Pokemon Ultra Star is an upcoming Free Downloadable Update Game for the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch. It requires Pokemon C and a copy of Pokemon Sun, Pokemon Moon, Pokemon Ultra Sun or Pokemon Ultra Moon to be downloaded. The game acts as a major update and overhaul to Pokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon fixing many of the issues that plagued the games and is also one of seven games referred to as the C-Download Games being updated to previous generations that require the game, Pokemon C to play.
Gameplay is relatively unchanged from Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon in terms of controls, the player is able to move about freely using the Analog Stick and can explore the overworld through use of walking and running as well as through overworld mechanics such as Ride Pokemon. The player interacts with NPCs and infoboxes by pressing A and can cancel out of dialogue immediately by pressing B except in circumstances such as cutscenes and trainer dialogue.
The main mechanic of battling is retained between this game and its predecessors although has been optimized through usage of a common engine that's used between all C-Download Games, as such the game runs much smoother in battles than it did in the originals in addition battle formats that had been dropped in the 7th Generation return here including Triple and Rotation Battles.
The player can perform actions through the sub-menu during battle under either the categories of; Battle, Items, Pokemon or Run. With each option having applicable selections much like in the original.
A change made in the battle sub-menu is that the game returns to the central battle button layout from previous games with Items located to the left, Pokemon to the right and Run at the bottom which changes to a selectable back button when the player has selected one of the other menus. Items have also receive a change with the Y button in Items allowing the player to use any of the five most recent items they've used in battle, this is also no longer restricted to Pokeballs so players can use items like Battle Items and Healing Items more easily.
Another change made to the battle screen is that when the player is in the Pokemon sub-menu they will have touch buttons for Switch and Summary while hovering over a Pokemon allowing the player to swap or check a Pokemon quickly instead of pressing A and then selecting from there. The last change made to the Battle Sub-Menu is that through the Options Menu the player will have the option to de-activate the Effectiveness Ratings noted on the Move Select screen allowing players to figure out which move is the most effective from their own memory.
The player once again has access to a Menu Screen via the Touch Screen in Pokemon Ultra Star, this menu has been altered from the original in USUM to be more accessible and easy for players to access without needing to flip through panels. The main change is that like the Save button the player will now have permanent slots for the Pokemon and Options Menus which are located in the Top-Left and Top-Right of the lower screen for convenience, the other menus have also been steamlined.
The Pokedex remains as its own selectable button as does the Bag, the player will find that the Festival Plaza, Pokemon Pelago, Pokemon Refresh and Photo Album are now located under the button Side Features which allows the player to easily access all four functions from a single screen and can now freely jump between each of them by pressing the L and R buttons together. The Trainer Passport also retains its own button like the Pokedex and Bag. Lastly, the QR Scanner, Battle Videos and Quick Link are now located under a separate button called Online with the player able to access each of them separately from that sub-menu. The layout was done this way to ensure every option in the menu fitted onto a single screen and that more important options like the Pokemon, Options and Bag weren't competing for screen space with less important options like the Side Features and Online Features.
The player receives a Rotom fairly on in the game which becomes attached to the Pokedex allowing the player to receive more information about the Pokemon in an area. This character was heavily altered in Pokemon Ultra Star mainly due to issues with the mechanics of its dialogue interactions, the player now has the option to de-activate Rotom's speech dialogue entirely from the Options Menu or have it limited to only noting critical information.
In addition Rotom's relationship with the Pokedex has been made more dynamic with him providing more information to the player through the lower screen about the Pokemon of a particular area and also registering basic information about Pokemon that the player passes by without the player needing to interact with said Pokemon. The Rotomdex feature of the lower screen will display the Pokemon located on the particular Route with the letters; C, U, R & VR next to their names referring to the rarity of that Pokemon on the Route. Rotom will also note Pokemon that only appear through unconventional means such as Weather, alternate Times of day, SOS Calls only & Horde Battles.
The player can also check the Rotomdex through the Menu select to find out more information about the various Pokemon the player has encountered. The player can find out more information in this Rotomdex than the previous one even for Pokemon the player hasn't captured, the player will receive some basic information about a Pokemon before capturing it known as the Observational Dex Entry and then can receive more information after capturing said Pokemon through the Researched Dex Entry, the player will also find that they can find the number of times the player has encountered a Pokemon of a particular species as well as what Pokemon they've defeated the most of that species with.
The Rotomdex will also provide hints to the player for Pokemon they haven't found yet in any capacity by giving a hint, these hints will usually come in two formats, either a hint of where to find the Pokemon or a hint of how to evolve that Pokemon, the latter obviously referring to evolutions of other Pokemon that the player has seen.
- For Pikachu - "I heard there's a valley in Akala Island full of this Pokemon, supposedly they also appear in SOS Battles on Route 1"
- For Raichu - "I think you need a stone that matches a Pikachu's electric personality to get this Pokemon"
The player can also receive information beyond what has been presented in games up to this point including the Gender Ratio of a Pokemon. The player can also use a feature through the Rotomdex called Attention Cry, by selecting a Pokemon the player has seen they are able to have the Rotomdex reproduce its Cry causing that Pokemon to be more likely to appear in the next wild encounter if it's available in the location the player's in, this doesn't work underwater however so the player cannot use this for every Pokemon. Another feature the Rotomdex provides is what's known as the Eggdex.
The Eggdex is a Dex the player will unlock after they've visited the Pokemon Nursery near Paniola Town on Akala Island, the Eggdex is an upgrade to the Rotomdex that allows the Pokemon to compare the compatability of two Pokemon to see if they'll produce an offspring, the player must select which Pokemon is the father and which is the mother, this will also inform the player of any egg moves the father Pokemon can pass onto the Baby Pokemon as a result.
Due to the poor implementation of the Ride Pokemon in the 7th Generation they were revamped and re-purposed in Pokemon Ultra Star to be more functional and integral to the puzzle solving in the game. The number of Ride Pokemon was cut down from seven to four. The four mandatory Ride Pokemon in the game are; Tauros, Charizard, Mantine and Machamp. Each of these Pokemon have expanded functionality with new features to their mechanics.
Unlike the previous games however there are additional ride Pokemon the player can receive through talking to NPCs located around the overworld, these optional Ride Pokemon are not needed at all to complete the game but are useful for solving the various optional puzzles around the world.
Tauros receive the most significant overhaul of the four giving the player more control while riding the Pokemon with smoother turning allowing for the player's navigation of the Routes to be easier with this Pokemon. In addition Tauros' ability to break boulders was retained and now expanded allowing Tauros' immense strength to be represented by its ability to break through weakened walls and also knock over various objects through its charging ability. The main new ability Tauros got was its ability of a Charge Push which allowed the player to push heavy objects around although the object would continue moving until it hit a wall. Tauros' high speed was also put to use in these games with it being the primary way to get over unstable ground which would crumble under the player's feet if they tried running across it, allowing Tauros to function similarily to how the Mach Bike does in Hoenn.
The least changed of the four, Charizard retains its function as the flight provider of the Ride Pokemon although now has the added functionality of working more like soaring did in Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. The player is able to ride on Charizard across the Alola Region's seas and can actually explore new locations specific to this game only through Charizard's flying capabilities. Like soaring in ORAS the player can run into a variety of wild Pokemon through this method although in addition to this there are now also Horde Battles that can occur while soaring and also other trainers that reside in the skies above Alola that alternate each day allowing the player to have trainers to battle high above Alola.
The successor to Lapras and Sharpedo, Mantine combines the functionality of both Pokemon into a single Pokemon allowing the player to glide across the water at high speeds and instead of smashing through blockades Mantine will actually glide over them using Bounce, the player will also find that Mantine has the added functionality of incorporating what in previous games was the HM, Dive, into its abilities allowing the player to explore the underwater world of the Alola Region, this allows the player to find hidden underwater caverns which like the islands in Charizard's Soaring ability are exclusive to this game as the mechanic did not exist in USUM. In addition Mantine through its underwater movements will unsettle sand allowing the player to find a variety of items hidden beneath the sand of the ocean.
Received much earlier in this game, Machamp combines its previous functionality of being the equivalent of Strength with a more expanded arsenal allowing it to not only pushing heavy objects but also pull tough objects like tree roots and powerful magnets as well as certain blocks. The player will also find that Machamp has incorporated into its moveset what was the HM, Rock Climb, in previous games allowing Machamp to scale the ledges the player jumps over earlier in the game allowing the player to bypass the limitations these locations usually provide and also allows the player to find new locations that like Charizard and Mantine before it weren't available before due to the lack of the mechanic.
Machamp is unique among the four Ride Pokemon as it's the only one which gains abilities as the player progresses through the game, there are three optional upgrades for Machamp that the player will need to find if they want to fully explore Alola these are the three elemental punches; Fire Punch, Thunderpunch and Ice Punch. Unlike teaching it these moves via standard Move Tutors the player must search for three experienced Ride Experts who will teach the player's Machamp these abilities allowing it to use the elemental punches for solving various puzzles in the overworld.
Optional Ride Pokemon
Though only receiving minor updates, Pokemon Pelago has had some added features to its existing locations as well as some new locations that the player can develop in Ultra Star, unlike in the original the player can actually physically visit the Pelago islands and explore them finding unique Pokemon that are very rare elsewhere in Alola. The player will find there are now seven islands as well as Mohn's sea-faring ship, as the player develops the islands they'll actually be able to talk to specialists who decide to stay at the islands, the seven specialists will each allow the player a boost in some regard for that particular island helping with either the island's functionality or giving the island a bonus feature for 24 hours.
Functioning much like it did in the original with it being the main source for the player to collect Pokebeans as well as being a way to recruit some rare and sometimes unique Pokemon the island has been streamlined such that the berries now fall in five large piles instead of spread out across the island, making it easier for the player to quickly collect berries as well as indicating how many berries the player will receive based on the pile's size. The player will also find that the player's Pokemon and visiting Pokemon now appear in two separate areas on this island with the player's Pokemon always residing on the South-half of the island while visiting Pokemon reside on the north half.
The visiting Pokemon also have changed mechanics from the original with how to have them recruited into the player's team. Unlike in the originals where it was simply random chance the player can now heavily influence or outright guarantee getting said Pokemon through two methods. The first is by being friendly towards the visiting Pokemon by accessing Pokemon Refresh to pet it as well as feed it Pokebeans, giving it the right sort of Pokebeans (dependant on its Nature and Tastes) will cause its probability to go up with giving it the correct bean and petting it enough giving the player a 95% chance of getting the Pokemon. The other option is for the player to physically go to the island and capture the Pokemon through a standard battle, however it should be noted that Pokemon when battled through this method are fought similar to Totem Pokemon such that they will receive a random stat boost and will call on other Pokemon to aid them.
The Island where the player can grow various berries has remained mostly the same with the player able to now grow up to 24 Berry Trees instead of the previous 18, the player will find that like Honey in Generation IV Pokemon may sometimes be feeding on the berries on the island when the player goes to the island physically, these Pokemon include the Pokemon from the Honey Trees in Generation IV as well as several additional Pokemon, they can be battled and caught if the player wants to catch them or simply defeated for exp. The Pokemon attracted will depend on the berry, since berries are divided by which island they're found on the Pokemon are also dependant on these same four groups. There is also a fifth group of Pokemon for berries that aren't found on any of the four Alolan Islands.
The player will also find that the Bean Box for this isle is no longer present with the player instead choosing what sort of fertilizer to choose, different fertilizers have different properties with there being four to choose from;
- Rapid Fertilizer - Promotes the growth of Berry Trees reducing their growth time by 25%
- Bountiful Fertilizer - Promotes the production of Berries on Berry Trees increasing their yield by 25%
- Specialized Fertilizer - Works best when more Berry Trees are of the same type, improves yield and reduces growth time by up to 50% based on the number of trees that are of the same berry type (for that berry type)
- Wild Fertilizer - Has strange properties that give a Berry Tree at 50% chance of producing a different type of berry in addition to its regular yield
The Isle Aphun has received a major overhaul in this game acting much like its original counterpart but now also incorporating a button-timing mini-game for players who want to receive more treasures as a reward for playing. The Isle Aphun now allows the player to conduct three separate expeditions simultaneously and under four different parameters; Shard Hunting, Fossil Mission, Digging for Gold & Rarities Spelunking. The mini-game that's been added allows the player to have their Pokemon mine out tunnels as they travel deeper into the cave system, the player must time their button presses as the circle around the button that needs to be pressed shrinks. If the player performs well then they'll find a rare item while performing poorly will yield a more common item.
