pokemon-sunRelease Date: 18/11/16

Platform: 3DS

It’s borderline ridiculous that we end up subjecting ourselves to the same torture induced by the Pokemon games every time a new one gets released.

When you really think about it, they’re just repackaging the one before with a couple of hastily-designed new pocket monsters, and a new place to explore with different-but-the-same bad guys, and another mum that’s forced into moving into a new place without the aid of her husband or son, right?

Pokemon Sun and Moon introduce the seventh – that’s right, seventh – generation of Pokemon to the games. It’s been a long time since we were first introduced to the phenomenon – 20 years, actually – and the new games reflect just how far the franchise has come.

Sun and Moon plonk you in the middle of the sunny Alola region, comprised of four unique islands. This generation, the gym battles are replaced by Island Trials – to reflect the tribal feel? – and it’s a refreshing take on a series that may perhaps have bored some by now.

Each of the four islands has smaller challenges and eventually a Kahuna that you’ll need to defeat to continue in the story, which is actually quite compelling – for a Pokemon game. You finally find yourself caring about the NPCs around you, instead of just getting annoyed at Oak for yelling at you for riding your bike indoors. Let me live my life, gramps.

Pokemon Sun revamps the franchise in more ways than one. Gone are the HMs of old – you can finally live your wildest fantasies and actually ride your Pokemon – just like they did in the movies! They can also be used to get rid of obstacles and that kind of thing.

For those looking to battle, it hasn’t really changed – enemy Pokemon now have the ability to call for help, starting a group battle and making you annoyed that you have to kill the other guy before you throw a pokeball, and the new games also introduce Z-Moves; super-powerful attacks that can only be used once a battle and require Pokemon-specific Z-Crystals – think mega-evolution.

As well as a bunch of new Pokemon being added to the mix – there are more than 800 now, so catching ‘em all is harder than ever, but that’s what it takes to be the very best – a few old favourites have gotten a makeover. Creatures like Vulpix, Ninetales, Sandshrew, and Sandslash have all become ice types, Exeggutor has a much longer neck, and Dugtrio even has a nice mop of surfer hair.

All up, the latest games are like looking at the old Pokemon games with a fresh coat of paint, reminding everyone why we fell in love with the franchise in the first place. To another wonderful 20 years.