In addition, because he have these lighter moments, the more darker/somber/serious moments also feel more impactful. Hapu's grandmother talking about the death of her husband (which traumatized their Machamp), all of Po Town, Aether Paradise and the true Lusamine reveal (aka her "trophy" room), Lillie changing to her Z-form & standing up to her mother, Lusamine fusing with Nihilego, Eevium Z side quest, Ultra Beast hunt mission in SM (mainly the backstory with Looker, Nanu, and the killed Faller), learning about Guzma's backstory, Necrozma taking over Nebby and absorbing all the light, etc.. Because of the goofy moments when these moments happen its a mood whiplash (in a good way) that its serious time and you better pay attention.Something I like with SM/USUM is the bunch of silly moments that you can come across during the story.
This game is intentionally more relaxed and I for one really like these little humorous touches sprinkled here and there.
Gen VII's Pokedex entries is gold when it comes to this since it's Rotom Dex writing them and it's a snarky little geist. While not a pun, my favorite entries are for the Pokemon who gain extra heads upon evolving, Rotom Dex usually mentions they don't get any smarter. Really wished Rotom was in the Alola Dex, curious what it would have to say about its species and the other forms.I like when there are puns in the Pokedex entries. For example, the entry for Bounsweet in Ultra Moon: "It tries to resist being swallowed by a bird Pokémon by spinning the sepals on its head. It's usually a fruitless attempt." Love it. There are others too but this was the main one I could remember.
Hmm, in Let's Go you don't need the Starter Pikachu or Eevee in your party in order to use their Secret Techniques. Maybe they can do the same in the core series, give you the Ride Pager but instead of renting someone else's Pokemon you can assign certain Pokemon HMs moves you can call upon them direct from the box to help. That way you can have any Pokemon you want in your party, have a way to clear HM obstacles, and make it feel like you're bonding with your Pokemon. And you'll still also have the option to use the HM if one of your Pokemon knows it in your party.Pokémon's stuck with this problem due to the unique peculiarities of what it is. You need something that forces players to consider what they use and think about diversity and make compromise... but without harming the "use anything you want" thing.
Just to give some more of my thoughts on HMs in general:
1. I like how BW kept most HM obstacles as side things. I can actually see a system that uses that idea where the start if the game feels pretty linear (though you can still access all the important areas) but as you get more HMs you can explore deeper and slowly expand the region.
2. Indeed there's no real puzzles when it comes to using HMs, but I can see the potential for puzzles using them.
3. Since HMs are considered sort of separate from TMs, I think a neat idea they could have done was making the HM more powerful/useful the more Badges you get. Like you can get the HMs in any order you want (though you may not be able to use it outside of battle without a certain number of Badges), but they all are weak at the start but their strength grows with you as you get more Badges.