Pokémon Sun and Moon tips and tricks
It’s been a long time coming, but we finally have a brand new Pokémon game to explore and rinse for battling monsters. And while Pokémon Go reminded us just how much we love throwing Poké Balls and trundling through long grass for mini beasts, Pokémon Sun and Moon represents one of the biggest upheavals the series has ever seen.
So to make sure you’re ready to fill your Pokédex with a brand new slew of Japanese creatures, we’ve gathered together some of our most useful tips, tricks and discoveries from the world of Pokémon Sun and Moon.
1. Use effective indicators (especially against familiar Pokémon)
If you’ve spent any amount of time playing previous Pokémon games, you’ll know there’s nothing more soul destroying than battling the same wild Pokémon over and over again. However, in Sun and Moon such a tactic can actually benefit your party in the long run thanks to a new mid-battle set of indicators.
The idea is pretty simple: once you’ve fought a particular Pokémon, the game logs that data and shows you certain stats on-screen when you encounter said creature again. You’ll now know how well a certain type fared against another, enabling you to swap out less effective party members. This will be particularly helpful when encountering evolved versions of these Pokémon later in the game.
2. Collect Cells to build your own Zygarde
The unique modular Pokémon that is Zygarde returns from X and Y, although now you can customise your very own version by collecting certain items around the the Alola region. Zygarde Cells are the main means of building one, and these can be found all across the game world during both day and night sessions.
Keep your eyes peeled for Zygarde Cores as well, as these handy little gizmos can be used to teach your modular Pokémon to perform powerful special moves such as Thousand Arrows, Core Enforcer and Dragon Dance.
3. Use Oricorio’s four forms to dominate battles
One of the newest members of the Pokémon roster, Oricorio is one of the most versatile beasts you’ll encounter while roaming the Alola region. It actually has four different forms, and you can induce each one by feeding it nectar from each of the islands in the game.
These nectar variants actively transform both its behaviour and its type - you can choose from Baile Style, Pa’u Style, Pom-Pom Style and Sensu Style - and offer a rewarding experimental dynamic as you test which version works best in certain scenarios. Since its type changes with each transformation, certain versions will work better and worse against particular Pokémon.
4. Change the time of day
Much like previous entries in the series, Pokémon Sun and Moon have a day/night system that affects the game world and the monsters that roam it. However, while it might be tempting to go and change the actual clock setting on your 3DS, there’s a far easier and more organic solution inside the game itself.
In order to shift the game from day to night, simply head to the portal in the Alter of the Sunne/Moone with Solgaleo/Lunala in your party. You’ll now be able to finish off any pending evolutions and search for some of those elusive Zygarde Cells.
5. Use QR codes to unlock elusive Pokémon
Did you know that almost every Pokémon listed in the Pokédex has a unique QR code that can be used to share them with other players? Okay, it’s not quite that simple, but the idea is that scanning a QR code will register the creature as seen on your friend’s Pokédex and potentially increases the chances of them capturing said Pokémon as well.
This is a great way to help build a much more comprehensive Pokédex (especially if you’re a newcomer to the series and you’re struggling to make up those missing entries). Plus, for every 10 QR codes you scan you’ll get an ‘Island Scan’ that will release a new Pokémon nearby.
6. Check EVs and train your Pokémon
Just sending your chosen Pokémon into battle isn’t enough to train them up, and neither is simply relying on good type matchups. You need to train your Pokémon before you head into battles, especially the bigger ones where every stat counts. To do this, check the status screen for each Pokémon and you’ll see graphs representing the stamina, strength, etc of each character.
Press Y and the graph will now show the basic stats for each Pokémon, and another one showing how high the EVs (Effort Values) are for each of those stats. Those coloured blue are good to go, but those in orange need some extra training.
7. Try Wonder Trade… at your peril
One of Pokémon Sun/Moon’s special features is the Wonder Trade - a randomised process where you put in a Pokémon of your own and get one from another player, complete with unique stats, from another player somewhere else in the world.
First introduced in Pokémon X/Y, Wonder Trade can be a bit of a risk, so we’d use Wonder Trade to offload some of the Pokémon you used for a while but have permanently swapped out of your party due to a far stronger acquisition. Wonder Trading can also trigger evolutions, but it’s a bit of a rarity.
8. Prepare to farm for a Shiny Pokémon
Shiny Pokémon aren’t quite as rare as Legendary Pokémon, but they’re certainly some of the most elusive creatures in the whole game. The process of finding one in Sun/Moon is pretty long winded, but it’s worth it. Firstly, you need to beat a Totem Pokémon - these are found in the wild, but there's one you'll see a couple of times as part of the story so don’t hunt too hard early on.
Next, equip a False Swipe skill and some Adrenaline Orbs. Now start hunting in long grasses, and once a Pokémon attacks use an Orb on your Pokémon to make it appear more fearsome, while using a False Swipe to scare them into calling for backup from another Pokémon. Don’t knock out the original Pokémon, but keep KOing the backup. The more partners you knock out, the greater chance a Shiny will appear.
9. Don’t waste money on Paralysis Heals and Antidotes
For years now, Pokémon struck by a poisonous attack or bout of paralysis would carry those effects beyond the initial battle, with only consumable items and visits to a Pokémon Centre being enough to return them to full health.
Thankfully, Pokemon Sun/Moon does away with this laborious issue and instead automatically heals your Pokemon party with the Pokemon Refresh option. It’s a great new addition and one you’ll end up using after every encounter. You can even give cuddle your Pokemon to help cheer them up and potentially buff their performance in battle. D’aww.
10. Use Poké Beans to upgrade your islands
Rather than having all your Pokémon coupled up in their PC boxes, Sun/Moon creates a brand new location called Poké Pelago where your unused Poké pals can roam free out on the range. Poké Pelago unlocks once you’ve completed all the trials on the second island, and while you’re there you’ll find a handy Poké Bean tree.
These Beans are really useful tokens that can be used to buy more islands in the Pelago, upgrade said islands and even improve the bond with your Pokémon. Pokémon Sun/Moon is definitely trying to up the cute factor.