New details for Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon continue to be teased out by Nintendo and The Pokémon Company in the weeks leading up to its November 17 launch.
Last year’s Pokémon Sun and Moon introduced expanded gameplay for riding Pokémon, as well as the new Ultra Beasts. Both features return in Ultra Sun and Moon. You’ll be able to ride on Legendary Pokémon Solgaleo and Lunala into the Ultra Beasts’ wormhole to discover all new worlds.
One of the new worlds is called Ultra Megalopolis. It’s a darkened city that had its light stolen by Necrozma, a new Legendary Pokémon in Ultra Sun and Moon. A giant tower in the middle gives off the only light, with a mysterious someone or something at the top.
Many different worlds are available, including the home worlds of the Ultra Beasts, though no more have been announced at this time.
Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon introduces a new inter-dimensional faction called Ultra Recon Squad. This group comes from one of the worlds beyond the Ultra Wormhole. The story and characters will be different depending on which version you play. Ultra Sun will feature Ultra Recon characters Dulse and Zossie. Ultra Moon will star Soliera and Phyco.
With treks into the wormhole it makes sense that we’ll be seeing new Ultra Beasts as well.
UB Burst is the Fireworks Pokémon. It’s a fairly unique Fire/Ghost type. Its signature move is to, ah, explode its head. It’s only found in Ultra Sun.
UB Assembly is the Rampart Pokémon with a Rock/Steel typing. It looks like like a walking building, but apparently each of its stones is a separate life form. It’s unique to Ultra Moon.
UB Adhesive is brought by the Ultra Recon Squad. It’s known as the Poison Pin Pokémon because it shoots poisonous needles out of its head. It’s a Poison Type, obviously. UB Adhesive will be available in both Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.
Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon launches November 17 on Nintendo 3DS.
Hook ’em on ‘Catch ‘Em All’ while they’re young! Today the Pokémon Company revealed a new mobile app designed specifically for preschool age children (age 3-5). The app is called Pokémon Playhouse. It’s available now on iPhone, iPad, and Android as a free download – without any in-app purchases.
“The Pokémon brand truly is a property for all ages, and the ability to complete activities with cute new expression of recognizable Pokémon in Pokémon Playhouse offers our youngest fans the opportunity to explore the world of Pokémon in an environment made just for them,” said J.C. Smith, senior director of Consumer Marketing at The Pokémon Company. “As the popularity of the Pokémon brand continues to grow, we’re thrilled to launch the first-ever Pokémon preschool expression with Pokémon Playhouse, offering parents an age-appropriate and entertaining experience for the littlest Trainers in their family.”
The game takes place in and around a playhouse for Pokémon. All activities are cute and calming, such as grooming your Pokémon and finding Pokémon constellations in the stars. There are no reading or math skills required. A human character narrates the activities, and there are some light puzzles and stories kids can engage in.
The more you play with the Pokémon the stronger a bond you create. Completing activities and befriending Pokémon work toward hatching new eggs to add new Pokémon to your collection, such as Pikachu, Bulbasaur, and Snorlax. Over 50 Pokémon are available to hatch, play, and befriend.
The Pokémon Playhouse app is available now on iOS and Android. It’s free to download and play.
All eyes are on the Nintendo Switch this year, as well they should be. Nintendo has been in a weird place with home consoles over the last decade. The Wii exploded onto the scene as a gimmicky toy, then quickly collected dust in everyone’s closest. The Wii U failed to capture an audience at all, reaching only 10% of the sales of its predecessor. Launching earlier this year, the Switch is faring much better, including a killer app like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and featuring full portability.
It’s the portability that had me worried about my favorite Nintendo product of this century: the Nintendo 3DS. With the announcement and launch of the Switch, I had concerns over how Nintendo’s handheld-only console would fare when stacked up with a device that could do both.
Turns out my concerns were completely unfounded. The six-year old Nintendo 3DS is having its best year ever in 2017.
From the hardware side, this year saw the release of the New Nintendo 2DS XL. While the New Nintendo 3DS XL has failed to garner much of an audience thanks to a lack of Circle pad-requiring games, the New Nintendo 2DS XL should fare much better.
