Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon may not offer much in the way of new content for players of Sun/Moon, but there is still quite a bit here for long-time fans of the series.

The first 2+ hours of my time with Ultra Moon felt very similar to my time with Pokemon Sun last year–a little too similar in fact. It almost felt like the game’s long intro/tutorial sequence had been lengthened further in Ultra Moon. While previous games in the series all have similar opening tutorials, it never bothered me as much as this intro. I wish The Pokemon Company had added a feature that would simply check my 3DS for a save game file for Pokemon Sun or Moon and then ask me at the beginning of the game, ‘Would you like to go through the Story intro again or get right into the adventure?’. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and I had to skip through a lot of dialogue before I got to the core game. My only issue aside, let’s get to the gameplay.

The gameplay in Ultra Moon is largely unchanged since Sun/Moon last year although there are some nice enhancements. I liked the new layout for the touch screen’s battle controls and there are little things in the menus that seemed optimized over Sun and Moon. Most of the new updates in Ultra Moon are fairly small and most players won’t see the newest content til after they complete the game’s story. Once players beat the game, they will have a few options at their disposal: they can go tackle a new Island Trial featuring Fairy-type Pokemon, battle Team Rainbow Rocket (a ‘Legion of Doom’-like compilation of the game’s past villains), and even catch almost all the Legendary Pokemon from previous Pokemon games. There is even a place called the Kantonian Gym which gives series’ veterans a chance to play a Gym-style scenario. Players can go through the Gym once per day and the challenges will vary each time. One of my biggest gripes with Sun and Moon was in the area of post-story leveling opportunities–Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon offer a lot more in this regard thankfully.

Ultra Moon also features new modes/options like Mantine Surf, Pikachu Valley, the Battle Agency and more along with collecting Totem Stickers throughout the world. The world of Alola definitely feels more developed in Ultra Moon and there are a variety of new activities.

For longtime fans, there are a few new Pokemon added exclusively in Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon and there are more catchable, wild Pokemon than previous games. Unfortunately, for people who played Sun and Moon extensively, you will have to go through quite a bit of old content before you get to the newer content towards the end. That said, Pokemon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon are the definitive versions of the 4 games. If you haven’t played Sun or Moon, by all means pick up Ultra Sun and/or Ultra Moon as they are an excellent departure from the old series formula of past games. For Sun/Moon veterans, the games are worth it, but they will feel like deja vu more often than not.