Functioning as it did in the original the Isle is the only one without any major changes, the only notable change being that the timers for all three group sessions are now displayed instead of just the first group's timer.
This Isle has been slightly updated to now include separate locations for Eggs and Pokemon allowing the player effecitvely up to 36 Slots instead of 18. In addition Eggs hatched here as the Isle is more developed now have a higher chance of being shiny as well as carrying over the father's egg moves. The Isle also has included an update to it that allows the player to choose different temperatures for the baths with three; Cold, Warm and Hot. Cold Baths are the most unique of the three as they do not raise friendship but instead have the chance for the Pokemon to be able to recall a particular move, this functions much like the Move Relearner but also allows that Pokemon to potentially learn any egg move it could've obtained. Warm and Hot Baths both raise a Pokemon's friendship instead with Warm Baths taking longer but not having the risk of the Pokemon overheating.
Isle Vovel & Isle Ultra
The two new isles added in Pokemon Ultra Star are Isle Vovel and Isle Ultra. Isle Vovel is a simple island that allows the player to evolve their Pokemon through a simpler method and can allow Pokemon that evolve through certain ways to do so without needing to level-up or trade. The player has several options with Isle Vovel on the Vovel Meditation for the player's Pokemon, unlike other Isles the player doesn't set Pokemon in groups of six instead the player sets Pokemon individually specifying what Meditation they'll conduct, the meditation for most Pokemon is chosen automatically due to most Pokemon only having one evolution however for Pokemon like Eevee which have multiple evolutions the player must choose what Meditation they'll conduct, the Meditations and their times are outlined below;
- Evel Meditation - Allows Pokemon that evolve via reaching a Level to evolve as long as they are at that minimum Level - 30 Minutes
- This method is also used for Pokemon that need to know a certain move as long as they have that move in their moveset at the time
- Pahi Meditation - Allows Pokemon that evolve via Happiness to evolve as long as their Happiness is above or below the threshold specified - 45 Minutes
- Sunne Meditation - Allows Pokemon that evolve during the Day to evolve as long as any other requirements are fulfilled, can be done at night - 1 Hour
- Moone Meditation - Allows Pokemon that evolve during the Night to evolve as long as any other requirements are fulfilled, can be done during the day - 1 Hour
- Tson Meditation - Allows Pokemon that evolve via Evolutionary Stones to evolve without needing the stone - 2 Hours
- Derat Meditation - Allows Pokemon that evolve via Trade to evolve without trading although does require them to be holding the specific item if necessary - 30 Minutes
- Locale Meditation - Allows Pokemon that evolve via Specific Locations to evolve without being in said locations, for Eevee the player will be asked if they want the Verdant or Icy variant - 2 Hours
- Special Meditation - Allows Pokemon that evolve via unique methods to evolve as long as the other parameters of the evolution are satisfied - Time Dependant on Pokemon
- Eevee -> Sylveon, requires 2 Levels of Affection - 15 Minutes
- Mantyke -> Mantine, Remoraid must be registered as Caught - 30 Minutes
- Nincada -> Ninjask + Shedinja, Nincada must be at Lv20 or above - 30 Minutes
- Pancham -> Pangoro, Player must have a Dark-Type on their Team, PC or in Pelago and Pancham must be at Lv32 or above - 15 Minutes
Additionally to these facotrs the Pokemon Inkay and Sliggoo use the Evel Meditation without needing their secondary requirements fulfilled as long as they're at the minimum level. For Burmy the form it is in when the player places it on Isle Vovel will determine which variant of Wormadam it becomes. For Tyrogue the stats of the Tyrogue will determine which Hitmon- it evolves into. The player cannot specify for Wurmple as it is chose based on the hidden personality value.
The other new Isle is Isle Ultra, this location acts as a combination of a location where the player's Ultra Beast Pokemon will congregate as well as an online functionality location. Should the player connect with another player then a CPU of that player's trainer will appear on Isle Ultra and the player can challenge them to a battle if the player wants to, the CPU Player's Pokemon will be the same as their team although will be capped at Lv50 although Pokemon below Lv50 will be the level they are currently at.
As stated above Pokemon Ultra Star includes Battle Modes that were removed from Pokemon Sun/Moon and Pokemon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon, these battle modes have been reintroduced and expanded upon from their original itterations to be more frequent in the story mode to diversify the types of trainers the player will encounter and to also increase the difficulty of the games as a whole. The following battle modes appear in Pokemon Ultra Star through normal gameplay;
- Single Battles
- Double Battles
- Multi Battles
- Triple Battles
- Rotation Battles
- Inverse Battles
- Horde Battles
- Sky Battles
- Battle Royale
Due to refinement in the game engine and optimization for the 3DS in particular the player will find that these battles are more common in this game than in previous games, being comparable to the frequency of Double Battles in Pokemon Emerald.
There are a large variety of Overworld Minigames for the player to participate in Pokemon Ultra Star, some returning from USUM while others are brand new and unique to the game and some even returning from the previous generations seeing new renditions with expanded mechanics.
Ultra Warp Ride
Unlike in the original the Ultra Warp Ride has been altered such that it is now an open-space Mini-Game allowing the player to move about a large 3D environment with Solgaleo, Lunala and/or Necrozma to travel between worlds. Unlike in the original the worlds that are travelled to are no longer dictated by how far the player has travelled instead the area acts more as a hub for the individual worlds which have been expanded upon as a result of this change. The player will also find that they can now fight Wild Pokemon in Ultra Space, these Pokemon are all extremely rare and only found in the Ultra Space between worlds thus making them unique to this location.
The player will find that the Ultra Warp Ride Mini-Game has been retained in a different way with the player able to play a similar variant of the game with Lunala specifically known as Ultra Core Travel, this minigame has the player controlling Lunala with the Analog Stick and flying through Ultra Space at incredibly high speeds the aim being to break the speed of light which will allow the player to receive rare items, along the way the player will find vacuums that can give the player a speed boost and asteroids along with other obstacles which can slow the player down. Unlike Ultra Warp Ride the player also has attacks they can have Lunala perform, Lunala has three attacks it can perform each with different effects; by pressing A, Lunala will use the move Shadow Ball which can knock away smaller obstacles and fired repeatedly can destroy asteroids allowing the player to collect any treasures within. By holding the A button the player is able to charge up an attack and once charged will cause Lunala to unleash Moongeist Beam which will destroy most projectiles in front of the player. The last attack Lunala can use which is performed via the L button is Teleport which will cause Lunala to become invisible for a few seconds allowing the player to avoid any potential obstacles but also preventing Lunala from gaining speed boosts from Vacuums.
The player can pause at any time during the Mini-Game to either pause the game, start over or quit. The player will not receive any treasures they collected in the Mini-Game if they choose to Start Over or Quit however.
This Mini-Game saw a major overhaul in Pokemon Ultra Star, improving on the basic gameplay with new features and difficulties and allowing the player to also use Mantine Surfing as a method of travelling to the unnamed islands similar to Charizard Gliding to find rare Pokemon. The main change to Mantine Surfing was the implementation of a Pause Menu allowing the player to continue, start over or quit. The player is able to select from one of the four difficulties from any of the islands as the player progresses through the game, it's explained that the player is either surfing from one island to another or is surfing around an island for that difficulty. There is also now a fifth option called "Free Surf" which allows the player to surf without the time limit of the other modes and also allows the player to surf towards the unnamed islands.
The player will find that unlike the other modes which have the player limited to a specific space the Free Surf Mode has the player in an open 3D environment similar to the Ultra Warp Ride. The player is able to freely move about in this area and can catch onto various waves to surf on them and score points, unlike the other modes the Free Surf will automatically reward the player with 1 BP for every 10,000pts. they acquire regardless of whether they decide to quit while surfing or by entering one of the unnamed Islands.
There are four difficulty courses the player can select from; Melemele Dawn Wave, Akala Noontide, Ula'Ula Dusk Wave & Poni Midnight Tide. The player will have to deal with a variety of obstacles in each diffiuclty, some obstacles only appear in the higher difficulties and others become more prevalent as well. Obstacles also come in different formations that the mini-game will cycle through at random. The player also now has a brief period of invulnerability after landing from tricks successfully such that they can't be blind-sided by an obstacle they couldn't see. This period of invulnerability also applies to the time after the player resurfaces if they fail a landing.
The list of obstacles that appear in Mantine Surfing is below;
- Tentacool - Appearing above the water, they're stationary and only pose as a physical obstacle to the player.
- Pyukumuku Rock - Exclusively appearing on the opposite side to the wave, they generally pose little threat.
- Staryu Rock - A variant of Pyukumuku Rock that always appears half-way through the course to let the player know that they're halfway through the course.
- Wailmer - Dwelling underwater this obstacle is harder to see than Tentacool but doesn't move either.
- Sharpedo - A moving enemy that will try to target the player and Mantine, the player must keep turning to keep out of their reach.
- Wailord - The largest obstacle the player could face in this mini-game, Wailords erupt from the wave itself from time to time, they're best avoided by jumping into the air or going down to the lowest point.
The Photography Mini-Game in Pokemon Ultra Star was altered from the original combining both the Wild Pokemon Photography and the Group Photo minigames together into a single Mini-Game. At any time the player is able to fire up the Rotom Photography Feature allowing the player to take a Pokemon of the player on the Route either by themselves, with one Pokemon or with their entire team. The player will also be able to swap to Search Mode on the fly.
Search Mode allows the player to look around the area they're currently in for Pokemon to take a picture of. Similar to Rotom itself mentioned above taking a picture of these Pokemon will register the Pokemon in the dex as seen, this is useful on Routes as rare Pokemon are more common in Search Mode on the Photography Feature than they are being found in the wild itself. The player will also find that the Photography Feature now comes with several features that can be unlocked by taking lots of photos some of these features allow certain Pokemon to be seen by the Photo Album while others give the player new backgrounds and effects they can add to photos.
Returning from Pokemon HeartGold & SoulSilver, the Pokeathlon Tournament is a Post-Game Mini-Game competition the player can compete in to earn BP and also to provide the player with more mini-games to play during the post-game. Like in its original incarnation the Pokeathlon Tournament has the player compete in a series of mini-games that revolve around five stats that are similar to the six base stats; Speed, Power, Skill, Stamina & Jump. The player will find that a Pokemon's Pokeathlon Stats are generally unrelated to their Battling Stats with them instead generally reflecting the Pokemon itself.
A Pokemon's Pokeathlon Stats will have a Minimum and a Maximum which is represented by 5 Stars, unlike in the previous iteration these stars are split up into 5 sections as well meaning a Pokemon's score in a particular Stat is actually out of 25 instead of 5. Pokemon have The Upper Limit to their Stats and the Lower Limit to their Stats which determine how good or bad a Pokemon can be in said stats, initially all Pokemon the player has will start out at their minimums but can be increased to a determined maximum, the maximum the player can have on a Pokemon is not equal to the maximum for all five stats and is instead a separate number known as their Cap Value. For Evolved Pokemon this number is usually higher. This allows the player to customize their Pokemon for particular Stats with full control unlike in the previous version where there was a random element to it.
In addition the player can reset a Pokemon's Stats back to their minimum by talking to an Elder Psychic Trainer in the Pokeathlon Oval who will offer to reset the player's stats on their Pokemon giving the player a drink of the highest stat (or randomly picked from the Pokemon's highest stats) of that Pokemon. The player will be able to create Drinks by using Berries or buying them from Vendors at the Pokeathlon Oval, the quality of the drinks from the vendors is set however there are drinks of higher quality that the player can create on their own, drinks are able to increase a Pokemon's Pokeathlon Stats by 1-5 Values and depending on the Berries used can raise multiple Pokeathlon Stats simultaneously.
