Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are less like new games in the RPG franchise, and more like definitive remakes of last year’s Pokémon Sun and Moon. That includes what makes each one different from the other — but in case you didn’t play Sun and Moon already, it’s important to know what those differences are. If nothing else, knowing the exclusives should help you decide whether you’d rather play Ultra Sun or Ultra Moon.
The starring legendaries
Pokémon Ultra Sun once again gives players the chance to catch Solgaleo, a steel-/psychic-type Pokémon. Meanwhile, Ultra Moon stars the psychic-/ghost-type Lunala. Note that they each have a new form in the games that weren’t obtainable in Sun and Moon.
OK, so here’s the big deciding factor. There are certain Pokémon (and the unique not-quite-Pokémon, Ultra Beasts) that are only found in the wild while playing Ultra Sun or Ultra Moon. Regarding your average, run-of-the-mill Pokémon, the latest pair of games features the same set of exclusives as last year’s set. The tweet below, also from 2016, has the full lineup.
Here are the version exclusives from both games!!— Kahuna Vishwa (@DecidueyeX) November 10, 2016
Posted cause it's to help y'all decide what version you want & has no spoilers IMO. pic.twitter.com/gvwlw8T4ni
There are a few Pokémon that make their seventh-gen debut in Ultra Sun and Moon, though. That includes totally new Ultra Beasts, along with a legion of legendary Pokémon that can be found in-game. (They’re dispersed throughout the ultra wormholes that are also introduced in the new games.)
Below, you’ll find the legendaries exclusive to Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Prefer guys like Entei and Lugia? Grab Ultra Moon. More into, say, Dialga and Groudon? Ultra Sun is your pick.
There are also three new Ultra Beasts, and two of them are version exclusives. (The third, UB Adhesive, will be distributed through the Mystery Gift function to all players.) The sentient clown-lollipop ... thing UB Burst shows up in Ultra Sun, while UB Assembly, which is a gigantic wall with eyes and legs, is Ultra Moon’s special Beast.
The other new thing is that there are collectible Totem Pokémon this time around. These are the oversized, extra-strong Pokémon that typically serve as the final bosses of Alola’s island trials. If you pick up special stickers spread across the world, you can trade them in to get Totem Pokémon for your own collection.
In Ultra Sun, players are gifted a giant Gumshoos when they hand in 20 stickers, and a big Lurantis after collecting 50 stickers. At the 20-sticker mark in Ultra Moon, players get a Totem Raticate; 50 stickers awards them a Totem Salazzle.
The same ol’ time difference
Just as Sun and Moon did, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon operate on unique day-night cycles. When it’s daytime in the real world, it’s nighttime in Ultra Moon. Ultra Sun will mirror your actual surroundings, on the other hand. This makes a difference for certain timing-based evolutions, but it’s also good to know if you play a lot during the night and would like to see your Pokémon in the sunlight once in a while, for example.
The rest is up to you
These are the biggest things you’ll miss out on if you choose Ultra Moon over Ultra Sun and vice versa. What it always boils down to with Pokémon is personal preference, because these changes aside, everything else about these Nintendo 3DS games is the same.