Pokémon Sun and Moon keep bringing the surprises with new and updated 1st-gen Pokémon, the “Ride” system, and the intriguing “Z-Moves”.
The first part of the announcement includes 5 updated 1st-gen Pokémon that have different forms on Alola island. Exeggutor is apparently “thriving”– it’s now as tall as a palm tree and has a giraffe-like tail. It also drops its Psychic type for Dragon, which is an interesting combination only seen in Mega Sceptile thus far (and slightly confusing, given Exeggutor was already the palm tree evolution of eggs that were somehow psychic). We also see the billowing, snowy updates of Vulpix and Ninetails, who are now Ice and Ice/Fairy, respectively. Lastly, we see the cold, hard Sandshrew and Sandslash, who have dropped the sand for snow: They’re both now Ice/Steel.
6 completely new Pokémon were also revealed. Oricorio is a dancing bird ‘mon who has a different primary type on each island (its secondary is always Flying): Baile form is Fire, Pom Pom is Electric, Pa’u is Psychic, and Sensu is Ghost. Its ability copies other Pokémon’s dances. Minior is a Rock/Flying mound who’s ability “Shields Down” transforms it into its core; four core colors are shown, and presumably they, too, are island specific.
Gumshoos is the Normal-type evolution of Yungoos and looks like a mob boss. Fomantis evolves into Lurantis, two new Grass-types. Lastly, Mudsdale has a pre-evolution, Mudbray, a pure Ground-type.
The “Ride” system is introduced, wherein otherwise impassible terrain is crossed; we see a Mudsdale sprinting up an incline, a Mega Sharpedo taking hard turns in the water, and a Charizard with a saddle, all being ridden. They’re apparently context-specific, and cannot be caught.
The “Island Challenge” is introduced; there will be four child Trial Captains with type specialties, Mallow (Grass), Lana (Water), Sophocles (Electric), and Kiawe (Fire). Their trials are described as finding ingredients for Mallow, finding a fierce Pokémon in the water for Lana, some kind of confrontation with Sophocles, and …watching Kiawe dance multiple times. There will also be “powerful Totem Pokémon” ending these trials; we see “Totem Gumshoos” who gains a defensive aura and summons a Yungoos from the sky. Each island will also have a Kahuna to fight– Melemele island has Hala, a portly old man.
Lastly, we see trainers doing some sort of (doofy) dance to trigger a “Z-Attack” from their Pokémon. Electric has Gigavolt Havoc, Grass has Bloom Doom, Fire has Inferno Overdrive, and Water has Hydro Vortex. Each type will have a move, a Pokémon must be holding an item matching their trainer’s Z-Ring Crystal to use it, and you can only use it once per battle.
Z-Moves are the most intriguing, because many took issue with the “Mega Evolution” system, as it essentially forced you to have one of a relatively small amount of mega-evolvable Pokémon on your team to compete, because they were so powerful. This could eliminate that problem, and hints at the possibility of closer Pokémon-human interactions– something used by the anime’s Ash Greninja hybrid.
Pokémon Sun and Moon release November 18th, 2016.