To open the Pokeathlon Events however the player must first complete the Main Story, after doing this they can at any time visit the Pokeathlon Oval and will find an elderly man named Magnus who resides on the Oval with his Pokemon, Poliwrath and Politoed. After talking to the player he explains that he'd like to bring back the Pokeathlon events to the Alola region, vaguely admitting that the sport fell out of favour in Johto and that he's desperate for a new location. Magnus sends the player to seek to get permission from the Trainer School which also leads to the player needing to talk to Hala and Ilima's Father to get permission, after the player's deal with them the Pokeathlon Oval will be open and the player will be able to compete in the Preliminary Events, Magnus explains that these events are to show the player how to play the Pokeathlon events and also act as a good way to advertise to the younger demographic since most are unfamiliar with the sport. After the player competes in the Preliminary Events and scores first (Preliminary Events are comprised of Hurdle Dash, Relay Run & Circle Push) Magnus will inform the player that the word is out about the Pokeathlon and he's now hoping to attract some big names, Magnus assigns the player the role as his personal assistant and explains that he needs the player to go across Alola looking for people who might be interested in Pokeathlon and to spread the word.
The player simply needs to walk across Alola and talk to various NPCs and will have the option to mention Pokeathlon to them, NPCs have different responses although the responses the player will be looking for will be ones that show the NPC is interested in Pokeathlon. After the player has found at least 25 NPCs that are interested in Pokeathlon they'll be able to return to Magnus who'll thank the player stating that the allure of Pokeathlon seems to have created a frenzy across the Alola Region and local tournaments have opened up on the other islands, Magnus informs the player that with this he'll be able to keep the Pokeathlon alive and thriving for years to come and thanks the player by giving them a Golden Pokeathlon Drink which will boost a Pokemon's Pokeathlon Stats by 5 Points each, as well as a Big Nugget. Magnus then tells the player that he's heard that there are special individuals across Alola who know a thing or two about Pokeathlon and the player may be interested in finding them and challenging them to the Pokeathlon Tournaments.
The player can travel across Alola and will find 10 NPCs across the Four Islands who declare themselves to be experts at a particular sport in the Pokeathlon Tournament, the player can offer to challenge them at the Pokeathlon Tournament and they'll accept as long as the player has completed a particular Pokeathlon Tournament round, this Round will depend on the Sport in particular as well as which island the NPC is located on. Melemele Island holds the Beginner and Master Tournament Rounds, Akala Island holds the Amateur Tournament Rounds, Ula'Ula Island holds the Experienced Tournament Rounds and Poni Island holds the Expert Tournament Rounds. After the player has completed the Master Tournament Rounds for all five Stats they'll be able to talk to Magnus in his office where he'll congratulate the player on becoming Alola's greatest Pokeathlon Athlete and will give the player's Pokemon that have completed the Master Tournament Rounds Ribbons.
Returning after their absence in the previous three generations, Pokemon Contests were heavily revamped in Pokemon Ultra Star only vaguely resembling the original incarnation and practically unrecognizable from their Generation 4 counterpart. Pokemon Contests are effectively converted into Rhythm based Mini-games that the player can compete, these contests are more action-focused with players whose sharp eye and quick reaction are rewarded as well as players who can keep the tempo and rhythm of the music.
Contests are split into three sections; Display, Performance & Action. Each section will reward a Pokemon with points which not only act as the score for that Contest but also are converted into Experience making this the first Pokemon Contests where the player's Pokemon can level up, learn new moves and even evolve during the Contest. As with the generation three incarnations the player also is able to create items that will boost their Pokemon's Contest Stats; Coolness, Toughness, Cuteness, Studiousness & Beauty.
The items used to boost these stats are known as Contest Vitamins and Contest Malasadas. Contest Vitamins much like Battle Vitamins are able to boost a Pokemon's contest stats and are bought instead of created, they cost the same as Battle Vitamins and boost a Pokemon's Happiness like Battle Vitamins do. Contest Malasadas are Pokemon Ultra Star's rendition of the Pokeblocks, these special Malasadas stand out thansk to their unique colouring as a result of the berries used to create them, the player can select up to 6 Berries to insert into a Contest Malasada, two for each section of the Malasada; Dough, Filling & Coating. The player must play small minigames of rolling the dough, mixing the filling and creating the coating shavings to create the Malasada, the better the player performs at these minigames the higher quality the Malasada will be, the flavour of the Malasada will also correspond to the Berries used meaning stronger berries will also help increase the quality of the Malasada. Unlike Pokeblocks Malasadas aren't split into groups and instead each Malasada has its own information about which contest stats and by how much it will increase them by if consumed. Contest Malasadas and Contest Vitamins can only be used a certain number of times on a Pokemon before they won't accept any more, when a Pokemon levels up in a contest its battling Stats will still increase but by less than through battling, instead its corresponding contest stats which are determined by the Pokemon's Base Stats and its Nature will increase more dramatically (it should be noted that simply battling also increases Contest Stats but not by the same margin).
The first of the three sections of a Contest, Display requires the player dress their Pokemon up, unlike in previous games the dress-up items are no longer items that are specifically made for the minigame but instead are items from the player's bag, Pokemon can wear a wide variety of items even including some less than conventional ones, like in the Generation 4 & 5 dressing-up minigame certain items can only be applied to certain sections of a Pokemon, unlike those games however the order is reversed as the player picks a section of the Pokemon's body and the menu for items to choose from is then shown with the ones that can be applied to that section with previews for each item.
The next phase of this section comes in the actual display itself, the player's Pokemon along with its competitors parade around the stage, during this time the player takes direct control of their Pokemon, depending on a Pokemon's body style they will be able to perform certain tricks which can wow the audience, different tricks are also dependant on the Contest theme meaning that different body styles benefit from different contest themes. The player must endeavour to time their tricks in sync with the music and also keep in mind the locations of obstacles on the stage that the player must make their Pokemon jump over, some Pokemon this is easy for them to do and can be ignored such as most Serpentine Pokemon, Floating Pokemon and of course, Diglett and Dugtrio.
The second of the sections of Contests, Performances have the Pokemon performing something, said thing can be chosen from three options per Type, meaning players with Pokemon with more varied movesets will have more options to use. Performances are done simultaneously and the intention is that the player must garner the most attention, this is done by stealing the spotlight from other players by performing an action that counters the action they're performing, similar to Pokemon battling itself these match-ups work in a sort of rock-paper-scissors, although there are only five so it's easy to remember which action counters which. Alongside this the player needs to keep track of the music pressing button inputs that correspond to the music.
The Button inputs vary according to the song as well as the difficulty the player is on, higher difficulties have more complex songs and utilize more buttons, making it more difficult for the player. Being able to maintain the spotlight for a long period of time will result in the player getting a score multiplier, the score multiplier does not reset during a performance and will gradually tick upwards as long as the player's got the spotlight on them. To impact how the effectiveness of spotlight stealing is, the player's performance routine will impact the speed at which different actions are performed leaving the player vulnerable to being upstaged while performing certain actions or able to more quickly avoid being upstaged with others.
If a Pokemon performs an action that has a poor reaction to the action the spotlight Pokemon is performing then they will stumble, resulting in a penalty to the player's overall score for that section.
The last of the sections for Contests, Action is most similar to the Hoenn incarnation of Contests with the player needing to have their Pokemon perform moves on stage. Unlike the Hoenn rendition however a Pokemon performs these moves in real time with cooldowns which are determined by the PP of that move (note: PP Ups do reduce cooldown). The player is able to move their Pokemon around and must jump over obstacles at the same time to garner attention and use moves either to impress the audience or stun the opposing Pokemon, moves have varying effects making some more useful in certain circumstances while others are useful in other ways, as with the previous generations moves are also categorized by their Contest Stat which is independent from their Typing.
The player will need to perform during the Action Phase for two minutes, there is a special end bonus to the character who's Pokemon has drawn the attention of the crowd when the timer runs out. Other bonuses are given afterwards;
- Most Moves - Awarded to the Pokemon who performs the most moves in two minutes
- Greatest Mobility - Awarded based on the cumulative sum of distance travelled and jumps performed by a Pokemon
- Master Stunner - Awarded for stunning opponent Pokemon the most
Storyline Changes from USUM
There have been a number of changes between USUM and Ultra Star as due to the lack of distinction in the story from SM and USUM it was felt to be one of the weakest aspects of the games as a whole. The storyline changes vary from minor changes that impact only a single scene or minor character to major changes that recontextualize the story and alter the path of progression the player takes.
Unlike in the original the player isn't travelling to the Alola Region but instead has been a resident since birth. The player's journey begins with a letter from Professor Kukui outlining that he'd like the player to meet at their lab since he has a surprise for them, the camera is shown from a first-person view as the player gets out of bed, walking over to the mirror in their room where the player picks out the character's gender, skin tone, eye colour and starting clothes, the mirror then shows the character's image back to the player asking if this is the choices were correct.
Once the player says yes they'll hear their mother call out to the player and the player will grab their bag and head out, greeted by their pet Meowth who in this game is an Ula'Ula Island Alolan Meowth and then shortly followed by the player's mother who informs the player that they should head off to Professor Kukui's lab to see him about that letter. The player heads outside and regardless of the internal clock this scene will take place during the morning with the player opening the door to be greeted by Hau and Lillie as well as a flock of Wingull's flying off from the roof of Professor Kukui's Lab along with a Pelipper in tow.
Hau and Lillie then greet the player, Hau asking if the player got a letter as well. The player replies to Hau's quire telling him that they did receive a letter as well. Hau then tells the player that he'll meet them at the Lab and Lillie asks the player if they've figured out what the surprise is, the player can answer yes or no resulting in Lillie other wondering if the player really knows what the surprise is or her stating that the player won't regret it being a surprise. Lillie heads off and the player is allowed to explore the Outskirts until they're ready to head to the Lab, the player can't leave to any of the surrounding areas as several Professor's Aides warn the player that it's dangerous to head out into Tall Grass without some form of protection.
Once the player enters the lab they will abruptly be greeted by Kukui's Rockruff who the player pets before it runs off as Kukui approaches the player, informing them that everything's ready and they should come up to the second floor. Professor Kukui walks over to a nearby ladder for the player to climb and the player heads up finding Hau and Lillie standing in front of a large desk with several Pokeballs on it. Lillie informs the player and Hau that the Pokeballs contain a Pokemon each which Professor Kukui had brought in by his aides for Hau and the player, she then calls out to Professor Kukui if that was correct to which Kukui tells Lillie that she's doing fine and to keep going. Lillie laughs off her nervousness and continues informing the player and Hau of what each Pokeball contains, Hau then tells the player that he's going to have to think over his choice and wants the player to make the first choice so it'll be easier for him.
The player chooses their starter Pokemon and Hau chooses the Pokemon with the Type advantage over the player's Pokemon. Lillie then walks over to a desk with a computer that has two devices plugged into it, unplugging both devices she hands them to Hau and the player informing them that they're Pokedexes, encyclopedias which can record the data of different Pokemon, demonstrating by having the player's Pokedex open up showing the entry for the player's starter. Lillie then hears some boxes rustling from behind the desk and goes to investigate finding Nebby, a Cosmog that Lillie has had with her since she was very young hiding among the boxes. Lillie asks Nebby if it was hoping to meet the player and Hau's Pokemon as well, Nebby happily replies and Lillie brings the Cosmog over to the player and Hau, asking them to each record Nebby into their Pokedexes, the Pokedex does this automatically and Cosmog calls out causing the Pokeballs with Hau and the player's Pokemon to shake as the two Pokemon appear from their Pokeballs greeting Nebby.
Hau surprised that his Pokemon got out of its Pokeball all of a sudden ponders that it might be better to keep his starter out of its Pokeball since it'll be his closest teammate, noticing that the player and Hau's starter Pokemon were eyeing each other off Lillie wonders if the Pokemon have a bit of a rivalry, Professor Kukui suddenly interrupts thanking Lillie for handling the Pokemon and Pokedexes stating that he knew she would be able to do fine. Kukui then notices that the player and Hau's Pokemon seem to have a bit of a rivalry and proposes that the player and Hau have a battle, the player can answer yes or no however Hau will either disagree with the player stating that he doesn't think it's a good idea to have a battle here especially since they hardly know their Pokemon or agrees with the player stating the reason prior for not wanting to battle. Kukui understanding Hau's reasoning agrees that they should give their Pokemon time before they're ready to battle for their trainers, Kukui then tells Hau, Lillie and the player that he'd been speaking to Hau's grandfather, Hala and that he'd like to meet them in Iki Town to the north.
