Pokémon Alpha Sapphire is a remake of 2003’s Game Boy Advance and 3rd generation Pokémon title Pokémon Sapphire. Set in the region of Hoenn, you as an aspiring young Pokémon trainer must defeat the eight Pokémon Gyms, participate in contests and defeat the evil Team Aqua that is deadset on flooding the world.

The story is roughly the same as previous and future Pokémon games. You are a Pokémon trainer and you are sent out by the region’s Professor to complete the Pokédex, beat the Pokémon gyms and finally defeat the Pokémon league’s Elite Four. This represents your main objective and the driver of the story.

Like Pokémon games before it, you must also contend with the region’s resident evil organisations. Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire were unique for having you contend with not one but two competing organisations - Team Magma and Team Aqua. In the case of Alpha Sapphire, your main antagonist is Team Aqua where as if you were to buy the other version, you would have to contend with Team Magma. Each team has a conflicting goal with Aqua wanting to extend the reach of the ocean and Magma wanting to increase the landmass.

With the remakes, there is an optional post game content that begins after the credits roll that involves the space centre in Mossdeep and acts a way to catch the legendary Pokemon Rayquzza and Deoxys which were originally event Pokémon in the originals.

It is as you would expect for a Pokémon game and that’s not a bad thing.

You explore the over-world from a mostly top down perspective with some 3D thrown in where it makes sense. The game world doesn’t lend itself to the alternative camera angles that X and Y did because it was originally designed to be 2D. The transition is successful though and just as enjoyable as it was in the early 2000’s to tranverse.

Battles are turn based, standard Pokémon fair. Attacks are animated well, and each Pokemon is faithful to its original design.

The main change that Sapphire brought to Pokémon are the contests and these return in the remake as well. A contest is a place where a Pokemon is judged based on its appeal to various aesthetics - beauty, cuteness, that kind of thing. The performance is than scored by judges. Aside from an initial contest, this content is optional but presents a nice alternative for those who are not as into the battling mechanic or as nice post game content.

The secret bases return as well, and are a nice distraction if you like decorating and making your home. If you connect to Wi-Fi, you can now find trainers around Hoenn to battle and explore others secret bases.

The graphics are more or less the same as X and Y, and that isn’t a bad thing. The X and Y games successfully transitioned the Pokémon franchise on handhelds to 3D graphics and this game like Fire Red and Leaf Green were to the original releases of Ruby and Sapphire, X/Y does the same for the remakes.

Verdict? Must Play.