Pokemon Scarlet : and violet were less than fully-baked, with bugs that were more severe than in any of the previous mainline games. The promise of new content for DLC was enough to give players hope that these games would be polished in time.
Pokemon Scarlet :
Hidden Treasures Area Zero: Teal Mask — this generation’s very first DLC release — has delivered on its promise in a way, with a streamlined storyline and presenting new areas within the larger Pokemon universe. The Hidden Treasures of Zero, Chapter 2, The Indigo Disk, was no exception. It established several promising connections between Paldea’s Unova Region and Pokemon Black and White.
Both halves of Pokemon Violet and Scarlet ‘s DLC improved the overall feel of the games in small but significant ways. The Teal Mask and The Indigo Disk did not fix the problems that were fundamentally wrong with this generation’s core Pokemon games. The same is true for the newly released epilogue of Scarlet and Violet, Mochi Mayhem.
Scarlet and Violet changed the way that Pokemon made it appear as if going to school wasn’t important for young trainers. They turned education into a key part of becoming a Champion. Scarletand Violet‘s Naranja Academy and Uva Academy were vast places that students could visit to make new friends and meet monsters.
Game Freak, inspired by the success of games such as Persona 5 and Fire Emblem Three Houses in incorporating student life into their narratives and gameplay, wanted to incorporate this same concept with Scarlet and Violet. Although this was the initial intention, it became apparent as players matriculated at Naranja/Uva that the schools were not what they seemed. They were filled with stiff NPCs and menus instead of explorable halls that guided you to a few classrooms.
The fact that the main story of Scarlet and Violet did not include the school, its teachers or its students in a balanced way made the focus on the school feel like an afterthought. Scarletand Violet‘s primary game made it easy to lose track of character details and story beats by allowing you to progress through the main stories in any order you choose. This made it difficult to get attached to people like Nemona and Arven who were supposed to be best friends.
Scarlet and Violet would be more engaging if it was refined and confined to one particular adventure. The Indigo Disk transported players to Unova Region’s Blueberry Academy. This floating school in the middle ocean is where you are reunited with Kieran & Carmine, who were first introduced in The Teal Mask.
Blueberry Academy, with its multiclimate, underwater terrarium filled with wild pokemon, is a much more interesting place to explore, despite being largely as simple in structure as Naranja/Uva.
After having to learn how Paldea’s sandwiches work, it was a real treat to order a plate of food that would make shining hunting easier for just a short time. Instead of exchanging real cash or league points for potions and pokeballs, you can only buy things with Blueberry Points. These are earned by completing small tasks that require you to spend time in the Terrarium.
The return of double-battles and the addition of the Elite Four reinforced Blueberry Academy’s focus on strategy. The Indigo Disk was a great option for those who wanted to enjoy the outdoors or play some games. It allowed you to experience the game from the perspective your favorite Pokemon, allowing your legendary ride pokemon fly properly, and introducing an exciting gacha mechanic which put old Game Corner slots to shame.
The Indigo Disk updates like the Stellar Tera Type felt like they were designed to appeal to competitive gamers more than to anyone else. The DLC features that were more minor, like being able to get multiple Master Balls and having new ways to throw pokeballs as well as more clothing options, felt like Game Freak was trying to make Pokemon Scarlet and Purple games people would actually want to play.
It didn’t affect the gameplay, but the fact that The Indigo Diskwas set in Unova made it exciting. This was because it implied Nintendo may be looking at Blackand Whiteremakes either for the Switch or successor. The words “Pokemon Remake” have not always brought joy to gamers. Pokemon Legends Arceus was a delightful game, and Scarlet & Violet showcased pokemon of the distant past and ancient past.
It seemed that Violet, Pokemon Scarlet, and The Teal Mask were trying to get players excited about what was coming next. It also seemed like the teases of what’s coming next were intended to distract you from the persistent technical problems in these games.
The Scarlet and Violet epilogue, which can only be accessed if you have purchased the DLC, does not include a patch to fix the stuttering that has plagued the game’s animation since launch. Mochi Mayhem instead sends you to the Teal Mask Kitakami for a goofy, creepy mini adventure that is more about showing how socially adept your character has become.
Mochi Mayhemis admirable for its attempt to tie up Scarletand Violet narrative threads in a story which brings Naranja/Uva and Blueberry Academy’s friends together for the first time. The mythical creature featured in Mochi Mayhem, along with the legendary Pokemon featured in The Teal Mask makes for an interesting piece of lore that is far more intriguing than the treasure-specific stories from Scarlet and Violet.
It’s nice to see how The Teal Mask and The Indigo Disk are interwoven. This gives you the impression that your character has had adventures that have changed the way he or she sees the world and the way others see him. In the same way tidiness can make certain character arcs, like Kieran’s, feel well-thought out. It also makes Violet and Scarlet feel unfinished.
It was great when it seemed like Nintendo would come through with fixes that transformed Scarletand Violetinto expansive, thrilling open worlds, which fans had always wanted to explore. Mochi Mayhemis not the answer.