokémon X and Y introduced Mega-evolutions, which took well-known and loved Pokémon and made them look kinda scary? Well say hello to Alola forms.

Alola forms are re-worked classic Pokémon, giving them not only new appearances, but also new types and abilities. Exeggutor turns into a Grass/Dragon type that looks like a leafy rubber chicken more than a palm tree, Vulpix and Ninetails turn into Ice types (Ninetails also picks up Fairy along the way), and Sandshrew and Sandslash become Ice/Steel type. It’s currently not known whether these forms will be in addition to or outright replacing their standard designs.

Six new Pokemon have also been announced too:

  • Flying type Oricorio, whose second type depends on which island of Alola it is caught on.
  • Minior, a Rock/Flying type that reminds me a lot of Lunatone and Solrock.
  • Gumshoos, the Normal type evolution of previously announced Yungoos.
  • Grass types Fomantis and its evolution Lurantis.
  • Mudbray, the Ground type pre-evolution of my dear horse-friend Mudsdale.

Sun and Moon will also see the introduction of Ride Pokemon. It’s in the name really, they’re certain Pokemon that you’ll be able to ride around Alola, like an expanded version of the Rhyhorn riding from X and Y.

The trailer gives some hints as to the events of the game, too. The Island Challenge will see players head off to the four islands of Alola and fight the four Trial Captains (and four “Totem Pokemon” who you take on as if they were trainers, which is amazing). This feels like a revival of the Battle Frontier from Pokémon Emerald, with a hint of the Orange Island arc from the anime oh so many years ago.

Z-Moves are strong attacks that can only be used once per battle, with every type having their own unique Z-Move. These attacks won’t take up one of the normal four slots either, so now every Pokémon has five moves to choose from.

I’m still really impressed by how fresh this new generation feels. The new Pokémon designs are great, and it looks like there’s an emphasis on having more stuff to do besides the standard eight gym leaders. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire were at their best when they broke away from the formula, so hopefully Sun and Moon can nail it too.

Pokémon Sun and Moon will be released for 3DS on November 18 in North America and November 23 in Europe.

Joe is LPVG’s resident hardware nerd. If it’s overpriced and has gaudy RGB lighting, he’s probably drooling over it. He loves platformers, MMOs, RPGs, hack ‘n slashers and FPS, with his favourite games being Mirror’s Edge, Left 4 Dead, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Oblivion and Dead Space. Don’t ask him about his unhealthily large Monsters Inc memorabilia collection. Seriously, just don’t ask…