All I wanted was a goddamn holiday.
“Come to sunny Alola,” the brochures said. “Let all your cares wash away,” they said. “Relax on the beach and enjoy the sunset with a glass of cool Pinap juice,” they said. “Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture,” they said.
The brochures did not mention roads blocked by irritable Tauros, strange waifish girls with dangerous and suicidal cosmic Pokémon, “quests” handed out by mysterious and fickle gods, ritualised duels to please the aforementioned fickle gods, or anything that might be described as a series of “trials.”
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 1: In Which I Am Rescued From Certain Death By An Island Deity”
After getting my Pokédex sufficiently haunted, the next stop is apparently the Hau’oli Outskirts Pokémon Centre. Alolan Pokémon Centres have incorporated Pokémarts, in the style of their Unovan and Kalosian counterparts, but also have cafés for the region’s countless tourists to sit and relax. The café serves some items we recognise from older games, including Lemonade and Moomoo Milk, but these aren’t healing items for your Pokémon anymore; they’re purely for the enjoyment of the trainer. The café’s real gameplay purpose seems to be to provide treats for your Pokémon that come free with your drinks – Pokébeans to feed them in the Refresh screen, Sweet Hearts and imported Lumiose Galettes to heal injuries or status ailments, and even the occasional Rare Candy. The barista is also a fount of gossip and dubiously useful life advice. It’s an atmospheric addition more than anything else, and not particularly significant, but it’s also the first damn moment I’ve been allowed to feel like I’m actually on holiday, so I linger in the café for a while longer, trying to ask the barista in increasingly overt and desperate terms for “something a little stronger,” before Lillie shows up and drags me to our next destination…
…the Hau’oli trainers’ school.
Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 2: In Which I Am Seduced By The Opulence Of Metropolitan Life”
Captain Ilima’s invitation takes me north from Hau’oli City towards Verdant Cavern, the great fern- and moss-covered grotto where I am to complete the first step of the “mission” supposedly given to me by Tapu Koko. There are some minor delays in leaving the city, owing to that damn Tauros blocking the road again, but Kahuna Hala was on the scene to sort it out. Apparently the Tauros is something of a local celebrity, and I’m starting to think that the primary responsibility associated with the position of Melemele Kahuna is to keep it from obstructing traffic. Not that it matters all that much – I’m not exactly in a hurry to get to Verdant Cavern. I still kinda resent Tapu Koko (and I suppose by extension Hala, but he’s a difficult fellow to dislike) for unilaterally deciding to put me on the path of the Island Challenge, so I’m happy to keep it waiting for as long as possible.
Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 3: In Which A Magic Rock Promises Me Incredible Power”
Once he and Captain Ilima have finished explaining Z-moves to me, Professor Kukui suddenly remembers that he has an urgent task that cannot possibly wait: he’s lost Lillie. Somehow. I’m still not 100% certain that Lillie isn’t a terrorist, so in the interests of making sure someone is watching her, I agree to help look for her in the northern part of Melemele Island. This area, route 3, is cordoned off by barricades. Not for any particular reason, mind you. Someone appears to have decided that the Pokémon beyond are too strong for civilians to tangle with unless they have an escort – a certified trainer who has completed the island’s trials. Which… sort of raises the question of how Lillie got through, since she not only hasn’t completed any trials but insists that she’s not actually a trainer at all (which I’m pretty sure is not true; I’m not sure of the legal status of their relationship but for all practical purposes she certainly seems to be Nebby’s trainer). Evidence that she has secret and subversive abilities continues to mount. In any case, at Ilima’s command, the barricades open for me, and I am given access to the northern coastal road.
Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 4: In Which I Learn, Rapidly And Under Duress, To Ride A Bull”
There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot to see in Heahea City. Part of the town is blocked off by some douchebag with a perfectionist Stoutland that won’t move until it’s sniffed literally every square centimetre of the main road, and most of the buildings I can access are standard services: there’s a Pokémon Centre, and a clothing shop, and a tourist bureau like the one in Hau’oli City. Hau just wants to find somewhere that sells malasadas, but Lillie, for her part, has more interesting ambitions: she wants to take Nebby to Akala Island’s guardian ruins, the home of the island’s patron god-Pokémon, Tapu Lele, and she’s hoping that I’ll accompany them when the time comes. For Nebby’s sake, I make a noncommittal “mrrmmhmm” noise and wiggle my head in a way that could plausibly be interpreted as either a nod “yes” or a shake “no.”
Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 5: In Which I Agree To Help Resurrect An Ancient God”
When I reach the entrance to the quiet valley of Brooklet Hill, a Water Pokémon paradise, I am greeted by none other than the local Captain herself: Lana, a dreamy young woman with blue hair. Lana needs help with something, and apparently won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Well, the sooner I make her happy, the sooner I can attempt her trial, and the sooner I can get out of here… I follow Lana down into the valley, past tranquil pools and rumbling waterfalls, until we reach a large pool being disturbed by a strange thrashing out in the deepest part.
Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 6: In Which I Offer Charity To A Character of Dubious Virtue”
Since the next Captain, Kiawe, is a Fire
Pokémon specialist, he lives on a volcano.
Because of course he does. Fire
trainers don’t really ‘do’ subtlety. Wela
Volcano, which is named for the Hawaiian word for heat or burning, and
corresponds to Haleakala in the real world, looms over the northeast corner of
Akala Island. Although many of its
basalt flows are still glowing red from the last eruption, the volcano is
perfectly safe – or at least, this is the claim made by the Seismic Sisters, a
set of Alolan triplets who maintain tunnels that provide surprisingly easy
access up and down its slopes. Among the
hardy, fire-tolerant Pokémon that live there is a wily black lizard Pokémon
called Salandit, a Fire/Poison-type, which nearly blows my Trumbeak out of the
sky with Dragon Rage. I decide to retire
my Butterfree and recruit one in her place (a female, which I’m told is
important); that Dragon Rage is sure to come in handy as long as we’re still
Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 7: In Which My Culinary Skills Are Pushed To Their Limit”
I’ve been excitedly reading your Sun and Moon playthrough and enjoying it immensely. However, you passed through route 8 and didn’t even mention Colress’s appearance! I’m disappointed, I wanted to see you thoughts and your character’s reaction!
Good heavens, you’re right! I completely forgot about that while I was writing! We must remedy this situation at once!
“You there!” I stop walking and turn around, ready to fire off a snarky quip at whoever just called me “you there,” until I see… oh. Ohhhh good. This guy.
“Oh, excuse me! I am a scientist. My name is Colress,” he introduces himself. Colress still has his trademark lab coat and sweeping plume of blue hair, but has added a pair of robotic gauntlets with touchscreen displays on the wrists, so he can look like his every gesture is something important and sciency.
“Yeah, I’ve… I’ve heard of you,” I tell him haltingly. He looks surprised, then worried.
“Really? A young trainer like you has heard of my work? Or- oh. You don’t know about-?”
“The whole war crimes thing, with Team Plasma back in Unova? How you were complicit in a plot to plunge a continent into a new ice age and bring about the end of modern civilisation?” Now he looks very worried. “No, look, it’s fine, I don’t care, just… look, we’ve sort of met before; it’s kind of a long story… I was a few years older, I might have been a chick at the time…” I shake my head. “I was literally a different person, is the point, and so were you, as far as I’m concerned. And I’m on holiday. So unless whatever you’re doing in Alola is somehow a threat to the entire planet, it is officially not my problem.” Colress just stares at me blankly. “Seriously. We. Are. Fine. What’re you up to, anyway?”