The New Nintendo 2DS XL is the exact same device as the 3DS XL (circle pad and everything) minus the 3D feature, for a much cheaper price. It’s an even better buy-in for parents and kids where the 3D effect isn’t nearly as desired (or even unwanted for younger kids) as just getting access to the amazing library of kid-friendly Nintendo 3DS games.
Over its prolific life cycle the 3DS has been home to all the biggest Nintendo series, including Zelda, Mario, Super Smash Bros, Pokémon, Fire Emblem, Monster Hunter, and Dragon Quest.
Need another reason why the 3DS is having an amazing year? I’ve got 19.
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
A remake of one of the best Japanese RPGs of the PlayStation 2 era, Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King is a must play for anyone who loves and appreciates old-school 90’s-style RPGs. The original game was noteworthy for featuring a fully 3D world to explore, which translates perfectly to the 3DS.
Release: January 20, 2017
Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World
With the abysmal sales of the Wii U I’ll forgive you if you missed Poochy’s Woolly World last year. That’s all the more reason to play the 3DS version of this whimsical platformer. With a fun variety of levels, unique yarn art style, and plenty of secrets and unlockables, it’s one of the best 2D platformers I’ve played in years.
Release: February 3, 2017
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns
Farming sim Stardew Valley was all the rage last year. If you like that style the 3DS has plenty of sim-life and farming sim games to tackle. Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns features the same basic but fun routines of tending to farm life while exploring different towns and people.
Release: February 28, 2017
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia gives Western audiences their first introduction to 1991’s Fire Emblem Gaiden. Thank the Nintendo 3DS for popularizing the Fire Emblem series, from Awakening to Conquest and Birthright. Echoes offers unique gameplay features for the series, including dungeon crawling and dual protagonists. Read our review.
Release: May 19, 2017
The 3DS tends to play it safe with big franchise installments, but Ever Oasis is a completely new title. It combines Zelda-style exploration and combat with Animal Crossing-esque town management, as you build up your burgeoning oasis and recruit allies to run stalls and delve into dungeons. Read our review.
Release: June 23, 2017
Hey! Pikmin is a 2D spin-off that represents a significant departure from the main Pikmin series. This time around Captain Olimar using found Pikmin to solve puzzles. It seems particularly suited to younger children, and is noteworthy for supporting all amiibo figures with various in-game bonuses.
Release: July 28, 2017
Do you love those Streetpass mini-games where a bunch of Miis race cars or fish or battle zombies? Miitopia is a full-scale RPG featuring everyone’s Mii avatars. It’s as goofy and fun as you imagine, utilizing a lot of fun design elements from The Sims with a a classic party-based RPG.
Release: July 28, 2017
Monster Hunter Stories
This new spin-off combines all the best elements of Monster Hunter with Pokémon to create a surprisingly special experience. The Monster Hunter series can be especially daunting, but Monster Hunter Stories represents a successful kid-friendly version that retains much of the depth of the classic action series. Read our review.
Release: September 8, 2017
Minecraft: New Nintendo 3DS Edition
Minecraft is the only title here that requires the New Nintendo 3DS (or recently released 2DS). Minecraft was available on just about every platform in modern existence, and the 3DS wasn’t about to be left out. The 3DS version comes with five addtional skin packs and two texture packs.
Release: September 13, 2017
Metroid: Samus Returns
The first new 2D Metroid title in over a decade is cause for much rejoicing. It’s actually a remake of the 1991 Game Boy title Metroid II: Return of Samus. The entire game has been rebuilt with new modern visuals, dual-screen interface, and much-welcomed gameplay enhancements to combat and movement. More Metroid games please!
Release: September 15, 2017
Pokémon Gold and Silver
Pokémon Gold and Silver isn’t a remake or even an enhancement, it’s just the original games, coming to 3DS. Why is that noteworthy? For one, Gold and Silver (Gen 2) are still considered the best generation of Pokémon games, and favorites of many a long-time fan. Second it makes transferring Pokémon from these games into other 3DS games, such as Sun and Moon, much easier.
Release: September 22, 2017
Yo-Kai Watch 2: Psychic Specters
Yo-Kai Watch may be a shameless modern Pokémon clone, but they’re also legitimately fun games in their own right. Psychic Specters is the definitive third version of last year’s Fleshy Souls and Bony Spirits. Aside from the better name it features new locations, new quests, expanded co-op, and more Yo-Kai to befriend.