Hau eager to head off thanks Professor Kukui and Lillie for the Pokemon and Pokedex telling the player that they'll battle in Iki Town, running off in a hurry. Lillie suddenly remembers that she forgot to give Hau his map and hands the player theirs and Hau's map apologizing to the player asking if they can deliver the map to Hau, the player accepts and receives the Map, Kukui then interjects stating that the player should also look to capture some Pokemon on the way if Hau's intending for a battle and gives the player 10 Pokeballs informing the player that there's a Trial Guide on Route 1 that can teach the player the basics of Pokemon Battling and Catching if they need it, the player then heads out back to the Hau'Oli Outskirts. The player is free to explore Route 1 and the Hau'Oli Beachside and will find that the path of Hau'Oli Highway is blocked off at the moment due to a sleeping Snorlax that refuses to move.
Iki Town/Conclusion of Introduction
After passing through Route 1 and defeating one of the Iki Outpost's Trial Guides the player makes it to Iki Town where after exploring they enter the Kahuna's house and find Hau talking to Hala, Hala greets the player welcoming them to his home. Hala informs the player that with the player's arrival they're just waiting on Lillie, Hau then notes that he'd been getting to know his Pokemon and asks if the player has done the same for their Pokemon too, if the Player's Pokemon has levelled up then Hau will note that the player seems to already be a bit ahead of him in terms of teamwork with their starter Pokemon. Hala then suggests to Hau that they should have a battle since the player and Hau have both gotten to know their Pokemon a bit, Hau agrees this time and says that it'll be a good way to pass the time before Lillie arrives. The player and Hau head out to the Melemele Arena and battle, Hala heals the player's Pokemon before the battle begins.
After battling regardless of whether the player wins or loses, Lillie arrives noting that she believed the player and Hau's Pokemon weren't quite fighting with their full potential and wonders if they held back because the Starter Pokemon knew each other so well. Hala welcomes Lillie and thanks Hau and the player for waiting, he takes the three of them into the Kahuna's House and introduces the trio to a large crystal that stands behind the Kahuna's seat, Hala tells the trio that the crystal before them is what the Alolan's call a Z-Crystal, stating that long ago said crystals appeared from an unknown origin and they gifted those whose bond with their Pokemon were strong the power to utilize incredibly powerful attacks that helped protect Alola from invasion from enemies over the hundreds of years. Hala then whistles and a young man who Hau exclaims to be his uncle, Oleander, who wonders why Hala called him all of a sudden. Hala explains to Oleander that the player, Hau and Lillie were ready to begin their Island Trials, Oleander, noting the importance of Hala's words suddenly brings out a hammer and chisel and walks over to the Z-Crystal Stone. He then asks the player, Hau and Lillie to show their closest Pokemon, Hau sends out his starter, Lillie sends out Cosmog and the player sends out whichever Pokemon has the highest Happiness and Oleander notes the Pokemon, stating that he can sense the connection between the trio and their Pokemon and begins to chisel three sections of the Z-Crystal breaking off small chunks for Hau, Lillie and the player. Oleander then hands the three fragments to Hala before heading off, wishing the trio luck.
Hala then walks up to the three trainers and grabs from his pocket three medallions and slots each Z-Crystal fragment into a medallion, handing one to Hau, Lillie and the player informing them that across Alola they'll come across many trials that they'll need to overcome if they wish to complete their Island Trial, and notes that for each trial they can complete a piece of their medallions can be filled in by that Trial's captain. Hau grins and thanks Hala for the medallion telling Lillie and the player that he's going to get a headstart and hopes they can catch up to him, before Hala can stop him Hau runs out the door and heads off, Hala slightly annoyed at Hau's impatience apologizes to the player and Lillie stating that Hau had heard the Island Trial's conditions before so many times he's basically got them memorized to heart. Hala then informs the player and Lillie that each island has Trial Captains for various trials and they will need to complete each mandatory trial on an island before challenging the Kahuna of that island, referring to himself as an example. He notes that even if they fail to complete a trial the first time they can try again if they keep training their Pokemon.
Hala, Lillie and the player then head out of the Kahuna's House with Hala planning to see them off, although Kukui appears just as they exit greeting them and stating that he'd bumped into Hau on the way and needed to see the player and Lillie as well stating that the other half of their Pokedexes had arrived, Lillie a bit perplexed by this asks what Professor Kukui means to which Kukui reveals a pair of Rotoms, explaining that thanks to one of his colleagues the Pokedexes he'd given the player, Hau and Lillie are actually able to be integrated by a Rotom to provide them with useful information about various locations as well as the Pokemon that inhabit those locations. The Rotom's quickly jump into the Pokedexes becoming Rotomdexes in the process. Kukui informs the player and Lillie that the Rotoms should help them if they're ever looking for a certain Pokemon, Hala intrigued by the Rotoms asks one where he could find a Yungoos or Rattata (depending on the time of day), the player's Rotomdex promptly responds stating that they can be found nearby on Route 1. Hala laughs, stating that he's surprised the Rotomdex couldtalk and tells the player and Lillie that they should have no trouble with a useful device like the Rotomdex on their side and wishes them well heading back into the Kahuna's house. Kukui informs the player and Lillie that he'll be at his lab if they ever need any help and wishes them luck. Lillie then tells the player that she's going to get going as well because she knows a place where she can make use of the information she's learnt about Pokemon informing the player of the Pokemon Trainer School and suggests the player visit it.
After Lillie heads off the player is free to explore how they want, the Snorlax from earlier will have moved out of the way and the player will be able to explore the entirety of Melemele Island bar the use of Ride Pokemon.
Ride Pokemon & Ilima
While the player is exploring Melemele Island they'll eventually come across Ilima, he appears in one of four locations across Melemele Island, either in his house at Hau'Oli City, at the Pokemon Trainer School, at the Route 2 Pokemon Center or at the top of the Mahalo Trail. Once the player meets Ilima in one of these locations he'll introduce himself to the player, noticing their Trial Medallion and asks the player if they're taking on the Island Trials, the player says yes and Ilima nods stating that he's one of the Trial Captains and asks the player what they know about Melemele Island.
The player will have different options depending on where they've gone on Melemele Island, the player will need to tell Ilima about three locations they've visited there are several locations the player can visit however so it's up to the player to find the applicable ones although won't need to visit all of them, the list of locations is below;
- Pokemon Trainer School - Defeat all the Trainers in the Trainer School and battle the Teacher
- Port Hau'Oli - Defeat the Team Skull Grunts in the Port Hau'Oli Visitor Center and talk to the Clerk at the Counter
- Berry Fields - Defeat the Team Skull Grunts in the Berry Fields and talk to the Berry Fields Farmer
- Big Wave Beach - Defeat the Team Skull Grunts at Big Wave Beach and talk to the Swimmer about Mantine Surfing
- Melemele Meadow - Go to Melemele Meadow and collect Yellow Nectar in the Field
Once the player has completed three of these tasks Ilima will acknowledge the player's knowledge of Melemele Island and asks them to complete a task for him before he permits them to take on his trial, Ilima asks the player for their map and marks on the map the Mountain of Conflict informing the player that if they can head to the Mountain of Conflict and talk to Hala when they get there receiving an item from him then he'll acknowledge the player's worth and allow them to take on the trial. The player accepts and heads off.
The player eventually makes it to the Trial of Conflict, passing through the Mahalo Trail to get there, upon arriving at the Bridge of Storms the player will run into Hau who's curious if the player's also off to see his grandfather, the player replies and Hau wishes the player luck noting that he's already got Hala's gift and is going to take on the trial, although just as he's about to run off Hau pauses and asks the player how ready they think they are for the island trials, if the player responds with confidence Hau will dismiss the player stating that they shouldn't be so confident as the Trials of Alola have been refined over thousands of years and will wear the player's confidence down if they're not prepared, if the player answers more cautiously then Hau will question if the player should really be taking the trial if they're not confident enough in their capabilities.
Hau then blocks the player from progressing to the Mountain of Conflict and demands a battle from the player, the Player has no choice but to accept Hau's challenge and the battle commences. Once the player is able to defeat Hau he'll acknowledge his loss but warns the player that his trust in his Pokemon goes further than the player's and that will be his key to victory next time. Hau runs off allowing the player to continue up to the Mountain of Conflict, once the player arrives they'll find two Trial Guides preventing the player from entering the Mountain itself but will find Hala outside along with a Tauros by his side, he greets the player and asks the palyer if Ilima sent them, the player says yes and Hala notes that the gift he is to give to the player is the very Tauros next to him, patting the Tauros of its back he notes that unlike other regions Alola uses specific Pokemon that are bred to excel in certain tasks instead of Hidden Machines, noting that its safer for everyone since the Pokemon are bred to be passive and lack the urge to battle that Wild Pokemon often do. The player is then given the Ride Pager and Hala asks the player what Ride Gear they want, the player can choose from five ride gear designs;
- Rowlet Gear - Designed after the Rowlet line, it includes a small cape that has its design based on the wing of a Decidueye
- Litten Gear - Desigend after the Litten line, it features a large crest on the helmet that's identical to that of Incineroar
- Popplio Gear - Designed after the Popplio line, it features frills at the joints of the gear that are similar to those of Primarina
- Pikachu Gear - Designed after the Pikachu line, it features two pointy ears that have black tips to them much like Pikachu
- Tauros Gear - Designed after the Pokemon, Tauros, this gear has two horns protruding from the helmet and three metallic plates on the helmet as well, like Tauros
Hala then hands the player a special Pokeball called a Ride Ball that they can keep Tauros in, pressing the Ride Ball against Tauros sends it into the ball and Hala hands it to the player who slots it into the Ride Pager. Hala informs the player that as they collect more Ride Pokemon they can talk to the tailor in Iki Town about changing up their Ride Gear should the player so desire, Hala then heads off leaving the player to head back to Ilima to begin their Trial.
Once the player is ready to take on Ilima's Trial they can talk to him at Verdant Cavern, Ilima will explain that he'd just been talking to Hau who'd already completed his trial and asks the player if Hau told them anything about the trial, the player says no and Ilima laughs it off, saying that he figured Hau's competitive nature wouldn't let him give the player an advantage. Ilima brings the player over to the Verdant Cavern entrance however just as they're about to enter a pair of Team Skull Grunts appear, the Team Skull Grunts will accuse Ilima of messing with their Pokemon and order Ilima to hand his Pokemon over, however Ilima disregards the Team Skull Grunts asking the player to team up with him to deal with them, the player agrees and the player and Ilima engage the Team Skull Grunts in a Multi Battle.
After defeating the Team Skull Grunts, they run off warning Ilima that he can't protect Melemele Island by himself, after the Team Skull grunts run off Ilima approaches the player and apologizes to the player stating that he's been seeing more Team Skull around Melemele Island as of late, dismissing the issue however Ilima takes the player into Verdant Cavern where the player sees the giant cavern is actually a crater with a forest growing all around the walls of the cavern and various gigantic trees with massive berries nestled on their branches. At the bottom of the cavern is a large blue-ish mass that seems to be moving slightly.
Ilima explains to the player that across the Trial Grounds of Alola the player will have to face an incredibly powerful Pokemon at the end of the trial, pointing to the mass at the bottom of the cavern stating that to be the Totem Pokemon of Verdant Cavern. Ilima then directs the player over to a nearby giant berry and explains that the Pokemon below feeds on the massive berries and that the player will need to use them to awaken the Pokemon pointing the player to several logs sticking out from the cavern's walls where the player could roll the berries onto. It's up to the player to figure out the puzzle of the dungeon. The player must use Tauros to ram into the berries which sends them flying, due to the nature of Tauros' charge the player must use swinging door panels to stop the berries allowing the player to push the berry towards any of the logs, the logs have roots sticking out of the end of them that will stop the berry in place once the player lands the berry on the log however the log will snap under their weight causing it to fall down to the sleeping Totem Pokemon. After doing this three times the Totem Pokemon in a fit of rage will awaken, climbing up the cavern's walls to approach the player, as the Pokemon approaches the player standing up fully blocking out the sun from the player, Ilima stands in front of the Totem Pokemon and reintroduces himself as the Trial Captain of the Verdant Cavern and declares that his Totem Pokemon and his own Pokemon will best the player in battle before initiating the Totem Battle.
