A breakdown of the major differences between the two upcoming iterations of the Pokemon series.

Like Night and Day — The Differences Between Pokémon Sun and Moon

A breakdown of the major differences between the two upcoming iterations of the Pokemon series.
This article is over 7 years old and may contain outdated information

As it has happened will all the main Pokémon titles, Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon have different pokémon and features, that do not appear in both games. These differences are minimal, since the main story and overall experience will remain the same. Some might say they are not as bold as day and night…

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In this article, you will find all the differences between Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, to help you decide which one do you prefer. 

Exclusive New Pokémon

In addition to Solgaleo and Lunala, the legendaries that appear in the art cover of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon respectively, each game has unique pokémon that cannot be captured in the other one. These include:

Pokémon Sun

  • Turtonator
  • Passimian
  • Alolan Vulpix
  • Alolan Ninetales
  • UB-02 Absorbtion (Ultra Beast)

Pokémon Moon

  • Drampa
  • Oranguru
  • Alolan Sandshrew
  • Alolan Sandlash
  • UB-02 Beauty (Ultra Beast)

Additionally, there is a new pokémon named Lycanroc that has two different forms. If you evolve Rockruff in Pokémon Sun, it will become Lycanroc Midday Form; but if you do the same in Pokémon Moon, you will get Lycanroc Midnight Form. Each one has different abilities and statistics.

Exclusive Returning Pokémon

There is a bunch of old Pokémon that make a return from previous games, which do not appear in both of them. These are:

Pokémon Sun

  • Gible
  • Gabite
  • Garchomp
  • Goomy
  • Sligoo
  • Goodra
  • Cranidos
  • Rampardos
  • Tirtouga
  • Carracosta
  • Rufflet
  • Braviary
  • Cottonee
  • Whimsicott

Pokémon Moon

  • Beldum
  • Metang
  • Metagross
  • Trapinch
  • Vibrava
  • Flygon
  • Shieldon
  • Bastiodon
  • Archen
  • Archeops
  • Vullaby
  • Mandibuzz
  • Petilil
  • Lilligant

Different Time Zones

 Pokémon Sun and Moon will run twelve hours apart from each other. Like previous titles, they are set to the intern clock on your 3DS, running in real time. If you are playing Sun, it will be set at the exact time. However, if you are playing Moon, the game will shift twelve hours ahead. It applies to almost the entire game, except specific cutscenes that take place at certain times, no matter the title.

This mechanic is intented to set Pokémon Moon at night when we play the most: during the day. This is important, because certain pokémon won’t appear during the day and viceversa.

Different Totem Pokémon

In Pokémon Sun and Moon, traditional Gyms have been replaced by four “Trials”, each one corresponding to an island of the Alola region. At the end of each Trial, you will have to face an enhanced version of a regular pokémon, with better skills and properties, called “Totem Pokémon”.

These Totem Pokémon will also differ from one version to the other. For example, the Totem Pokémon you will have to face in the first Trial, set in Verdant Cavern on Melemele Island, will be Gumshoos in Pokémon Sun, while in Pokémon Moon it will be the Alolan Raticate.

Which game has the coolest pokémon, Pokémon Sun or Pokémon Moon? Which one are you going to get? Leave your comment below!

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Pablo Seara
Graduate in Bilingual Journalism & Media Studies in San Pablo CEU University, Madrid. Aspiring video game journalist. My dream is to work for IGN.