Release: September 29, 2017
Culdcept has been around for years but mostly flown under the radar for Western audiences. Culdcept Revolt is the first title to reach the West since 2008’s Culdcept Saga. The series is a unique combination of strategy card and board games featuring over 400 different cards.
Release: October 3, 2017
Layton’s Mystery Journey
The Professor Layton series has been captivating puzzle game fans for years on Nintendo DS and 3DS. Layon’s Mystery Journey stars the Professor’s young daughter, Katrielle, now her own private detective, as she investigates the disappearance of her famous father. It’s the first Professor Layon title since 2013.
Release: October 6, 2017
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions
Yet another remake of a classic game, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga updates the visuals of the 2003 Game Boy Advance RPG and combines it with an all-new storyline called Minion Quest. The original Superstar Saga is one of the best GBA games, and the series is beloved by Nintendo handheld fans.
Release: October 6, 2017
Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth
With an old-school RPG flair that tasks you with mapping out dungeons, the Etrian Odyssey series is not for the faint of heart. Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth is the second deep RPG in the series to grace the Nintendo 3DS. You can download a demo on the Nintendo eShop.
Release: October 17, 2017
Fire Emblem Warriors
We last saw a Dynasty Warriors – Nintendo crossover with Hyrule Warriors in 2014, and it reached the 3DS last year. This year both the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch will see the launch of Fire Emblem Warriors, featuring the large-scale action battles of Dynasty Warriors with the familiar anime characters of Fire Emblem.
Release: October 20, 2017
Mario Party: The Top 100
Mario Party: The Top 100 was just announced last week during the Nintendo Direct. It’s a compilation of the best 100 mini-games from all 10 Mario Party games. Let’s skip the laughably unbalanced and random board game portion and jump right into what we loved – goofy, quick, and fun mini-games starring our favorite Mario characters.
Release: November 10, 2017
Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon
You can’t declare a great Nintendo handheld year without a main Pokémon title to back it up. Unlike 2013’s Pokémon X and Y, last year’s Sun and Moon is getting a definitive third edition this year, featuring new Pokémon, new areas in the Alola region, and a new storyline.
Nintendo and The Pokémon Company are running a promotion with the release of the 20th animated feature film, Pokémon The Movie: I Choose You. With the provided code below and online access, anyone can obtain a unique hat-wearing Pikachu for their copy of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon.
A total of six different hatted Pikachu are available, but you can only obtain one of them. Each hat ties into one that Ash Ketchum wore in various eras of the Pokémon TV show and movies.
Hats will be cycled by date, so the hat (and Pikachu) you receive depends on when you redeem the download code and Mystery Gift.
The first offering provides Pikachu wearing Ash’s cap from their original adventures through the Kanto and Johto regions. Likewise Pikachu’s moveset reflects the moves it would have from that era.
In order to obtain this Gen 1/2 version of Pikachu, you’ll need to redeem the code by September 25.
Here are the instructions:
Open your Pokémon Sun or Pokémon Moon game.
Select Mystery Gift on the main menu.
Select Receive Gift.
Select Get with Code/Password, then Yes, then Yes again to connect to the internet.
Enter the code PIKACHU20.
Watch as you receive your Pokémon.
Speak to the delivery person in any Pokémon Center to receive your Pokémon.
Be sure to save your game.
Here are Pikachu’s stats:
If you want a different hat-wearing Pikachu, you’ll need to wait until after September 25. No details have been revealed about the other five still to come.
The last batch of downloadable Mega Stones are also available. Follow the above instructions and enter the code DRACHE to receive Mega Stones for Ampharos, Altaria, Latios, and Latias for Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. You have until October 31 to redeem the Mega Stone code.
The Monster Hunter series has been around for over a decade, though far more popular in Japan than in the US. The world of gigantic monsters, challenging combat, and hours of grinding and crafting weapons and armor often remains impenetrable for many would-be fans.
Monster Hunter Stories refreshingly succeeds at being a more intuitive, kid-friendly spin-off game. It incorporates basic elements of Pokémon’s monster-collecting while still using the core tenets of Monster Hunter’s questing and hunting tasks to create a welcoming, yet deeply rich experience.