Hala's Grand Trial
After completing Ilima's Trial, the player is congratulated on their success and is presented with the Crater Mark which slots into one of the slots around the player's medallion, Ilima informs the player that the marks are representative of the player's success in completing a Trial and they'll need to collect the other 7 major marks across the Alola Region. Ilima directs the player out of Verdant Cavern and back onto Route 3 where they find Lillie waiting for them, Lillie informs Ilima that she's ready to take her Trial to which Ilima laughs noting that he hopes she puts up a good fight as he reckons the Totem Pokemon's already gone back to start recovering from the player's trial.
Ilima then informs the player that they should go talk to Hala about the Grand Trial and sets off with Lillie into Verdant Cavern, leaving the player to explore on their own. The player returns to Iki Town to find Hala isn't present and talks to Oleander who informs the player that Hala's currently off on a personal training exercise and they'll need to ring the Iki Town Bell to call him back. The player is then informed by Oleander that the bells can only be rung with the Hammers made from shards of meteorites and informs the player they'll need to gather the elders across Melemele Island to do so.
The player is informed by Oleander that there are three Elders the player will need to find, one in Seaward Cave, one in Ten Carat Hill and one on Big Wave Beach, each of whom the player will need to convince to ring the bells. The player accepts this requirement and heads off, the player is free to approach any of the elders in any order and can talk to Oleander to receive hints about each elder's demands. While the player is exploring as they head out from Iki Town they're confronted by two strange looking individuals, dressed in attire that clearly isn't from Alola, the two approach the player introducing themselves as Dulse and Zossie, the two comment that they'd heard the player was going to be starting their Grand Trial soon and were interested in watching such an even and wanted to talk to the player before hand. Dulse explains that they work for a group known as the Ultra Recon Squad, an organization that helps monitor the presence of Ultra Wormholes in the Alola Region, Zossie pipes up and informs the player that on their travels they've found two types of wormholes, Stable Wormholes and Temporary Wormholes, noting that the latter are much more frequent but as their name suggests can only exist for a little while. Zossie then pauses and turns to face Dulse asking him if they're going to do the thing yet, Dulse a bit taken aback by Zossie's confrontational attitude tells her that they can't just request a battle here. Zossie then tells Dulse that he's being too nervous, Zossie then tells the player that they want to battle the player to see what a trial-goer is made of and Zossie initiates her battle against the player. After the player defeats Zossie, she thanks the player for the battle healing their Pokemon, Zossie then pushes Dulse to where she was standing and tells the player that its Dulse's turn now and to not hold anything back just because he's a wimp, Dulse argues back at Zossie telling her that he can handle himself and politely declares a battle against the player.
After the player defeats Zossie and Dulse they thank the player for the battle with Dulse acknowledging that the player's Pokemon seem to have a great deal of trust in the player wondering if it's naivety or genuine. Zossie then tells off Dulse stating that he's over analyzing things again and wishes the player luck on their Grand Trial telling them that they'll be cheering them on and Dulse and Zossie head off allowing the player to begin their search for the Elders.
The player can find the first Elder in Seaward Cave, by navigating along Route 3, the Elder located in Seaward Cave is inspecting the Ultra Wormhole in the cave and greets the player upon their arrival. The player will also find a number of Aether Foundation members here who'll be able to inform the player about the Ultra Wormhole and what it appears to be doing, the player can talk to the Elder to learn that he's been tasked with checking on the Ultra Wormhole to ensure it doesn't cause problems for Melemele Island, the player can then ask him to come to Iki Town in which the Elder will ponder on the request however will initially reject the player explaining that his duty in Seaward Cave has yet to be completed and he needs to fully understand the nature of the wormhole. To complete this Elder's demands the player must head out to Kala'e Bay where they'll find an unusual whirlpool surrounded by rocks, the player can talk to an Aether Foundation Employee on the beachside who'll ask the player what they think causes whirlpools with several options to answer, regardless of whether the player picks correctly or not the employee will explain what causes whirlpools but notes that the conditions in Kala'e Bay simply wouldn't cause the whirlpool to appear and notes that there is another reason for the whirlpool, stating plainly that it is caused by an Ultra Wormhole located underwater.
With this knowledge in hand, the Employee throws a bright red object into the path of the whirlpool and asks the player to go check on the Ultra Wormhole in Seaward Cave as he suspects there is a correlation between the two wormholes. The player returns to Seaward Cave however is stopped by a group of Team Skull Grunts who attempt to block the player and the Aether Foundation claiming that they are laying claim to Seaward Cave and are taking all the resources from the Aether Outpost in the cave. The player teams up with the Elder to take down the Team Skull Grunts.
After dealing with the Team Skull Grunts they run off, frustrated at their inability to defeat the player and the elder. After they run off the Aether Foundation Employees thank the player and the Elder also thanks the player although notes that he cannot return yet. The player heads over to the Ultra Wormhole and looking closely will see the red object that the Aether Employee at Kala'e Bay threw through the other Ultra Wormhole, picking up the item the player brings it to the Aether Foundation Employee back on Kala'e Bay and shows it to them. The Employee, surprised that the player has the object declares that this proves the connection between the Ultra Wormholes and summarises to the player that in another world the two wormholes flow in the opposite direction hence creating an infinite loop, the Employee also notes that unfortunately while they'd love to explore the Ultra Wormhole themselves they know that the wormholes cannot be entered by people without the correct form of protection due to an unusual energy, although halts their speech stating that it's nothing the player needs to worry themselves with and thanks the player telling the player that they're going to tell the Elder about their findings.
After the Employee heads off the player heads back to Seaward Cave again and talks to the Elder who confirms that the Aether Foundation Employee informed them of the discovery and thanks the player for helping out, noting that normally Elders have to test trainers in battle although he's isn't the one who needs to test the player noting that he'd battled Hala's Grandson, Hau earlier.
The player heads off to find the next Elder, stated to have been located at Big Wave Beach. As the player arrives they witness the elder training alongside a Black Belt, and takes the Black Belt down in front of a class of other Black Belts, dismissing the class to training after finishing the session. The player walks up to the Elder who greets the player asking if they're here to train alongside the other Black Belts, mistaking the player as one, after noting that the player isn't dressed the part he figures that the player must be here because the Kahuna's gone off somewhere. The Elder then notices the player's Crater Mark and states quietly that it was actually the mark that got Oleander to send the player to meet him, the Elder laughs off what he said and regains his composure stating to the player that he'll return to Iki Town on one condition.
The Elder notions to the player the Black Belts that are training and informs the player that while they're all good at training he knows they're not the best at Pokemon Battling and requests the player solve the issue with the Black Belts noting that most of them will probably just want to prove their worth and the player will just have to defeat them in battle to prove the player's strength to them. The Elder wishes the player luck in completing this and tells the player that once all the Black Belts at Big Wave Beach understand the importance of training then he'll return to Iki Town.
The player will find that while several Black Belts want to battle the player others have other tasks for the player to complete instead. One Black Belt, by the name of Alexander requests the player go and find a Crabrawler with the move Ice Punch this can be difficult as at this point in the game the player doesn't have access to the Move Tutor on Akala Island for that move, however what this instead teaches the player is the returning DexNav Feature in Ultra Star, as the player will need to use the DexNav Upgrade which they can acquire from a Pokemon Research Representative on Big Wave Beach after completing Ilima's Trial. Once the player has shown the Black Belt such a Crabrawler he'll thank the player. Two other Black Belts will also request the player complete missions for them are the twins Jacob and Jaxon who want to prove their worth by conquering Pyukumuku Island, the player can accept helping them for which the player will be transported to the Island where the brothers will team up with the player as the trio must climb up the Island defeating the wild Pyukumuku that reside on the island. Reaching the top the duo thank the player bringing the player back to Big Wave Beach.
After the player has completed all the requirements of the different Black Belts they'll be able to talk to the Elder who thanks the player for dealing with the qualms of each of his students explaining that in the past he trained directly alongside Hala along with the other elders as no one was sure who was going to be the next Kahuna following Hala's predecessor so both Hau'Oli City and Iki Town sent off their best to train on the Mountain of Conflict, however after a year of training only about a half dozen of those who initially went there to represent their homes to Tapu Koko were left. He tells the player that he'll head to Iki Town soon and should be ready to ring the bell once he's met up with another Trial-goer aside from the player.
This leaves the player with the third Elder to attend to at Ten Carat Hill. The player will be able to enter the Ten Carat Hill with little trouble and will actually find a Trial Guide waiting outside Ten Carat Hill who tells the player that the Elder is waiting for the player towards the peak of the mountainous area. As the player heads up the mountain they'll eventually find a clearing where the player will find Kahili and the third Elder looking out over the crater of Ten Carat Hill. Kahili hears the player enter the clearing and greets the player asking if they've come to look for the Elder, the player responds with yes and Kahili nods telling the Elder who she refers to as "grandfather" that she's got business to attend to on Akala Island and heads off, she tells the player that once they've completed the Grand Trial they should meet her at Hano City on Akala Island since they'll have proven their worth by then to be let in on some information that most trainers in Alola don't know yet.
Kahili heads off and the Elder explains to the player that in each Grand Trial the Elders must test any participants, explaining that the other elders will have already tested the trainer they were assigned and he is the player's tester. The Elder then asks the player if they're ready to be tested on their skills as a Pokemon Trainer, the player accepts and the battle begins.
Defeating the Elder, he'll thank the player for the battle noting that he's faced many Trial-goers in his lifetime and it's always a pleasant surprise when one can beat him. He informs the player that he'll be heading back to Iki Town but then pauses before leaving, noting to the player that there are more than just the eight main trials of Alola that the player can conquer. This results in one of two lines being said by the Elder, if the player has already beaten the Poison-Type Trial of Melemele Island then the Elder will note that the player's already confronted one of these secret Trials and they should look for each one across the four islands. If the player hasn't beaten the Poison-Type Trial he'll tell the player that among the Regular Trials and Grand Trials there are also Secret Trials that were placed across the island long ago by previous Trial Captains and have remained throughout over the generations with new Pokemon taking the old Totem Pokemon's place over time. He then informs the player that once such trial exists on Ten Carat Hill itself and that the player should look for it if they want an extra challenge. The Elder then heads off allowing the player to either continue looking for the other Elders or return to Iki Town.
After finding and having each of the three Elders, the player can head back to Iki Town where they'll find an Ultra Wormhole open up before them, the player being unable to enter the city is greeted by Dulse and Zossie who explain that their Ultra Wormhole Technology was going haywire and are surprised to find an Ultra Wormhole had opened up, inspecting it, Dulse throws a mysterious object into the Wormhole causing it to close on itself. Zossie informs the player that part of their job as members of the Ultra Recon Squad is to prevent Temporary Ultra Wormholes like that one from staying open as they can accidentally pull matter in. Dulse then turns to face and salute two people exiting Iki Town, the two, dressed similarly to Dulse and Zossie greet the pair asking how they're going. Dulse reports that they'd just dealt with a Temporary Ultra Wormhole although notes that otherwise nothing out of the ordinary seems to have occurred on Melemele Island, the young woman of the pair turns to face the player and introduces herself as Soliera, another member of the Ultra Recon Squad and introduces the player to Phyco, the captain of the Ultra Recon Squad explaining that they'd heard from Zossie and Dulse about the player earlier.
