Recently, I went hands-on with part two of the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet DLC, The Indigo Disk. While my preview was short, I did walk away with a pretty solid understanding of what players can expect when they jump into the DLC on December 14, 2023.
The Indigo Disk takes place at an underwater school called the Blueberry Academy. Beneath the waves, a sprawling terrarium with multiple biomes exists for players to explore and capture new and old Pokemon. You’ll be granted a Blueberry Pokedex to catalog all the Pokemon you find on your adventures here.
My demo specifically was focused on taking one of the many classes offered at the academy while exploring the coastal biome. The area was filled with Blueberry students relaxing, battling, and everything in between.
After being tasked with tracking down an Alolan Pokemon for some research, I quickly set off looking for one in the Coastal Biome. After searching, I captured an Alolan Exeggutor and went on my merry way.
While the Terrarium itself is much smaller than the base game’s map, it offers four distinct settings that house an abundance of Pokemon. From a snow-filled area to the hot heat of the desert, there’s plenty to check out and even plenty of secrets tucked away if you know where to look.
However, the real meat of the DLC seems to come from challenging the Elite Four of the Blueberry Academy. These battles are designed as your endgame challenge. Double Battles, while not new to the series by any stretch, is the focus here at Blueberry Academy, and trainers take full advantage of the systems they can play with because of it.
I faced the Elite Four member Amarys, who employed tactics in battle I had been hungering for the entire base game.
Utilizing move combinations like Stealth Rocks and Tailwind to drag Pokemon out for extra damage. Or even using Trick Room to flip the script for the benefit of my team completely. Generally, these Pokemon moves are reserved for competitive play, and you rarely see one trainer use multiple strategies like this.
It finally made me focus on how to dismantle these concepts rather than brute force my way through the fight as usual. I was wrong even when I thought I knew how Amarys would Terastalize their Pokemon. Everything I thought I could safely assume about the battle was flipped on its head, and this is the part of the Indigo Disk that excites me.
While the game still runs poorly and Pokemon pop in left and right, The Indigo Disk at least seems to offer a challenge not present in the base game or The Teal Mask. It gets harder to forgive poor optimization and bad framerates as each iteration of Pokemon continues, but at least The Indigo Disk seems to have a clear idea of what it wants to do. It wants to test your battling skills.
While I only saw the one Elite Four fight, I remain hopeful that the others live up to the higher bar set by Amarys. The clear vision is to give players a high-level set of trainers to master since this is the cap off DLC for Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. Pokemon are high levels. I saw Pokemon in their low 70s, and even the wild Pokemon were in their 60s.
You’ll also need to complete a challenge before facing them, similar to the base game’s gym battles. Amarys had me fly through the air on Koraidon (another new feature introduced in The Indigo Disk) to go through rings and hit the finish line. It’s simple, not challenging, and the game chugs a bit during these sections, but it’s something.
The tiny slice of The Indigo Disk I played was enough to know it’s likely still a mixed bag. Taking the same problems that have hampered the game from release and adding some interesting ideas and challenges along the way. While so much still remains to be seen, including whatever the hell is going on with Terapagos, I’m interested enough to see more when it releases this December.