Pokemon Sun Versus Pokemon Moon: Which To Buy

The next big Pokemon release is upon us, which means that some of you might be debating which version to buy. Fear not, undecided trainer. I'm here to help.

As always, Pokemon comes in two flavours, each with its own set of version-exclusive creatures and slight storytelling variances. The first difference you should know about is the one relating to time of day. As the official Pokemon website explains:

Pokemon Sun operates on the same time as your Nintendo 3DS system, but time in the world of Pokemon Moon is shifted by 12 hours.

In turn, some of the events are different depending on your version, as you can see below:

Really, though, you're going to overtly get the same story beats no matter what version you get, so don't fret over this detail too much. Unless you love sunshine. Then you should get Sun.

The next noteworthy difference is the one signalled by Sun and Moon's box art: The legendaries. Legendaries are some of the most powerful and rare creatures you can find, so it's an important choice.

Solgaleo, pictured on the left, is the deity of Pokemon Sun. Here's the official description:

Solgaleo's body holds a vast amount of energy, and it shines with light when it's active. It has a flowing mane with a remarkable resemblance to the sun. Its signature move is Sunsteel Strike, an attack that charges at an opponent with the force of a meteor, disregarding the target's Ability.
Solgaleo's Ability is Full Metal Body, a new Ability that no previous Pokemon has had. With the Full Metal Body Ability, a Pokemon's stats will not be lowered by the effects of an opponent's moves or Ability.

Lunala, pictured on the right, is the guardian of Pokemon Moon. Here's what you should know about Lunala:

Lunala is constantly absorbing light and converting it into energy. With its wings spread to absorb the surrounding light and glittering like a crescent moon, it resembles a beautiful night sky. Lunala's signature Moongeist Beam attack releases an ominous beam of light that disregards the target's Ability.
Lunala's Ability is Shadow Shield, a new Ability that no previous Pokemon has had. With the Shadow Shield Ability, a Pokemon will take less damage from an attack that lands when the Pokémon has full HP.

It comes down to this: What legendary looks cooler to you? That's the one you should pick.

Finally, the most notable difference has to be the version-exclusive critters. Here's the rundown:

Or, if you'd prefer it in one quick, easy-to-parse image, @DecidueyeX has you covered. On the left is Sun, and the right is Moon.

In list form: Sun has UB-02 Absorption, Lycanroc, Turtonator, Passimiam, Vulpix, Ninetails, Gible/Gabite/Garchomp, Trapinch, Vibrava, Flygon, Cranidos, Rampardos, Tirtouga, Carracosta, Rufflet, Braviary, Cottonee and Whimsicott.

Moon has UB-02 Beauty, Lycanroc, Drampa, Oranguru, Sandshrew, Sandslash, Beldum, Metang, Metagross, Goomy, Sliggoo, Goodra, Shieldon, Bastiodon, Archen, Archeops, Vullaby, Mandibuzz, Petilil and Lilligant.

If you're the tactical type, it might also help to know what moves these creatures can learn. For that, I direct you to Project Pokemon's movelist directory -- just search for the creature you're interested in, and peruse the associated list.

For most of us, though, the most important question we're going to ask ourselves is this: Which version has a larger number of Pokemon that look awesome to me? Neither technically has the "better" Pokemon; it all comes down to taste. I for example went with Sun, because the lion Pokemon is way more awesome than the bat thing. You might feel like darkness is totally your aesthetic, so Moon is the best choice. Let your heart guide you.

It helps to know that Sun and Moon have robust online capabilities, meaning that no matter what you pick, you'll be able to trade for the exclusives you lack with ease. That's the entire point!

So then...

Here's my prediction. Sun and Moon are just a fancy way of saying "Red and Blue", and anecdotally at least, Pokemon Red has always been the more popular game. As such, I'm fully expecting more people to pick Sun over Moon. I guess we'll find out.


    Need a poll, which Pokemon game did you get, sun, moon or both?

      Both... but one for me and the missus, Cousin :P

      Last edited 18/11/16 1:26 pm

    #TeamMoon #TeamRowlett
    I saw a lady buy 2 of each version whilst picking my copy up. I'd like to think the 2nd copy of each is for Ultra Hardcore Nuzlocke runs.

      I'd like to think the 2nd copy of each is for Ultra Hardcore Nuzlocke runs.
      Pokemon feints, game in bin.

    I got both but will be playing Sun once my 3DS charges up.

    I like owls so I'm starting with Rowlet.

      I went Sun, Rowlet too. I love her final form.

      Last edited 18/11/16 5:02 pm

        Yours is a her? Mine's a him.

        Looks like they randomise the gender now.

        But then again (at the risk of being laughed out for my age) I haven't really played Pokemon since the Yellow cartridge was new.

          Yeah gender has been randomised for awhile, the thing is I did many a soft reset to get a her with a good nature. 87.5% Male, 12.5% Female for starters or roughly 1 in 9 chance.

    So it comes to ice vulpix or lilligant.. gonna trade me in a liligant.

    So if I always play after work I should get Moon so its daytime when i'm playing?

    Yes once again I picked the best for version exclusives. Go Sun all the way.

    I ended up buying both. One for my wife and myself. She ended up choosing Moon as she prefers moon's dark purple over Sun's orange.

    Alas we will be both chasing each other for all time now... luckily we have a daughter now so if 3rd game is released she can play that.

    Bought Sun because I aim to make a cat team using Litten, Solgaleo and Alolan Meowth.
    Then I just need to get a Luxray, Espeon and... one other cat-like Pokémon that I haven't decided on yet.

    I got both (X&Y) last gen and when December rolls around with the last mythical pokemon I'll have finally completed my living dex there so I didn't feel the need to get both this time around, got enough spare pokemon to trade for the ones I'll miss out on.

    Went for Pokemon Moon purely because the legendary looked cool (I tend not to use legendaries much anymore anyway) and starting off with Rowlett - was so set on Litten until the final forms got revealed and then I completely changed my mind :P

    "Legendaries are some of the most powerful and rare creatures you can find, so it's an important choice."

    "It comes down to this: What legendary looks cooler to you? That's the one you should pick."


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