Zossie then exclaims that the player is really tough and might be more powerful than Soliera or even Phyco, Soliera laughs at the remark questioning Dulse if he actually lost to the player, Dulse dismisses Soliera's remark however stating that the player's more powerful than they appear. Soliera, curious about Dulse's claim requests a battle against the player, the player accepting battles Soliera defeating her. Soliera pauses, however, before she can respond to her defeat Phyco interrupts, formally introducing himself to the player, seemingly oblivious to his introduction via Soliera earlier and explains that he'd also like to test the player's battling skill and starts a battle against the player after healing their Pokemon.
After the player defeats Phyco he nods in acknowledgement of his defeat exclaiming that the player must have some natural talent for battling noting that they'd been battling other trainers around Melemele Island and most seemed to just be casually training their Pokemon, as though there was no goal to their training. Phyco then states that he'll have to do some research into this distinction and tells the others that they're leaving, Zossie however argues back, stating that she and Dulse came to cheer the player on for their Grand Trial, Phyco pauses and ponders on Zossie's statement and concludes that he and Soliera will also watch the Grand Trial noting that seeing trainers who've prepared for such an event battle one another will give just as suitable data as going out into the field, the four then head off into town.
Entering to Iki Town the player will find that the Town has various torches and ceremonial totems placed throughout the town to commemorate the beginning of the Grand Trial. The player can find Oleander at the Melemele Arena where upon talking to him he'll ask the player if they're ready to start the Grand Trial, stating that the other competitors have already gathered. Once the player says yes to Oleander, he'll jest to the Elders to the Bells to bring Hala from the Mountain of Conflict. The bells ring out, echoing across Melemele Island where we have a brief cutscene of different characters across Melemele Island listening to the ringing of the bells.
This allows the game to automatically transition to sunset to begin the Grand Trial. The player watches as Oleander greets the guests of the Tournament as well as the Island Kahuna, Hala who is arriving from the Mahalo Trail as Oleander speaks. Oleander explains that enough Trial-goers have proven their worth of Melemele Island and are now worthy to take on the challenge of Hala the Island Kahuna. The scene transitions with the player along with seven other individuals standing atop the Arena in front of Hala, Hala explains to the eight trial-goers that to determine who is worthy to take on the Grand Trial, explaining that they'll be competing in a knock-out match where each trainer is permitted to use three Pokemon for the entire three rounds. Once the player has selected their three Pokemon their first match begins, the player faces off against an Ace Trainer.
Once the player has defeated the Ace Trainer they'll be able to continue onto the next round, in between the first and second round the player talks to the Ace Trainer who acknowledges her defeat and states that she'll have to keep training harder vowing that she'll return to the Arena one day to earn her Grand Trial victory. The player is then confronted by Hau who notes to the player that he'd completed his Grand Trial earlier that day and wanted to see who was competing in the next Grand Trial, he notes that the player shows some skill although warns the player that one of the other competitors in the match-ups may pose a much greater threat to the player and that the player should hope that person gets eliminated before the player has to face them.
After talking to Hau the player's second battle begins where they face off against a Black Belt.
After defeating the Black Belt the player's Pokemon are healed again and the player is confronted by the Black Belt who thanks the player for the battle, stating that he is actually one of the students of the Elder from Big Wave Beach and hoped that by taking on the Grand Trial he'd get to face Hala and test his power of Fighting-Type Pokemon against the Kahuna although notes that his battle against the player has shown him some insight into how battles can play out with different Pokemon and thanks the player for the battle stating that if they're ever up for a rematch they should come to Big Wave Beach. The Black Belt departs and Lillie walks over to greet the player, congratulating their player on their second win stating that they only need to win one more battle before they can face Hala. Before Lillie can continue however she is cut-off mid-sentence by the figure standing at the end of the arena's opposite side, the mysterious blonde-haired character walks towards the player and Lillie, whom the latter cowers behind the player questioning in a panicked voice as to why Gladion (referring to the previously unnamed individual) was on Melemele Island. Gladion shrugs off Lillie's question and asks her why she hasn't reported to Lusamine about Ultra Space on Melemele Island, Lillie attempts to rebuke Gladion stating that she hasn't seen any evidence of Ultra Space disturbances on the island to which Gladion calls her out as a liar exclaiming that while preparing for the Grand Trial he visited Kala'e Bay and witnessed the Whirlpool Ultra Wormhole, stating that had Lillie done her job properly instead of getting distracted she would know that such a well-known Ultra Space disturbance exists on Melemele Island. Gladion then pauses, looking away from Lillie and the player he half-heartedly apologizes to Lillie stating that he shouldn't be getting so worked up over something so irrelevant and informs the player that their battle is up next and they should apologize.
A short period of time passes as Lillie regains her composure apologizing to the player for her acting timidly and exclaims that she's surprised the player didn't flinch stating that she felt like Gladion's intimidating aura was overwhelming, and notes that she wishes she could be more stalwart, heading off she wishes player luck against their battle against Gladion. The player and Gladion now stand facing against each other on the Melemele Arena with Gladion asking the player what they are seeking to gain from completing these trials, as Gladion states this the player is presented with several options however before the player can answer Gladion interrupts the player stating that their reason would only be vapid or pointless and asks the player if they simply take the trials simply for the sake of battling, the player is then presented with a yes or no option. If the player chooses yes then Gladion will acknowledge that he feels the same way and wonders how people can strive to protect Pokemon but also use them in battle acting as though there is never harm brought upon the Pokemon. If the player answers no then Gladion will ponder on the various answers the player was presented with from the previous question noting that there are other means of fulfillment in those ideals than battling. After noting the player's answer Gladion declares that they'll battle for the simple joy of conflict and the battle begins.
After the player defeats Gladion, he admits his defeat and ponders on the player's battling potential stating that they'll have to battle again some day. Heading off, Lillie appears before the player commenting that she's surprised Gladion kept a calm demeanour in the face of defeat, Hala then approaches the player congratulating the player on defeating the tournament of the Grand Trial and tells the player that the second part of the Grand Trial is about to begin asking the player if they're ready for their battle against the Kahuna of Melemele Island. The player may respond with no allowing the player time to train or prepare for the battle, once the player says yes Hala will heal the player's Pokemon and walk to the opposite side of the Melemele Arena taking a battle stance asking the player if they're prepared to see the power of a Kahuna before the battle begins.
Once the player defeats Hala he will acknowledge the player's power and congratulates them on their first victory against a Kahuna stating that the player now only needs to prove their worth to Tapu Koko itself, explaining to the player that they must travel up the Mahalo Trail and reach the peak of the Mountain of Conflict where the player's final part of the Grand Trial is located.
The player makes their way up Mahalo Trail up to the Mountain of Conflict, as the player reaches the Mountain the weather will always become stormy with a constant downpour of rain as the player approaches the mountain. Reaching the base the player is allowed passage into the mountain by the guards standing watch. Hala comes to see the player off on the final challenge of their trial and informs the player they should prepare themselves as Tapu Koko's final trial will pit the player against an opponent more ferocious than the Totem Pokemon the player has faced thus far.
The player makes their way up the Mountain of Conflict, solving the Mountain's puzzles which ask the player to solve puzzles revolving around electricity and strength, often using the two puzzle elements in conjunction with the Ride Pokemon Tauros through the trial's climb. The main puzzle of the mountain is how to open the passage to the peak of the mountain which is sealed by two doors each requiring current to open. Once the player solves the puzzle they can reach the peak where they'll find despite its snowy appearance the peak is currently embroiled in a thunderstorm with the same downpour of rain seen from the base of the mountain.
The player sees Tapu Koko standing in the middle of an arena revealed to be beneath the snow that became visible after the rain washed away the snow. As the player approaches Tapu Koko a cutscene begins where the rain suddenly turns into an intense blizzard as a flash of lightning strikes the peak of the mountain and the outline of a massive Pokemon can be seen atop the Melemele Ruins, the Pokemon jumps down to stand in front of Tapu Koko facing the player revealing to be the Totem Pokemon, Crabominable, the battle begins.
After defeating both the Totem Pokemon, Crabominable and the Island Guardian, Tapu Koko, the player's acknowledged by the legendary Island Guardian of Melemele as a worthy trainer and Tapu Koko lets out a bellowing howl that clears the skies as Crabominable and Tapu Koko stand next to the entrance of the Melemele Ruins as the door opens from their presence. The player enters the ruins and finds an altar covered in numerous flowers and a giant golden flower growing from a pond of water in the center. Hala enters the ruins shortly after the player informing the player that the golden flower is said to be the gift Tapu Koko gave to Melemele Island, explaining that the ancient Alolan traditions state that each of the Island Guardians came to the islands long ago, blessing the islands with their might through a magical flower that would bring life and fortune to the islands, as time went on the people came to revere the flowers and worshipped the Island Guardians for the good health and good fortune that was brought to them, as such each of the flowers on the four islands is said to be linked to that Island Guardian and that receiving a piece of the flower recognizes once by the Island Guardian as a trusted member of that island.
Tapu Koko then appears before the player in a burst of lightning pausing for a few seconds before walking over to the flower, touching one of the petals as a surge of electricity runs through the flower allowing the petal to seperate without force, Tapu Koko hands the player the flower petal which upon the player touching it, shrinks down from being nearly half the size of the player to being small enough to attach to the player's medallion in the section in the middle. Hala shows the player the section of the medallion where the petal fits by pressing down on the center of the medallion causing it to pop up and then having the player place the petal into a small crevice in the medallion before slotting it back down. Hala then informs the player they should return to Iki Town to inform the people of the player's success.
The scene transitions to the player and Hala returning to Iki Town where a crowd of people have gathered, Hala raises the player's arm up declaring him victorious in the Grand Trial which causes the crowd of people to cheer for the player, Hala informs the player that they should look into heading to Akala Island as their next destination as there are a number of trials there that can help the player train further. The player has two choices on how to get to Akala Island, the first is by talking to Mr. Briney who some NPCs will mention they'd seen around the Hau'Oli Port as of late, talking to him he'll offer to give the player a lift to Akala Island noting that his Grandfather did a similar thing back in the Hoenn Region, the other option for the player is to head to Big Wave Beach, here the player can meet the Trial Captain, Lana, rather early on. Lana introduces herself to the player and notices the player's Petal of Conflict stating that the player must have some skill to have conquered the Grand Trial of Melemele Island and asks the player if they're planning on going to Akala Island, the player can respond with yes or no, if the player responds with yes then Lana will ask the player if they were thinking about going on Mantine Surfing between the islands, the player can respond yes again to which she'll note that usually the Mantine Surfing Association doesn't allow riders to travel from one island to the other unless they have their own Mantine, this leads to Lana informing the player that she happens to work closely with the Association and will give the player a Ride Pokemon Mantine which they can use to Surf between the Islands if the player can prove their skill at the Melemele Island Surf Course. The player can accept this offer and will need to get at least 25,000 points on the course from Big Wave Beach to Kala'e Bay to win the Ride Pokemon Mantine. Once the player is successful in doing this Lana will hand the player the Ride Pokemon Mantine's Ride Ball and marks the Heahea Beach on Akala Island for the player stating that they'll be able to ride to Akala Island now without any issue.
Regardless of which option the player takes, they'll be able to travel to Akala Island, however along the way roughly halfway between the two islands a sudden thunderstorm occurs as an Ultra Wormhole opens up in the middle of the sea, the player will then be initiated into a battle either on Mr. Briney's boat or in the open waters against the mysterious Ultra Beast that appears.
Regardless of whether the player defeats or loses to Nihilego a cutscene will play where Tapu Koko arrives unleashing a powerful thunderbolt at the Nihilego causing it to flee back into the Ultra Wormhole as Tapu Koko uses its power to reseal the Wormhole. The player is shortly then greeted by Lillie aboard a large ship stating that the player should come aboard as the waters are fairly dangerous on a Ride Pokemon or in a small boat (what she says is dependant on what mode of transport the player took). A cutscene then plays where the player will either see the Ride Mantine being looked after by some Aether Employees or Mr. Briney's Boat being tugged along by the Aether Ship. Lillie informs the player that the Pokemon the player had just confronted was one of the Ultra Beasts and that from time to time they attempt to breach into the Alola Region through force so the Aether Foundation patrol the waters of Alola to keep the Ultra Beasts at bay. She informs the player that she figured the player was heading to Akala Island since she was as well, showing the Petal of Conflict she has on her medallion as well noting that Hala had told her it would be a good area to go to next out of the four islands.
