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#PokemonSunMoon – Island Trials vs Gyms

One of the major differences between past Pokémon titles and Pokémon Sun and Moon is how you advance the story. In the past, the way you knew you were moving forward with the story was to complete Pokémon gyms. Sure, there was the crap with Team Rocket or whomever, but every ‘area’ of the map – typically a city with surrounding routes – was sectioned off by gyms.


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Often, these gyms would allow you to use specific HM moves you might not otherwise have known, allowing you to access a new area, and therefore advancing the story. Things have changed in Pokémon Sun and Moon, and I think it is for the better.

There was a lot of chatter when it was announced that Game Freak and Nintendo were doing away with Pokémon Gyms in Sun and Moon. The phrase “How can you not have Gyms in a Pokémon Game?” was used so often in the aftermath of that announcement. However, as things unfolded – like not using HMs anymore – the necessity of the Pokémon gym battles seemed greatly muted. Do we really need Gyms to have a Pokémon title?

The Alola region is different than ever before. We have had tropical areas in the past, and even games built around a tropical theme, but not like this. Alola is very disconnected from the other Pokémon regions, and their customs are much different. While all other regions seemed to fall in line with each other in structure – when it comes to being a Pokémon trainer that is – Alola is drastically different.

I’ll be honest: paint me as one of the skeptics. I wasn’t sure how this would work, and still was in denial until actually loading up Pokémon Sun and Moon. I would argue that fans of the franchise won’t get a strong understanding of why Island Trials are so important to the lore of the Alola region without playing through those first few hours. Alola is different, and the Island Trials really highlight that difference.

I’ll be honest again: it works so well. Not only is the idea fresh for the franchise, but it also fits the story Game Freak and Nintendo are trying to create. When the next generation of Pokémon inevitably lands in our hands, I’m not sure they can return to this format without ruining what it is. It’s special to Alola, and it is unique to Sun and Moon. It needs to stay that way.

What about you? Are you OK with them doing away with traditional Gym battles? Let us know below!


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blank Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

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