Pokemon Sun and Moon - What's the Difference?

Learn the key differences between Pokemon’s latest games, Sun and Moon.


Pokemon Sun and Moon are now available worldwide. As with any new Pokemon games that release in pairs, fans might be scratching their heads and wondering ‘Just what is the difference between these two games?’. In this article we’re going to address the differences between Pokemon Sun and Moon, so that you know what you’re getting into when you buy your copy.

The Difference in Time

One of the major differences between the two new Pokemon games is the fact that each one favors a different time of day. Moon favors nighttime, whereas Sun favors daylight. The time of day that you play at actually affects which Pokemon you’ll see, too, making the time difference key component of deciding which copy of the game you pick up.

Just to explain the time difference a little bit better…. Pokemon Sun will correspond more to daytime. This means that playing at noon or so will have the game world showing the same time of day. While playing Pokemon Moon at noon will actually show the gameworld as 12 hours ahead of your current 3DS or 2DS clock’s time. This is a nifty feature which actually makes sense in the grand scheme of things, so make sure to think about that before deciding which copy of the game to purchase.

Totems Make the World Go Round

A new feature to make its way into the series with Pokemon Sun and Moon are Totems. These new “super-powered” Pokemon are actually part of the new Trial system, which replaces Gyms and Gym Leaders. We won’t go into too much detail on these, but the Totem Pokemon you encounter will differ from game to game.

Exclusive Pokemon

One of the biggest deciding factors for many Pokemon fans trying to decide on a specific version is exclusive Pokemon. This was definitely a big thing for us when we sat down to figure out which version we wanted, and it is an important aspect to keep in mind when picking up Pokemon Sun or Moon. The most obvious exclusives are the Legendary Pokemon. Pokemon Moon players can get the moth-like Lunala, while Pokemon Sun owners can acquire the lion-like Solgaleo.

These are the only truly exclusive Pokemon, as the other exclusives are merely different versions of Pokemon that players have encountered in their previous trips through the Kanto Region. A good example of this is the Ice Type Ninetails, which can only be found in Pokemon Sun. The Alolan Sandslash is a new variation of an older Pokemon that can only be acquired while playing Pokemon Moon. Of course, exclusives aren’t a huge problem if you have friends, as you can capture the ones that are exclusive and trade them out easily.

Special Pokemon Forms

Another important thing to keep in mind when deciding which version to go with, are special Pokemon forms that are locked to the game. The best example of this is Growlithe-like Rockruff, a new Alolan Pokemon that actually evolves into a different form based on the version of the game you have. Evolving this specific Pokemon in Pokemon Sun will reward you with Midday Form Lycanroc, an incredibly fast-attacking Pokemon with a special move that only it can learn.

Evolving your Rockruff in Pokemon Moon, however, will reward you with the Midnight Form Lycanroc, which is a slower, higher damage-based version of the Lycanroc evolution. It also stands up on its hind legs in battle, making it look more like the Pokemon version of a Werewolf. Beat that Jacob Black.

You can still catch the various evolution types, though, depending on the time of day that you play!

Those are the biggest differences between Pokemon Sun and Moon. Still not sure which version to get, or if you should get it at all? Head over to Modojo and check out our super sweet Pokemon Sun and Moon review.

You should also go ahead and learn how to save your game in Pokemon Sun and Moon, as they’ve changed how things work a little bit. Don’t know which Pokemon to choose as your starter? Let us help you decide! You should also go ahead and find out how to get Munchlax, as it's one of the most adorable Pokemon you’ll find in the game! Don't know how to switch your Pokemon order? We've got your back.

Now that you know all about the differences between Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon, head over to our Pokemon Sun and Moon guide for more tips, tricks, and guides to help you become a Pokemon Master!

Guides Editor

Joshua holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and has been exploring the world of video games for as long as he can remember. He enjoys everything from large-scale RPGs to small, bite-size indie gems and everything in between.

Hello, Meet Lola