ByLiv Sommerlot, writer at
Liv Sommerlot

The Pokémon Sun and Moon demo has launched, giving us a coveted look at the newest installment of the Pokémon series, and by the looks of it it'll be the freshest, most expansive new take on the traditional Pokémon format to date! In addition to its new Pokémon and new Pokémon forms, the game boasts a plethora of new features—and nearly all of them are welcome!

Whether you're playing the demo already or are waiting for the full release of the game on November 18, you'll want the inside scoop on all the in's and out's of the newest foray into Pokémon paradise.

Every New Feature Introduced in the Pokémon Sun and Moon Demo

1. HMs No Longer Take Up a Space Thanks to New Poké Ride Feature

One of the coolest new features has to be the Poké Ride feature. Remember those days of being forced to use up one of your Pokémon's precious move slots to teach them necessary HMs like Fly, Surf, or Cut? They're no more!

The Poké Ride feature let's you instantly call a necessary Pokémon to your side to get around those frustrating terrain obstacles. Fly on a Charizard, gallop on a Tauros, and glide on a Sharpeedo to get from place to place... and save those move slots (and party slots) for more important things!

2. Snap Pictures of Pokémon a la Pokémon Snap with the New Poké Finder

Nostalgic for those bygone days where you could throw apples at Pokémon's heads and take pictures of their pain? We are, too! Which is why we're ecstatic about the new Poké Finder feature that will allow you to take snapshots of all your favorite Pokemon!

The Poké-Finder comes loaded with your Rotom Dex, allowing you to take pictures of Pokémon at specific locations around the Alolan islands. These pictures are then evaluated and scored. The better your pictures, the more new gadgets you can unlock for your Poké Finder, such as a zoom function and more. There are even trials that will require you to take pictures of specific Pokémon to complete.

3. Check Out Your Stats, Move Details, and Effectiveness/Weakness During Battle

Ever been in the middle of a battle and needed to check out the stats of your Pokémon? We feel ya. Or maybe you forgot what types of moves were effective or weak against another? The senility is real!

In Pokémon Sun and Moon, you'll be able to do all these things right in the middle of battle! Tap on a Pokémon's sprite on the bottom screen and you'll be taken to a new display revealing all that Pokémon's stats, as well as the results of any status effects currently in play. In addition, while checking your Pokémon's list of moves, a new description beneath each one will inform you whether or not it's Effective, Super Effective, or Not Very Effective against your current opponent. Takes out some of the guesswork, huh?

4. Z-Moves Promise an Instant KO... Well, Usually

Mega-Evolutions may be gone, but Z-Moves are taking their place with style! Once you have a Z-Ring, you'll be able to perform Z-Moves with all your Pokémon. Simply inlay a Z-Crystal of the same type being held by your Pokémon and let the elemental vibrations work their magic! Most Z-Moves will be able to polish off an opponent with a single blast... though more difficult enemies down the line may not succumb so easily.

Each Pokémon type has its own Z-Move (Fire, Grass, Water, etc.), but certain Pokémon have their own unique Z-Moves, as well. Here's a list of all the Z-Moves known so far:

Type-Specific Z-Moves

  • Inferno Overdrive (Fire)
  • Hydro Vortex (Water)
  • Bloom Doom (Grass)
  • Gigavolt Havoc (Electric)

Pokémon-Specific Z-Moves

  • Catastropika (Pikachu)
  • Stoked Sparksurfer (Raichu)
  • Extreme Evoboost (Eevee)
  • Pulverizing Pancake (Snorlax)

5. Goodbye, Gym Leaders... Hello, Trial Captains!

Gone are the Pokémon Gyms of old. No longer must we traverse from gym to gym to gym, tackling Gym Leaders and their themed teams of Pokémon. In Pokémon Sun and Moon, we'll instead take on Trial Captains! Trial Captains may seem similar to Gym Leaders on the outside—after all, they're each experts on a certain type of Pokémon—but there are key differences as to how the whole system works.

Each Alolan island hosts its own Trial Captain who will test the player's skill in a unique manner. Note that this "unique manner" is not usually a Pokémon battle! For instance, in Kiawe's trial, you have to identify the differences between two traditional Alolan dances. Upon completing the trial, you'll then have to face the island's "Totem Pokémon," which is usually an especially strong native Pokémon with the ability to call on allies during the battle. Besting this beast will finally allow you to challenge the island's Kahuna, or chief, to earn you your right to travel to the next island.

Trial Captains Known So Far

  • Lana (Water)
  • Mallow (Grass)
  • Sophocles (Electric)
  • Kiawe (Fire)
  • Ilima (Normal)

Kahunas Known So Far

  • Hala (Melemele Island)
  • Olivia (Akala Island)

6. Take on Three Trainers at Once in a Crazy Battle Royale

One of the most epic new features is definitely the Battle Royale, a crazy free-for-all battle between four trainers at once! Each trainer brings three Pokémon with them into the battle and releases them one at a time like normal, but with three different opponents staring you in the eye, you have no idea who will attack whom, what attacks will be used, or if one of your opponents will decide to change their Pokémon!

The battle continues until one of the trainers runs out of Pokémon, whereupon all four trainers are ranked based on the number of Pokémon they defeated as well as how many Pokémon they have left. This new game mode will force you to come up with new strategies (and perhaps make good use of luck!) to come out on top.

7. The QR Bazaar

That old Game Boy link cable we used to trade Pokémon with in the past may be gone, but that doesn't mean we can't still get digital with our Pokémon! The newest form of Pokémon trading and discovery comes in the form of QR codes! Use the QR Scanner on your 3DS to discover information about new types of Pokémon... as well as where to find them!

Scanning a Pokémon's QR code will register them in your Pokédex. This will give you key information regarding its habitat—which is exactly what you need to find it. You can even trade QR codes of Pokémon you've caught with your friends, allowing them to register them Pokémon in their Pokédexes and seek them out themselves.

How to Download the Pokémon Sun and Moon Demo

If, after all this, you're still just wondering how to go about downloading this new demo, never fear! There are two ways to download all the Pokemon goodness NOW:

  • Download from Nintendo's Website:

Login to the Nintendo website using your Nintendo account, which is linked to Nintendo 3DS system's Nintendo Network ID, and download using this ID.

  • Download from the Nintendo eShop:

On your Nintendo 3DS system (with the linked Nintendo Network ID), open the Nintendo eShop and download the demo version.

When Will the Full Version of Pokémon Sun and Moon be Released?

The full official version of Pokémon Sun and Moon hits the shelves on November 18, 2016! Prepare yourself now!


What's your favorite new feature in 'Pokémon Sun and Moon?'


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