Last week the first part of the new Pokémon Scarlet & Violet DLC dropped, The Teal Mask. Your character is chosen to take part in a school trip to the Kitakami region, and learn about this new region, and the Pokémon that reside there.
I pre-emptively booked a day off so I could really dive in and play on release day, and these are my thoughts! There are spoilers ahead, so be warned! The first sections don’t have much in the way of spoilers, but the Story & Pokémon section does.
Kitakami is a much smaller region that Paldea, about 25% of the size, with a variety of different habitats to explore. There is a mountainous area, with the town based at the bottom, some rivers, open grassy areas, and caves. It is landlocked, unlike Paldea, and also has apple orchards, and rice paddies that you can explore.
It is predominantly a grassy location, but there is one particular stand out spot that is beautiful, the Crystal Pool. There has been a lot of criticism for Scarlet & Violet’s graphics, but I think the Crystal Pool area is quite breathtaking. It may not compare to some other popular titles, but I don’t think it deserves all the negativity it gets.
I’d have liked maybe slightly more variation in environment, but I think looking at The Indigo Disk, the upcoming part two of the DLC, that looks more water based, so it makes sense to keep this more land based.
First things first, they fixed the boxes. Scrolling through your boxes, organising Pokémon, and searching no longer feel like arduous tasks, because they’ve been fixed in The Teal Mask. The difference is really striking, and as someone who hadn’t massively organised my Pokémon boxes because of how badly they worked in SV, I will now be taking the time to sort them properly! A much needed and welcomed quality of life update.
Sadly there is still some framerate drop, but I’ve experienced it a lot less than I did in SV. There’s been reported errors of floors disappearing, NPCs trapping your character in ways that totally blocked you from moving, and more, but the framerate drop is probably the most noticeable. On that note, do be careful how you talk to the NPC teacher stood by the desk in the Community Center, if you go behind her and talk to her, you will be trapped forever.
The Item Finder Mark is now fixed, so it can actually be found on Pokémon, and there are several updates to the Camera mode which has a story line in this DLC.
Finally, the Outbreaks are also fixed! Previously only the first entry in a Pokédex entry could be in an outbreak, for example, Blue Plumage Squawkabilly was the only version of Squawkabilly that could appear before, whereas now, all different entries can be. This does mean that now Authentic Polteageist can appear in outbreaks!
Be warned, major spoilers ahead!
In Kitakami you are introduced to the legend of the Loyal Three. The Loyal Three are said to have protected the village from a terrible ogre, and lost their lives in the process. As the story progresses you meet Kieran, a student from the local school who feels an affinity to the ogre, and wants to find them. You eventually meet the ogre, who turns out to be a Pokémon known as Ogerpon…
Ogerpon turns out to be an innocent victim in the story, with Ogerpon and her trainer being attacked by the so-called Loyal Three, who only wanted to steal her masks! Ogerpon was blamed and has been outcast and vilified ever since, and you have to help her be redeemed in the eyes of the villagers.
The story line does an incredible job of making you care for Ogerpon. I feel so attached, and can firmly say they have leapt into my top 10 favourite Pokémon of all time. Having seen the teasers for the Teal Mask DLC I wasn’t really feeling particularly enthralled by any of the new Pokémon, until Ogerpon took her mask off and revealed her adorable little star eyes and danced about. Instantly smitten! Such a cute design, such a fun storyline, such an immediate fan favourite. Much like the original game made you care for your Miraidon/Koraidon, I think many trainers will feel very attached to Ogerpon too.
I need an Ogerpon plushie, and I need it stat. (without the mask, obviously!).
Ogerpon has my favourite design, in part because of the surprising level of adorable found underneath the mask, but also because the different masks she has can be swapped out for different Terastalisation power. The Teal Mask is her default and is Grass type, the Wellspring Mask is Grass and Water type, Hearthflame Mask is Grass and Fire type, and the Cornerstone Mask is Grass and Rock type.
I’m not so into the designs for the Loyal Three, Okidogi, Munkidori, and Fezandipiti, but I think that is in part because I am not a big fan of monkey inspired Pokémon. They are all male, and have a Poison typing, with Okidogi also having Fighting, Munkidori Psychic, and Fezandipiti Fairy.
The actual storyline of the game probably takes around six hours to complete, making it fairly short, but there is plenty of shiny hunting to do, and areas to explore, to keep you coming back for a while before part two of the DLC is released, The Indigo Disk.
There is a story line involving a hunt for the newly discovered Bloodmoon Ursaluna, in order to take a photo of it for Perrin, a photographer you meet in Kitakami. Perrin appears to be related to Adaman, the Leader of the Diamond Clan in Pokémon Legends: Arceus! Bloodmoon Ursaluna isn’t a Pokémon you can evolve to, or breed for. Bulbapedia describe it as an ‘alternate non-interchangeable form’. Interestingly Ursaluna was first discovered in the Hisui region, where Adaman was based, and now the only known Bloodmoon Ursaluna is discovered by Perrin, who seems to be his relative.
The other three new Pokémon are Dipplin, Poltchageist and Sinistcha. Dipplin is a new evolution for Applin, a candy apple inspired design, and a Grass and Dragon type. Interestingly, Applin has been shown to be affected by the item Eviolite, which implies it could have a potential evolution in The Indigo Disk! An Eviolite boosts the Defense and Special Defense of a Pokémon that holds it if the holder is not fully evolved. Poltchageist and Sinistcha are Grass and Ghost types, which resemble the Polteageist line, and may be a convergent form of them. Much like Polteageist, they also have an Authentic and Counterfeit form.
These are all really fun designs, Poltchageist in particular already has a huge amount of fans, and if Dipplin gets another evolution that would be amazing!
The Teal Mask is a good fun addition to the Pokémon Scarlet and Violet world, but it isn’t anything groundbreaking. If you enjoyed SV, then you’ll enjoy The Teal Mask, if you didn’t, you probably won’t! I think it is another great story line in terms of getting you to care about Pokémon, albeit a little short for how much money the DLC costs.