How does Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’s DLC The Indigo Disk compare to Sword and Shield’s second DLC, The Crown Tundra? Here are five things Indigo Disk does better—and worse—than Crown Tundra.
The Indigo Disk has Better Characters than The Crown Tundra
In all honesty, I felt The Teal Mask and Indigo Disk’s stories were setting up Kieran’s character arc to display a bit more nuance than it ended up having. I also felt the role Briar ended up playing was disappointing when she was set up to feel so sinister. In spite of these disappointments, the characters in The Indigo Disk are still leagues better than those in The Crown Tundra. The Crown Tundra really only has Peony and Peonia, the latter only battling in Dynamax Adventures. Peony leads you across the tundra in search of legends and adventures, and he’s endearing enough while doing so—but he’s hardly a nuanced character.
The Indigo Disk, in addition to Kieran and Briar, also has the rest of the BB League in its cast. Players can even invite certain Paldean characters to the League Club for more chances to interact with them. The Indigo Disk may not be the best in the Pokemon series when it comes to character writing, but it’s certainly one area in which it clears The Crown Tundra.
…But The Crown Tundra has a Better Mascot Pokemon than The Indigo Disk
Unfortunately, Terapagos isn’t involved enough in the story of The Indigo Disk to be considered its own character. Instead, it’s mostly a plot device. Terapagos’s disappointing lack of “character” stings even more when compared to how absolutely wonderful Ogerpon is in The Teal Mask.
Calyrex, on the other hand, is a memorable companion throughout The Crown Tundra. It gets up to some amusing shenanigans with Peony and gives the DLC chapter a lot of its charm. When it comes to mascot Pokemon, The Crown Tundra—and Calyrex—definitely reigns supreme over The Indigo Disk.
The Indigo Disk has More New Clothing Options than The Crown Tundra
In the fashion department, The Indigo Disk is the clear winner over The Crown Tundra, with a far greater number of new pieces for players to obtain, and even new hairstyles. Both DLC chapters add some items referencing older games in the series, but The Indigo Disk includes far more general pieces, and even some items that match its own cast, such as the Team Star uniform. There is also a wide variety of ways to obtain these new fashion items, from buying them in boutiques to receiving them from the characters you invite as Special Coaches in the League Clubroom. So not only does The Indigo Disk add more fashion items to Scarlet and Violet, but it also encourages players to take advantage of the DLC’s new features by mixing up the ways they can be obtained.
…But the Crown Tundra Isn’t Limited by a Uniform System
As great as The Indigo Disk’s new options are, they’re still limited by Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’s strict uniform-centric system. It feels like you can’t really make the most out of all the new items when you have to wear specific uniforms that all mostly lean into the same few colorways. The new tights are especially tricky to use if you happen to not like the uniforms that have shorts to allow you to see the socks at all. The Crown Tundra may not add nearly as many fashion items as The Indigo Disk or even The Isle of Armor, but the freedom of mixing and matching tops, bottoms, and outerwear along with the other available accessories is still a major advantage all its own.
The Indigo Disk Does Item Crafting Better Than The Crown Tundra (But Only Because The Crown Tundra Didn’t Need to Add Item Crafting)
The Indigo Disk introduces the Item Printer, a helpful tool for crafting items. The system isn’t perfect by any means. There are no recipes to produce specific items—instead, you use extra TM Materials and BP to make completely random items or, if you’re lucky, rare Poke Balls. Specific recipes could have helped give players more sense of intentionality when they go out to defeat Pokemon in the wild. It could have also removed much of the system’s randomness, which can often leave players high and dry with no worthwhile items. Still, it’s better than having no item crafting at all.
There is a catch, however: The Crown Tundra may not have its own item crafting system, but that’s because it didn’t need to add one. Sword and Shield’s crafting system was added in its first DLC chapter, The Isle of Armor. The Cram-o-matic is a lot less convenient than the Item Printer, since it can only produce one item at a time. But in exchange, you can use specific item recipes instead of hoping you get the item you’re looking for out of a massive pool of possibilities. When it comes to item crafting, The Indigo Disk beats out The Crown Tundra through technicality. But when compared to The Isle of Armor’s Cram-o-matic, the convenience of the Item Printer is very much welcomed, but still a side-grade compared to the Cram-o-matic’s actual item recipes.
The Indigo Disk Introduces Better “Postgame” Content Than The Crown Tundra (But There’s Still no Battle Tower)
The Indigo Disk already adds a lot of general content, from upgrading photography options to Pokemon Synchronization. It also doesn’t skimp out on including many much-warranted “postgame” features, such as Gym Leader rematches and incredibly high-leveled Trainer battles. Although there’s very little downside to all the fun new features available in The Indigo Disk, there’s still no Battle Tower of any kind in the games. Instead, the base games’ Academy Ace Tournament serves as a charming but still majorly downsized replacement.
The Crown Tundra isn’t nearly as postgame focused. This is mainly because players can access it at any time, unlike The Indigo Disk which requires visiting Area Zero and finishing The Teal Mask’s story. But The Crown Tundra still brings with it the Galarian Star Tournament, giving Sword and Shield both a Battle Tower and its very own version of the Academy Ace Tournament.
The quality and quantity of The Indigo Disk’s postgame additions outstrip a measly Battle Tower. Still, its presence is missed all the same. It’s also worth noting how The Crown Tundra wasn’t designed as postgame content the way The Indigo Disk was, but it still adds the Galarian Star Tournament to serve as one of Pokemon Sword and Shield’s primary postgame facilities alongside the base games’ Battle Tower.
The Process of Finding Legendary Pokemon is Better in The Indigo Disk
The Crown Tundra’s Dynamax Adventures is a fun little excursion, and it’s great to find and fight powerful legendary Pokemon at the end. But going through the entire adventure can be more annoying than fun if you’re seeking a specific Pokemon, and finding legendary Pokemon in a generic nebulous space isn’t all that special. Enter The Indigo Disk’s Snacksworth: this man will give you treats to attract legendary Pokemon so you can face them in fitting environments that are actually part of the world. It also feels as though you’re actively seeking them out, as is fitting for their legendary status. Snacksworth will give players these treats as they complete BBQs, which they will already be working on as they play thanks to the fantastic value of BP. Thanks to this system, legendary Pokemon are integrated into The Indigo Disk much more effectively than in The Crown Tundra. At the same time, players are given the chance to find them in a way that’s far more convenient without being too easy.
…But They Aren’t Shiny Locked in The Crown Tundra
One of, if not the absolute worst decision in all of The Indigo Disk is how all available legendary Pokemon are shiny locked; players cannot find them in their shiny colors under any legitimate circumstances. As inconvenient as Dynamax Adventures can be, all the legendary Pokemon available in it can be found in their shiny color variants. Established shiny hunters can fill out their collection while newcomers can start their journey with a time-consuming but otherwise safe hunting method. Anyone not interested in intentionally seeking out shinies may even find themselves really lucky one day and catch a shiny anyways. Shiny hunting is just as valid a way of playing Pokemon as any other, and while it’s considered standard procedure for a game’s newest legendary Pokemon to be shiny locked, we can only hope that keeping them that way in subsequent games is a choice that will stay exclusive to The Indigo Disk.