‘Pokémon Sun and Moon’ – Version Differences [Updated]

Henry Gilbert
Games Pokémon
Games Pokémon

The Pokémon series is known for pioneering many things. That includes creating slightly different versions of the same game to inspire teamwork and trading. That continues into the newest entry, but what exactly are the major Pokémon Sun and Moon version differences?

There are the usual version-specific monsters, but the Pokémon Sun and Moon version differences go much deeper than that. Try different time zones, bosses, and more. Read on.

Updated Nov. 28 with new information.

Slightly Different Story Moments

Pokemon Sun and Moon Ultra Beasts New Monsters

The plots in both Sun and Moon are fairly similar, but some moments in cutscenes differ. Depending on the version, different Ultra Beasts will appear in different story sequences. So do you want to see Tapu Koko fighting the UB-02 Beauty or Expansion? It’s a superficial difference, but a version difference nonetheless.

Day and Night Differences

Pokemon Sun and Moon Version Differences

The biggest difference between the Sun and Moon versions tie-in directly to the name. Like previous titles, Pokémon Sun and Moon is tied to the 3DS’s internal clock. When playing Sun, if it’s noon in real life, it’s noon in the world of Alola. However, that’s not the case in Moon. In a first for the series, a version of Pokémon takes place 12 hours in ahead. Meaning that if you’re playing at noon, it’s midnight in the in-game world of Moon, following through on the name in its title. So when choosing which version, ask yourself if you’d rather be in a setting that’s mostly dark or mostly bright.

Different Totem Pokémon

Pokemon Sun and Moon Version Differences

Gyms are replaced with Trials this time around. These are rights of passage every trainer on Alola must go through, but it’s slightly different in Sun versus Moon. Thanks to the time change in the versions, you’ll face different sets of Pokémon in each battle, so plan accordingly. Here’s a cheat sheet.

Exclusive Monsters

The above tweet of leaked images spells it out pretty clearly, but in case this is your first Pokémon game, I’ll explain. As in previous games, Pokémon Sun and Moon have a handful of monsters that can only be found in each version. That doesn’t mean you can’t easily trade for the monsters you can’t catch, but you won’t find them in the wild. There are definitely differences in skills to take into consideration that you can study here. But the real question should be which version exclusives to you think look the coolest. Only you can answer that question for yourself.

Special Legendaries


For many Pokémon trainers, the deciding factor is which cover legendary you’ll be capturing. In Sun you’ve got the imposing solar lion beast known as Solgaleo. Oppositely, Moon‘s cover legendary is the mysterious, circular bat-like creature known as Lunala. Both are healthy mixes of Psychic-Type moves, and their stories play out generally the same. So really, which do you like the look of and would prefer to see in your party? Answer that, and you’ll know which version to go with.

So those are all the major Pokémon Sun and Moon version differences that we know of. If there are any extra found post-release, we’ll be sure to let you know.

Henry Gilbert
Henry Gilbert is Senior Games Editor at Fandom. He's worked in the gaming press since 2008, writing for sites as diverse as GamesRadar, IGN, and Paste Magazine. He's also been known to record a podcast or two with Laser Time. Follow him on Twitter @henereyg.