Two islands down, two to go! For the sake of spoilers (of which there will be none until after I indicate so below), I’ll talk about my journey in a general sense rather than focusing on specifics. This island featured three trials, significantly more than the single trial on Melemele island, so it naturally took much longer to complete. The challenges themselves felt varied enough, even though there is a very distinct formula at play that I’ll touch upon in greater detail later. The Totem Pokémon have proven to be consistently challenging, especially the final one on the island. There was some excellent strategy at play that absolutely pummeled my team. In fact, it almost defeated my team twice in a row, but a tiny little bit of luck at the end landed me a victory. It was a really satisfying experience!
I’ve finally gotten a more in-depth look at the Aether Foundation, which Nintendo mentioned in trailers prior to the game’s release. Their mission statement revolves around the conservation and protection of Pokémon, although there have been some strange instances that indicate some malicious intent (from the first five minutes of the game, so it isn’t much of a spoiler). I’ve encountered many of their members during my travels, and they almost always seem to have some task for me involving registering hard-to-find Pokémon in my Pokédex. They’ve been about as prevalent as Team Skull and help to keep even the less-interesting areas full of things to do in addition to driving the story forward.
Nintendo has talked about Ultra Beasts, creatures that aren’t quite Pokémon that harbor unknown powers, but I hadn’t encountered any until this point in the game. Again, I won’t spoil anything here, but the encounter was brief and left me with many questions. The story is definitely interesting and seems to have several facets: the Island Challenge, The Aether Foundation, Ultra Beasts, and the Island Guardians. An issue I had with Pokémon X and Y was that most of the story was clumped together near the end of the game, but so far the pacing in Pokémon Sun has been pretty even. I’m hoping that will continue throughout the game, rather than giving me everything at once.
Totem Lurantis is the Pokémon that nearly kicked my ass twice in a row. I needed to adapt my team to the Castform that it calls late into the battle, because its Sunny Day allowed Lurantis to use Solar Blade, a physical version of Solar Beam, in one turn. I was happy to have a Toucannon on my team, because it has an attack called Beak Blast that inflicted Lurantis with a burn near the beginning of the battle. That helped to offset some of the HP it was recovering with Synthesis. All in all, it was an excellent fight and definitely the most difficult battle on Akala.
I decided to trade my Ribombee (Cutiefly’s evolution) in for a Salandit because its ability, Corrosion, allows it to poison Steel and Poison-type Pokémon. I also found myself needing a Poison type on my team to deal with some of the more annoying Fairies I was encountering. It’s fast and has great Special Attack, so it feels like a great addition to my relatively slow team.
There isn’t much to talk about in terms of Ultra Beast spoilers at this point, because I’ve just encountered the one and it ran away as soon as I attacked it (a scripted event). It looks eerily like Lillie, as I’ve commented on in previews leading up to the game’s release, but I still don’t know why story-wise.
I’m a bit disappointed by the variety of Pokémon that appear when I surf, especially considering how much water there is in the Alola region. When I fish, I’m usually pulling up Magikarp and Finneon is one of the only Pokémon I’ve come across while swimming with Lapras. There are so many Water Pokémon to choose from but the game limits them to a select few. It’s actually quite shocking since other parts of the game have such a wide variety of ‘mons. Hopefully I’ll be able to upgrade to a better Fishing Rod later on or obtain some different method of finding Water Pokémon.