Pokemon Ultra Sun & Moon Version Exclusives and Differences explained, from the Pokedex and beyond

Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are now available for the Nintendo 3DS. This will mark the final release of the series (at least the mainline) as it gears up for the Nintendo Switch with its next installment. These two titles may be based on Pokemon Sun & Moon, but they tell an alternate sequence of events focusing on the legendary Pokemon, Necrozma. 

As you may expect like with every pair of entries the series has ever produced, there are distinct differences between Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon you will need to consider before making the purchase. In this guide, we'll break down what exactly those differences are so you have an easier time choosing which one will suit you best. 

What Are the Exclusive Pokemon for Each Version?

This is easily the most important thing you should take into consideration. After all, if you are fond of a certain Pokemon, what good would it do if you are locked out from obtaining them? Every time a set of Pokemon titles are released, you will still encounter many of the same Pokemon with a handful of exceptions.

Down below, you will find a handy list of version-exclusive Pokemon broken down first by your standard Pokemon followed the Legendary Pokemon for your benefit. I should note that through the use of "Ultra Wormholes" featured in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, you do have access to Legendary Pokemon that were available in other regions. That means every single Legendary Pokemon that has ever been available will be encountered here through the Ultra Wormholes. But as with the standard Pokemon, there are certain Legendaries that are exclusive to either version. Check out the full list below:

Pokemon Ultra Sun Exclusive Pokemon

  • Alolan Ninetales
  • Alolan Vulpix
  • Braviary
  • Carracosta
  • Cottonee
  • Cranidos
  • Houndoom
  • Houndour
  • Lurantis (Totem-sized)
  • Passimian
  • Rampardos
  • Rufflet
  • Tirtouga
  • Turtonator
  • Whimsicott
Ultra Sun-Exclusive Pokemon

Pokemon Ultra Moon Exclusive Pokemon

  • Alolan Sandshrew
  • Alolan Sandslash
  • Archen
  • Archeops
  • Bastiodon
  • Drampa
  • Electrike
  • Lilligant
  • Mandibuzz
  • Manectric
  • Oranguru
  • Petilil
  • Salazzle (Totem-sized)
  • Shieldon
  • Vullaby
Ultra Moon-Exclusive Pokemon

Pokemon Ultra Sun Exclusive Legendary Pokemon

  • Buzzwole
  • Dialga
  • Dusk Mane Necrozma
  • Groudon
  • Heatran
  • Ho-oh
  • Kartana
  • Latios
  • Raikou
  • Reshiram
  • Tornadus
  • UB-Burst
  • Xerneas
Ultra Sun-Exclusive Legendary Pokemon

Pokemon Ultra Moon Exclusive Legendary Pokemon

  • Celesteela
  • Dawn Wings Necrozma
  • Entei
  • Kyogre
  • Latias
  • Lugia
  • Lunala
  • Palkia
  • Pheromosa
  • Regigigas
  • Thundurus
  • UB-Assembly
  • Yveltal
  • Zekrom
Ultra Moon-Exclusive Pokemon

Pokemon Ultra Sun & Moon Story Differences

Once again, the games will feature the same overall plot with the same major cast of characters to converse with. However, there are other slight differences to keep in mind. Just like with Sun & Moon, the events of the game are set 12 hours apart, based on the clock set on your 3DS. Ultra Sun will follow the current time, whereas Ultra Moon will be set 12 hours ahead. The idea is that during the day, Ultra Moon will take place at night if you get the idea. 

There's also a new group you will encounter called the Ultra Recon Squad. Just like the aforementioned Legendary Pokemon, this shady team managed to find their way into Aloha (wormed their way?) through the Ultra Wormholes. If you check out the list above, you may see a couple Pokemon with the name "UB" in front of it, like UB-Assembly. This stands for Ultra Beast, and there appears to be some sort of connection between the Ultra Recon Squad and the Ultra Beasts. "Ultra" is the word of the day.

Based on the version you play, you will come across different members of the Ultra Recon Squad. In Ultra Sun, you will face Dulse and Zossie, whereas in Ultra Moon, you will meet Phyco and Soliera.

Dulse, Zossie, Soliera, and Phyco make up the Ultra Recon Squad.

Pokemon Ultra Sun & Moon: Other General Differences

Now that we have gotten the other factors out of the way, let's get to the more basic information. 

Generally speaking, the Pokedex in either version matches the one that was in the previous release. For example, the Pokmon you only got to see in Pokemon Sun will once again only be seen in Pokemon Ultra Sun, and vice versa. So if you bought Pokemon Sun before and wanted to get the most out of your experience, we would recommend picking up Pokemon Ultra Moon this time. Of course, it all comes down to whether those exclusive we mentioned above will sway you one way or the other.

This also goes hand-in-hand with the storyline. The developers made sure to include some specific plot details that only make sense if you stick with the same entry all the way through to the end. If that matters to you, and you bought Pokemon Sun before, grab Pokemon Ultra Sun. Bottom line - you will have to decide between trying to Catch 'Em All versus a narrative-focused adventure.

Along with those version-specific characteristics, there are other new features introduced to both games including Team Rainbow Rocket made up of leaders of the prior games, a surfing game similar to Pokemon Yellow, and more. Otherwise, there you have it - these are the key differences between Pokemon Ultra Sun and Pokemon Ultra Moon! Of course, if you need any other assistance picking out which one is right for you, be sure to leave a comment below and others will be happy to help!