When Pokémon Sun and Moon were announced five months ago, we were faced with some tough decisions about which version to get — and with which starter Pokémon we'd embark upon our journey. Now, just a month ahead of the games' Nov. 18 launch, we're reconsidering those choices as we become acquainted with the first evolutionary form of each of these partner Pokémon.
Below, we reevaluate how we feel about Rowlett, Litten and Popplio based upon their secondary forms, whom we met earlier today by way of a new trailer.
When we polled the Polygon staff in May, Rowlett emerged as the clear favorite starter Pokémon. That means that expectations for its evolutions were high — and we're not sure Dartrix meets them.
Dartrix's swooping hair and flirtatious look puts it somewhere between that cool, stylish guy everyone has a crush on and the spoiled brat who hires servants to do his hair and fight his Pokémon battles for him. It really could go either way, based on its official description; the Pokémon is said to be so into its own appearance that it can sometimes become distracted from battle, even surrendering so that it can prune its feathers.
Although it's a powerful, stealthy creature, Dartrix is most concerned with life's vainer pleasures. The Pokémon website refers to it as a "snob" outright, and we have little patience for a Pokémon that puts more effort into its looks than we do. Sorry, Rowlett lovers: It may be best to give an Everstone to the tiny owl to keep it polite and selfless.
Litten was our staff poll runner-up, with plenty of us pulling for the fiery kitten. We're fans of Torracat, too — heck, we may like it more than Litten.
Much like an actual feline, Torracat resembles an older, angrier, chubbier version of the lithe Litten. But this cat doesn't just prowl around all day, waiting to be fed; Torracat has some intense hunting instincts. Its description emphasizes its bloodthirst and affinity for battle. Don't expect it to dip out of a fight to go lick itself clean real quick; Torracat is in it to win it.
Sure, it can also be kind of a brat sometimes. But Torracat is strong enough to take on an above average-sized man, which sounds great by us. It also has a unique nervous system, with its external flame sac and highly sensitive mane aiding it in battle. If you're down to prove yourself — as any Pokémon trainer should be — then Torracat is an excellent companion.
Popplio quickly achieved meme status this summer, thanks to its dopey clown nose and obvious aesthetic deficiencies when compared to Rowlett and Litten. Yet its first evolution, Brionne, may seriously challenge the beliefs maintained by the Popplio-averse.
Brionne is known as the "pop star Pokémon," making it the swan on the other side of Popplio's ugly duckling story. It's cute! It dances! It's friendly! It's likable! Heck, it's even a hard worker, its description says; Brionne doesn't just slide by on its charm and rhythm. Instead, it's an optimist who confuses enemies with its impressive choreography, then pops balloons in their face to really show them who's boss.
Maybe a Pokémon this happy-go-lucky isn't quite your speed, though. Popplio looked a little too pleased with everything too, after all; could Brionne suffer the same, ignorantly blissful fate? We're inclined to think otherwise, with its description suggesting the tireless optimism can sometimes be a facade. Brionne is so lucky — it's a star! — but it cries in its lonely heart. If there's something missing from its life, only a trainer it feels especially close to will get to see it at its most vulnerable state.
Who will you choose?
There's still one more evolutionary form to encounter for each of the three starter Pokémon. Unfortunately, we're not positive we'll get to scope them out before Sun and Moon arrive on Nov. 18. For now, let us know in the comments whose side you're pledging.