The Aether Ship soon arrives at the port on Heahea City and if the player went with Mr. Briney he'll thank Lillie and the Aether Foundation for rescuing his ship and informs the player that he's going to spend some time in Heahea City before heading back to Melemele Island.
Akala Island Introduction
Arriving at Heahea City the player will find that they are free to explore the City as they see fit, the player can go to Heahea Beach where they can find Lana there, the player can go through the same mission as on Big Wave Beach to receive Ride Pokemon Mantine from her here instead, the player will need to go to Heahea Beach before taking on her trial as the Ride Pokemon Mantine is required and the Trial Guide outside of Brooklet Hill will state that he hasn't seen Lana in a while and wonders if she's at one of the beaches on Akala Island. If the player met Lana and got Ride Pokemon Mantine from her on Big Wave Beach they can talk to her on Heahea Beach where she'll note that she's surprised the player decided to come to Akala Island after all, noting that most people usually go to Ula'Ula Island due to the historical locations there over Akala Island.
The player will find that they can effectively explore Heahea City in its entirety and can even go through most of the surrounding area going to Hano City to the East and Konikoni City through Diglett's Tunnel to the South should they want to. The Pokemon and trainers of those areas are much higher levelled than the player will be at that stage of the game however so the player will likely find that they'll end up going up through Route 4 first. The player will find however that the entrance to Ka Halanui City is inaccessible at this time in the game as the gate is closed due to maintenance on it. The player can talk to the workers who explain that they have Passimians helping them out to repair the gate. The player will also find due to the ledges around Akala Island they cannot head North towards Ka Honua Nui Valley leaving the player with their options strictly to the West and South parts of Akala Island.
Before the player can leave Heahea City however they're confronted by Lillie who asks the player how they're finding Akala Island so far, she mentions visiting the Tide Song Hotel and doing some training on the beach noting that the player might want to visit it if they need some training as well. Lillie then pauses, seemingly hesitating on the words to say next, all of a sudden Nebby appears from its Pokeball, calling out and causing the player's starter to appear from their Pokeball, the two glare at one another, Lillie breathing a sigh of relief thanking Nebby and explaining to the player that she wants to battle the player and is making a formal declaration to challenge the player. The player has no choice but to accept the battle and the battle begins.
After the player defeats Lillie she thanks the player for the battle, holding Nebby she declares that she's going to keep training and get stronger and face the player again stating that the player should keep training as well since they've both still got a lot of Trials to complete. Before Lillie heads off however a mysterious figure approaches Lillie, though the individual is unknown their friendly face greets Lillie and the Player asking Lillie if they know the player, Lillie introduces the player to Wicke, explaining that Wicke is one of the Aether Foundation's most important members and is a close friend of Lillie since she was a small child. Wicke asks Lillie how Nebby is going and Nebby happily responds to Wicke, Wicke brings out a Sitrus Berry and hands it to Cosmog who eats it quickly. Wicke then speaks directly to both the Player and Lillie explaining that she was sent by the Aether Foundation to warn Lillie about travelling around Akala Island as there had been reports of dangerous activities by Team Skull in the area and that she should make sure she doesn't get herself or Nebby into situations which could put them in danger. Lillie thanks Wicke for the warning and tells Wicke and the player that she's going to head off to Route 5 since she's heard there's a Trial around there.
As Lillie heads off Wicke approaches the player and thanks them for battling Lillie explaining that Lillie was sheltered by the Aether Foundation and has only recently been able to explore on her own freedom without the watchful eye of her mother, Lusamine keeping her from getting lost. Wicke asks the player to keep conquering the trials and act as a rival to Lillie to help her get stronger, Wicke then hands the player a Sitrus Berry and Iapapa Berry telling the player that she hopes to see them again at some point and heads off leaving the player to explore Akala Island.
As the player doesn't have the necessary marks to take on the Grand Trial they will need to take on Lana's Trial first. To enter the Brooklet Hill however the player must have Ride Pokemon Mantine first, in addition the Trial Guide outside of Brooklet Hill will note that something was going on in Paniola Town and that Lana seems to have gone off there to investigate (this will only be mentioned after the player's gotten Ride Pokemon Mantine). The player will need to head to Paniola Town either via Route 6 and Paniola Ranch or Route 4 and Keikhanai Forest. Once the player makes it to Paniola Town they'll find that part of the town has been overrun with Team Skull Grunts who are attempting to steal a large shipment of Moomoo Milk, the player will find Lana and Hau fighting the Team Skull Grunts with Hau calling out to the player telling them to come help.
After the player, Lana and Hau defeat the nine Grunts they run off as some of the townsfolk of Paniola Town come out from the nearby houses thanking the trio stating Team Skull's threatening attitude and the potential danger of their presence noting that some of the Moomoo Milk was sabotaged by the Team Skull's Pokemon. Lana questions how Team Skull's influence over their Pokemon had gotten so vile mentioning to Hau and the player that only a few years ago Team Skull was nothing more than a public nuisance that posed no threat and had disappeared for a few years before resurfacing as this more antagonistic presence. Lana then heads off thanking Hau and the player for their help stating that she has to get back to Brooklet Hill to ready the area for any Trial-goers. Hau mentions that he's gonna hang around Town for a little while longer and gives the player the TM for Hidden Power mentioning that he got a copy when he was talking to Professor Burnet in Heahea City.
As the player is about to leave Paniola Town, Hau stops the player commenting that he feels they should at least battle on each island to make sure the other is keeping up and declares a battle against the player. The player accepts and the battle ensues. Although Hau had new Pokemon on his team the player was victorious frustrating Hau who mumbles that he's still not ready for the tougher fights of the Alolan Island Trials, surprising himself and the player he quickly thanks them for the battle, then attempts to redact what he'd said noting that his mind was busy with planning his next training regiment and quickly heads off telling the player he'll be expecting a rematch soon.
The player, with nothing keeping them in Paniola Town anymore, heads North towards the Paniola Ranch as for some strange reason a herd of Tauros had come crashing through Route 6 blocking access to Route 5 as Farmers attempt to herd the Wild Bull Pokemon back into the Ranch. Investigating the player will come face to face with a strange Ultra Wormhole in the area, from the Wormhole appear Dulse & Soliera who greet the player, asking how the player's journey across the Alola Region is going they pause briefly as a machine Dulse was carrying begins making strange noises, Dulse presses a few buttons and the machine goes quiet, he explains that they'd been meaning to collect data on Pokemon from Paniola Ranch due to the raw power a Pokemon like Tauros and Miltank supposedly had. Noticing that the two cattle Pokemon weren't around, Soliera in disappointment states that they must've gotten scared by something, before being able to say another word however the two are cut off by a curious, young lady who wanders up to the group and looks over Dulse and Soliera's clothing before stating that they look weird, the girl then goes over to the Ultra Wormhole looking at it asking if it's one of those "Ultra Travelling Rings", Dulse corrects her although the girl seems to just ignore him about to touch it, Soliera quickly intrudes informing her that without proper protection she could be lost into the Ultra Wormhole if she were to fall into it.
The girl pouts declaring herself to be the Trial Captain, Mallow of Akala Island and states that she knows the dangers of the wormholes and just wanted to inspect it. Dismissing the worries of Soliera, Mallow marches over to the player and notices the player's medallion asking if the player's going to be heading to Brooklet Hill to take on Lana's Trial, the player responds and Mallow says that she's not sure if the player would be able to handle Lana's Trial just yet and asks Dulse and Soliera if they have any Pokemon with them, both respond with a yes to which Mallow grins declaring that in order to pass through Paniola Ranch the player must defeat Dulse and Soliera back to back. With no other option the player accepts Mallow's challenge.
After the battle the player is able to defeat both Soliera and Dulse, Mallow declares the player the victor and wonders if the Ultra Recon Squad members were going easy on the player. Somewhat surprised that Mallow knew who they were Dulse asks Mallow how she knows about the Ultra Recon Squad, Mallow replies that her new friend had told her about them and they looked a lot like her, pausing on the thought, Dulse muttered to Soliera that it was probably Zossie chatting to the locals again. Dulse then tells Soliera they should probably get the Ultra Womrhole closed before it causes problems and Soliera agress throwing a device into the Wormhole causing it to close. Mallow, curious by the two Ultra Recon Squad members offers to show them around Akala Island and suggests they could hunt down Ultra Wormholes together, though hesitant, Dulse agrees with Mallow's proposition stating that having someone who knows their way around the island would be best so they don't get lost. Mallow, Soliera and Dulse wish the player luck on their Trial and head off allowing the player to continue.
Lana's Brooklet Hill Trial
Heading up through Paniola Ranch and towards Route 5 the player finds that the road is blocked by a number of Team Skull Grunts, a number of trainers have gathered telling the Team Skull Grunts to move however talking to one of the grunts they reveal that they're going to be setting up a toll on the road and that anyone who wants to contest it can take it up with their superior, all of a sudden however the stranger from the Melemele Grand Trial, Gladion, steps forward from the crowd of trainers, he tells the Team Skull Grunts to leave, however they refuse his demands telling Gladion that he hasn't got the strength to defeat them, Gladion turns and notices the player, ordering the player over he tells the grunts that he and the player will beat every grunt, Gladion tells the player to make sure they've got enough healing items because the grunts won't give them time to heal between battles, once the player's ready the grunts begin attacking the player and Gladion.
Note: Gladion's Pokemon will retain their status between battles meaning if all of Gladion's Pokemon faint the player will need to battle the Grunts in a 2-on-1 match.
After defeating all of the grunts, the captain of the grunts, a striking individual who had a large bright-blue Mohawk and a silver team skull logo painted on their face approached the player and Gladion, declaring that it was time he taught pathetic trainers like them a lesson, without giving the player time to heal the Captain initiates a battle against the player.
Despite having endured now six back-to-back battles, the player comes out victorious against the Team Skull Captain who in utter shock at his lost temporarily loses his composure, staggering backwards from the player's Pokemon. Gladion surprised at the player's ability to best the Team Skull Captain tells the grunts and the captain to get out of here and not cause problems for them again, the grunts flee and the captain begrudgingly retreats stating that Team Skull's got tougher members than him and that the player and Gladion are officially on their watchlist and they should expect to be taken down soon. As the crowd of trainers disperse, Gladion confronts the player thanking them for helping get rid of the Grunts and the captain, he explains that watching the player battle it was obvious that their Pokemon have some passion for battling so at the very least unlike the Team Skull Captain the player's not forcing their Pokemon to battle, commenting that it was pretty obvious that Team Skull's been making Pokemon battle beyond their normal limits.
Gladion tells the player that if they force their Pokemon beyond their natural limits their Pokemon will turn against them and they'll have no one to blame but themselves. Gladion heads off allowing the player to continue heading along Route 5 towards Brooklet Hill. As the player reaches Brooklet Hill they're greeted by Lana who informs the player that for their trial she hopes they've gotten familiar with the Ride Mantine as her Trial will require the player to make use of that Pokemon. Entering Brooklet Hill the player sees that Brooklet Hill is comprised of many large tidal pools that rise and lower with the tide during the day. Lana notes that due to the tides her trial differs depending on when they arrive, she tells the player that this is their last chance to train before the trial begins and the player will forfeit the trial if they back out after this.
Once the player's read Lana declares that the player's trial has started, depending on whether this is the Sunne World or the Moone World will determine what trial the player is going to be competing in as well as the time of day.
Sunne World Trial A - Seven Scales Riddle (Low Tide)
If it is Low Tide then Lana will inform the player that etched into the stone across the Brooklet Hill are riddles that tell of a hidden treasure buried somewhere in Brooklet Hill, the player will need to find that treasure and bring it back to Lana so she can call upon the Totem Pokemon, she informs the player however that as it is low tide they'll need to use the water pumps located along Brooklet Hill to flush water from one tidal pool to another, she informs the player that it won't be a problem for the Pokemon anyhow since they all stay in the bay during low tide. The player must solve the Water Pump Puzzle using Mantine to cross the different bodies of water as well as find a hidden water pump that adds a second body of water into the Tidal Pools to reach each of the riddles, each riddle gives the player a small hint as to where the treasure is located.