“Well…” Colress begins cautiously, “That is… the theme of my research is… ‘bringing out the potential of Pokémon.’ What brings out the power of Pokémon is… I believe that is – the bond they share with their trainers!” Okay, so he’s still working in the same research area, but the events of Black and White 2 have proven to him that supercharging Pokémon with evil machines to create powerful weapons is not the best method. “And thus my attention is drawn to trainers like yourself… trainers bound to their Pokémon through the power of the Z-ring! Z-power… is it the true potential I seek? Does it surpass the Mega Ring?”
“Nope.” He blinks at me.
“Surpass the Digivice. Pretty sure it doesn’t.” He stares at me in confusion.
“Digivi- oh, um. Mega Ring. Whatever. Look, the Mega Ring unlocks a whole new level of evolution, changing a Pokémon’s form and powers, bringing it one step closer to spiritual completion… The Z-Crystals blow stuff up.” He raises a finger like he’s about to say something. “I mean, I guess if you only have a Charmander then a Firium-Z is gonna get you further than a Charizardite-X… seriously though, try ‘em both out. They give Z-Rings away practically for free here in Alola; you just have to, like… risk your life to help out a terrorist, or something.” Colress shakes his head in amazement.
“Alola is fascinating! I believe I will stay here for some time! Well then, I hope to see you again some time.” He turns and walks away.
“But don’t get any ideas!” I call out after him. “You better not try to destroy the world with this stuff! I live here!”
“So what you’re saying is, you almost killed my Totem Lurantis because your crazy great-grandmother would have wanted it that way?” Mallow folds her arms as she waits for an answer.
Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 8: In Which I Am Given A Stern Talking-To By A Colourful Sisterly Figure”
“…she had a drinking problem. And a gambling problem. And… several legal problems. But she was pretty spry for 94.”
“When did she…?”
“Um… well, about eight years back, the law caught up with her, and she grabbed a shotgun, stole a motorbike, kidnapped the neighbours’ Heracross, and skipped town, laughing all the way. Honestly she’s, uh… probably still kicking. Somewhere out there.” I idly dunk a spoon in the half-finished pot of stew from Mallow’s trial and taste it. “Mmmmmmmm, that’s so f%&£ing good. Good call on the Revival Herb, by the way.” Mallow shudders.
“Okay, well… I’m pretty sure you did technically pass my trial… somehow… so… take these, I guess.” She thrusts a sack of Nest Balls at me, then hands me her Z-Crystal, the Grassium-Z, and leaves me to explore the jungle on my own. Now that I can encounter and catch wild Pokémon there, I am rewarded with three new ones: Bounsweet, Comfey, and Oranguru. I’m not exactly inspired by these so far. Bounsweet is a round, pinkish-red fruit Pokémon that brings to mind the phrase “oh, look, it’s Cherubi,” but it does evolve into something that might not be Cherrim, so we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. Comfey is a Hawaiian lei Pokémon, one of those Flabébé-like Fairy-types that really looks as though it should be a Grass-type and has a bunch of stuff that supports Grass-types; it’s nice and thematically appropriate to the setting but doesn’t seem to evolve, and so far doesn’t really look like it’ll measure up to a fully-evolved Florges. The third Pokémon, Oranguru, is so far the most interesting-looking – a purple and white apelike Normal/Psychic Pokémon that fights from a cross-legged sitting position. It too shares a Pokédex page with something else, so there’s a good chance it will evolve.
I should really just get out while I’m
I got this sparkly bracelet thing, I got a
bunch of weird voodoo crystals with a variety of dubiously magic powers, I got
a bunch of… arguably cool Pokémon that I’d never seen before. Some of those things’d have to fetch a decent
price if I just left Alola and never looked back, right?
And if you’re with the police, no, obviously I’m not talking about the
Pokémon; they would stay with me back in Kanto and I would do my best to give
them all a good life.
(If you’re not with the police, look, I
know a guy who knows a guy, okay? Just
Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 9: In Which I Do Battle With A Demon Jellyfish From The Endless Void”