In today’s massive round of Pokémon news we saw a lot of brand new features and mechanics, but one of the most intriguing additions is the Rite of the Island challenge.

Taking place across all four of the game’s main islands, the player character has to perform some unique trials on each guided by the four trial captains seen below; Lana, Mallow, Sophocles, and Kiawe:

 

These challenges can range from collecting ingredients to observing dance moves. Once you’ve completed the trial you’ll face off against the island’s “Totem Pokémon”, which is a larger version of a local creature glowing with a unique aura. These fights can also take the form of SOS battles, where the totem Pokémon calls in allies to aid it.

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Once the trial is completed the player can challenge the island’s Grand Trial, which is a face off against its Kahuna. In the case of Melemele, the first island, players will battle Hala, the man who gives you your starter. It is only by beating these Kahunas that you’ll get the chance to move to the next island and undertake its trial.

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Of course, all of this raises the question – what about Gyms? Fundamentally these trials serve the same purpose of gatekeeping the player from progressing further into the game, and even the official website essentially claims it is the main goal of the player. Could this be a major shake-up to the franchise’s formula? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Written by Tom Brown

Whether it’s an exciting new entry in a series long established or a weird experiment meant only for the dedicated, Tom is eager to report on it. Rest assured, if Nintendo ever announces Elite Beat Agents 2, he’ll be there.

Tom Brown