The riddles are somewhat random as there are five waterfalls around the north side of Brooklet Hill, choosing the wrong one will result in the player being attacked by a wild Pokemon and will cause the player to go back to the start with the riddles changing as a result, each Waterfall has small traits about its appearance that the riddles will hint as towards which waterfall contains the treasure, picking the correct waterfall the player will find a small treasure chest. Bringing it back to Lana she'll thank the player for finding the treasure opening the chest revealing beautiful scales within, Lana then hands the player a Fishing Rod with the scale attached, she explains that now the player's job is to use Mantine's speed to create whirlpools in the ocean by moving around in circles at high speeds, she informs the player this will trap Water-Type Pokemon that are in the bay of Brooklet Hill allowing the player to fish for them and should attract the Totem Pokemon.
The player heads out on Mantine and creates Whirlpools, the player will need to create Whirlpools over three areas of the bay which are each distinguishable as they have pink coral at the seabed, the player will also know they're in the right area since they'll fish up Feebas which attack the player, if they're fishing in the wrong area they'll get Magikarp instead. After fishing in all three areas a bright light will emanate from beneath the water, Lana calls out to the player to tell them to make a Whirlpool there as it should be the Totem Pokemon, the player does so and begins fishing, a cutscene plays as the rod begins being tugged on, and the player begins reeling it in only for the line to violently jerk itself forward pulling the player and Mantine through the water, a massive blue tail erupts from the water creating a wave that sends the player and Mantine flying through the air landing on the beachside as the player sees the face of the Pokemon let go of the scale it was holding in its mouth.
The player briefly blacks out although Lana wakes them up, explaining that they got the Totem Pokemon's attention and tell the player that its time for them to have a battle to see if they're worthy of triumphing the challenge of the Brooklet Hill Trial. The player gets up and sees Lana standing on the edge of the water with a massive Milotic resting in the water. The player walks over to Lana and the two begin their Totem battle.
Sunne World Trial B - Seven Scales Riddle (High Tide)
Differing from the Low Tide counterpart, Lana explains that in the Bay of Brooklet Hill there are markings underwater that can only be visible during high tide, Lana informs the player that these etchings point towards the location of an old Fishing Rod that the old Trial Captain used to use in their spare time, she informs the player that the only way they'll be able to see what the etchings show however is to move the glass containers located around the bay and place them over the water so the player can see from above what each etching is, she informs the player that the containers would be hidden about and the player may need to look beyond just the bay itself to find all of them. She also informs the player that each of the containers will work with a different etching so once a Glass Container fits with one of the etchings the player can ignore it from that point onward.
The player tracks down each of the glass containers, there are four in total, one is always located in the Tide Pools and needs to be pushed by Mantine to get it into the Bay, another is located in some seaweed where a wild Horde of Mareanie will attack the player for disturbing the seaweed. The third and fourth one's locations are randomly chosen although can appear in a variety of locations including; on the beach-side, behind the grand waterfall, being used by a Fisherman, among other locations. Once the player has all four glass containers over each of the etchings correctly they can walk onto the containers and see what each etching shows. The etchings reveal a map of the Brooklet Hill that shows the rod as well as its line. Once the player completes this task Lana will call out to the player telling them that she thinks the hook might be snagged on something and tells the player to find the hook by reading the etchings and free it so they can get the rod.
The player will need to find the hook three times, each time the player frees the hook it is reeled in a bit but gets caught in one of the three quadrants of Brooklet Hill that the rod itself isn't in. Once the player's completed this they can find the Rod and pick it up, adding it to their inventory. The player returns to Lana who congratulates the player on their success and notices that the rod has a scale attached to it, Lana informs the player that the scale belongs to the Totem Pokemon and they should use it to draw the Totem Pokemon's attention, this section plays out identically to the Low Tide counterpart as the player must use Mantine to create Whirlpools in certain areas attracting Feebas. The same cutscene occurs of the Totem Pokemon knocking the player out of the water and the player waking up to find Lana and the Totem Milotic ready to battle the player.
Moone World Trial A - Battle Bond Waterfall (Low Tide)
In the Moone World the area of Brooklet Hill where the Trial takes place has an entirely different layout and function to its Sunne World counterpart. Lana will inform the player upon entering the Trial Grounds that as it is low tide only the Great Waterfall, the largest of all the waterfalls is accessible and the player will need to conquer anything that faces the player along the way. Lana points to the waterfall itself and handing the player a key to open the gate that's shaped like a Magikarp. Heading towards the gate the player opens it and has to defeat two Trial Trainers on the opposite side who inform the player that Lana's Trial is intended to wear the player down like water does through erosion.
Continuing up the Waterfall the player is confronted with the first of three puzzles on the path, this one requires the player to turn a gear underwater, there is a Trainer who will offer the player a hint if they can beat them in a battle, the player can either choose to ignore this trainer and figure out that the answer is to use Mantine's Whirlpool ability or to battle them for the hint.
After spinning the gear this causes a stairwell to appear that the player climbs up leading to the next area, there are five trainers in this one, three have to be battled while two can be battled, there are gears here like in the previous puzzle although the player needs to activate them in a specific order which the player can figure out based on a grouping beneath the water, this grouping comes in the form of Wishiwashi, Coral or Seaweed, the grouping will have one, three, five and seven around each of the four gears and the player will need to turn the gears in that order.
Getting to the top of the Waterfall, the player will find a large pond and Lana will meet up with the player, here she'll inform the player they'll need some way to turn the last gear and notes that the water is too low for the player to use Mantine Surf, looking around the area the player will find a Fishing Rod hanging in a tree, getting it down the player can use the Fishing Rod on the gear to turn it causing the gear to raise up out of the water revealing a water tank beneath it that fills up the pond, suddenly seen from the area at the bottom of the waterfall a massive serpentine creature races up the waterfall lunging out of the air to face the player, the Totem Gyarados lands in the pond, coiled around the water tank. Lana informs the player that the Totem Gyarados and her will be the player's opponents and tells the player to ready their Pokemon before the battle starts.
Moone World Trial B - Battle Bond Waterfall (High Tide)
Like in the original Games, Pokemon Ultra Star has a 403 sized Pokedex with all Pokemon from Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon making an appearance. Unlike the originals however this isn't the only Pokedex in the game with the player later being able to upgrade to the National Dex which lists every Pokemon in their national dex order. Also unlike the original games the player will be able to capture all 403 Pokemon in the single version with there being no version exclusives and the previous mythical Pokemon; Magearna, Marshadow & Zeraora being available through normal gameplay. In addition this this many Pokemon were given additional forms in this Pokedex with each island having its own version of a Pokemon with different typing and appearance (not pictured) and also altered stat distributions.
For the most part the Alola Region's layout remains unchanged in Pokemon Ultra Star with a few new locatiosn added in being shown on the map below. However the major change comes from the content within each location which has been dramatically altered to increase the size of each location and also add in new things to do in the form of locations of interest for the various settlements across Alola while also adding in puzzle elements and featurettes to the Routes and dungeons.
Melemele Island is the first island the player will find themselves on during the game, the island is the second smallest in the game after Poni Island and features four settlements as well as eight marked places of interest. The island's guardian Pokemon is Tapu Koko and the Kahuna is Hala who specializes in Fighting-Types, there is only one Trial Captain on Melemele Island, the Normal-Type specialist, Ilima. In addition there is one optional trial on the island.
A small collection of houses located near the beachside, the area is recommended for people moving to Alola as there has been heavy development in recent years. The houses all form a large circle around Professor Kukui's Lab which is the centrepoint of the Outskirts. The player's home is also located here among other locations, the player will find that the area has large gardens that seem to attract various Pokemon from across Melemele Island to the Outskirts.
- Player's House - The player's house, a developed house that's one of the largest in the outskirts, the house is a two-storey building with a small garden out the back. During different times of the day the player's mum can be found at the house either relaxing with the family's pet Meowth or out in the garden with a few wild Pokemon. The player is able to customize their bedroom similar to Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal, with the player being able to add plushies to their room as well as different ornaments and decorations and also change the design for their carpet, bed and desk.
- Professor Kukui's Lab - The lab of the Alola Region's own regional Professor, unlike most labs Kukui's lab is rather chaotic in its layout being a patch-work or rooms that seems to be built more like a tower than an actual laboratory. The lower floors are dedicated to marine Pokemon and research facilities while the higher rooms seem to be for living quarters and battle rooms where Kukui has Pokemon practise moves they can use.
- Trade House - A special community center founded in the Hau'Oli Outskirts where trainers from across Alola gather to share and trade Pokemon, the player can find a variety of trainers here who'll trade Pokemon with the player including some set trainers specifically for Trade Evolution Pokemon.
- Outskirts Beachouse - A beachouse that had become a popular tourist destination, the Beachouse offers relaxing massages while also providing a scenic view of the oceanside, many people tend to congregate around the small shop at this beachouse where they sell a variety of confectionaries.
- Fire Dancing Pit - Sometimes used by Fire Dancers, the Pit is a notable landmark of the Hau'Oli Outskirts which attracts tourists alongside the Beachouse, on some nights the player can even find Fire Dancers performing and on incredibly rare occasions the player's mum or Professor Kukui will perform fire dances as well.
A verdant hillside escape leading up to Iki Town and connecting to the Hau'Oli Outskirts in the south. Due to the dense greenery in the area it is split into several major pathways, some of which are blocked either via sheer cliffs or other obstacles, the area is the first Route the player will explore in the game and introduces the players to Single Battles, Double Battles and Wild Battles. After the player's defeated Necrozma the Route also contains an Ultra Wormhole that the player can access to enter an alternate version of Alola Route 1 where different Pokemon can be found as well as different trainers.
A small outpost right outside the entrance to Iki Town, the outpost is manned by Trial Guides much like those seen elsewhere on the island, these Trial Guides who refer to themselves as "Hala's Elite" are specialists in the Fighting-Type and seem to spend their time battling trainers who are entering Iki Town to pass the time. Hala sometimes visits the Outpost to see how the guides are going and the player can also find an Aroma Lady who'll periodically visit the Outpost to sell Berries and Flowers.
An old town that's existed for hundreds of years, it's said that Iki Town was founded when a ship of early Alolan travellers crashed into Melemele Island in an old storm and repurposed the ships they'd been sailing on, which had become wrecked from the storm into houses. The town has a mural depicting the story and includes a segment showing Tapu Koko blessing the Captain of the ships as the Kahuna of Melemele Island giving him the ability to use Z-Crystals. The town is noticeably larger in Ultra Star than it was in USUM with more houses and a Pokemon Center as well as more places to visit. The town is more or less broken up into three levels separated by staircases although the player is never restricted to going to the highest level of the town.
- Kahuna's House - The house in which Kahuna's live, the house is constructed from an ancient boat and has over the years remained fairly static in its design with only maintenance done to retain its design. The house has paintings of each Kahuna of Melemele Island since the Captain of the original vessels from ancient times, according to this there have been at least 28 Kahunas of Melemele Island including Hala. The house is also a place where once can find a variety of wild Pokemon roaming about as there are gardens attached to the house where a number of Bug-Type and Grass-Type Pokemon reside, the player can even visit this garden to find a few of these Pokemon earlier than they appear elsewhere in Melemele Island.
- Hau's House - Hau's House, a rather quirky design among the houses of Iki Town, it was built along with many of the other first houses in the town and the boat it was constructed from had a distinct emblem in the shape of a Mienshao which later became Hau's Family's Crest, the house's interior is fairly large with a room for Hau, his parents and his siblings, the player can also find a dojo where Hau's father, Pandan trains young trainers to ready themselves for the Island Trials.
- Melemele Arena - An arena that's one of four in the Alola Region, the Melemele Arena was built in honour of the island guardian, Tapu Koko and is adorned with a large perch where the legendary Pokemon can reside while watching over the battles of those taking on the Grand Trail, the Arena is covered in a bounty of berry bushes and flowers and has a distinctive electric design to it with large metal rods on each of the four corners and a lightning symbol in the middle of the arena.