Since the release of the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo and Game Freak have kept the Pokemon franchise fresh by introducing new game mechanics and releasing DLC for the game. Pokemon X and Y’s DLC was hated at first but the release of the second part won them over.
Earlier this year, Game Freak released the first expansion to Pokemon Scarlet and Violet called The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero – Teal Mask & Indigo Disk. The first part The Teal Mask was released on September 13th, 2023, and was criticized due to its short story and lack of expansion for the game; yes, it did offer new Pokemon for trainers to catch but offered a limited variety. Now, the second part of The Hidden Treasures DLC has been released. Does it live up to expectations or fall short?
When it comes to the Pokemon franchise, it is very rare that Nintendo or Gamefreak does something wrong; however, since the release of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, many fans and former fans of the franchise have questioned the goals and integrity of the two corporations.
When you look at Pokemon Scarlet and Violet‘s release in 2022, it was riddled with bugs, almost to the level of Cyberpunk 2077. After fan outrage, the game would receive multiple patches to fix a majority of the game’s issues. Despite fixing some of the more problematic bugs, many Pokémon fans felt betrayed by the low quality of Scarlet and Violet compared to Pokemon Sword & Shield, and Pokemon Legends Arceus.
In the past, when Game Freak has put out DLC for their games, the first DLC has been rather lackluster. Many viewed the Pokemon Sword and Shield DLC The Isle of Armor as a waste of a DLC, however, paired with The Crown Tundra made up for the $29.99 expansion pass price.
Now, Gamefreak looks to expand the world of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet with The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero DLC expansion. Just like the Sword and Shield DLC, The Scarlet and Violet Hidden Treasure of Area Zero DLC was released in two parts; the two parts of Hidden Treasure of Area Zero’s DLC are The Teal Mask and The Indigo Disk. The Teal Mask was released earlier this year on September 13. The second DLC, The Indigo Disk released on December 14, 2023.
Players must first start the Teal Mask DLC to be able to start the Indigo Disk DLC; it is advised that you complete the Teal Mask section before jumping to The Indigo Disk, otherwise, you will miss out on the story’s plot. The characters that you meet in the first DLC play a more significant role in the Indigo Disk.
So does The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero DLC live up to expectations or fall short? Find out in our review.
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet – The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero Teal Mask & Indigo Disk
Developer: Game Freak
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: September 13 and December December 14th, 2023
Players: Single Player, Online Co-op
The Teal Mask Story
Treasure of Area Zero Part 1: The Teal Mask invites Paldea trainers to visit the land of Kitakami as part of an exchange program. After arriving in Kitakami, a student becomes ill and we are sent out to recover medicine. When arriving in town, two children approach us and challenge us to battle. Upon winning the battle, the pair scurries away. We are later introduced to the two as the region’s students. The first task the students are required to complete is visiting the monument retelling the story of the three heroes and the evil ogre that threatened the village.
The timing of the exchange program lines up perfectly with the Kitakami festival celebrating the Loyal Three. The Loyal Three defeated Ogerpon and saved the village from destruction or so the story goes. As the DLC progresses, the player learns that the legend passed down was twisted due to the villagers due to disliking Ogerpon’s appearance.
The Teal Mask’s DLC introduces players to Kieran and Carmine who are visiting their home from Blueberry Academy. Kieran is obsessed with Ogerpon and wants to prove the legends wrong. When Ogerpon sides with the player, it breaks Kieran and changes his demeanor affecting the way he will act in The Indigo Disk DLC.
The Teal Mask DLC introduces a new Kitakami Pokedex with 200 Pokemon to catch; some of these Pokemon overlap with the base game but feature new Terra-types. The quests. Most of the quests focus on taking photos with the landmarks and then battling the Loyal Three trio.
Indigo Disk Story & Gameplay
With the Indigo Disk DLC, trainers are invited to Blueberry Academy; Blueberry Academy is home to Carmine and Kieran whom we met in The Teal Mask. As an exchange student, our trainer is welcome to take classes with the school’s students and explore the different biomes in the Terrarium.
After a short time, one of the school’s Elite Four members Drayton hatches a plan for you to be able to join the school’s Pokemon League and challenge the different members of the Elite 4 and the School’s champion Kieran; every encounter the player has with Kieran, he appears standoffish and cold compared to his friendly demeanor in The Teal Mask.
In order to challenge the different members of the Elite Four, the player must earn BBQ points or BP. These BPs are earned by completing special quests. These points can also be lent to other clubs to change the appearance of the club room, give the player additional stances, invite special trainers to the school, and spawn starter Pokemon from other regions. Later in the game, the player is rewarded by Snacksworth for the amount of quests completed with different snacks to summon Legendary Pokemon.
As the player explores the different biomes, they can encounter and catch some of the 156 Blueberry Pokedex Pokemon; these Pokemon come from all regions ranging from Gen 1 to Gen 8. The Pokemon you catch in the Indigo Disk play a more significant role than those in the Teal Mask. Not only can these Pokemon impact the quests you are doing but can also help you with the different members of the Elite Four.
Each member of the Elite Four has a special challenge that you must complete before challenging them; these tasks range from battling trainers with Pokemon only caught in the different biomes, cooking a spicy sandwich, flying through obstacles, and even trivia. Once the player has completed the special challenge, they will need to battle out the different members in double Pokemon battles; these battles do offer a special layer of strategy with trainers having to think of what combos they must do to take down their opponent.
The Indigo Disk DLC introduces a new Terra type that utilizes all elements. When exploring Area Zero’s deep depths, the player is only allowed to battle but not catch any of the Pokemon down there. This can be annoying if you want to catch any that you might have missed. That part of the DLC forces the player to do fetch quests and defeat Pokemon to clear the path to the DLC’s final boss.
Despite receiving a two-part DLC for the game, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet still have performance issues; this shows the need for an upgraded Switch or a more powerful Nintendo console. When playing on the handheld directly, you won’t notice as many stuttering issues; when playing while the Switch is docked, it is very easy to notice the performance issues.
The biomes feel semi-empty with no towns or rest stations in between the center area and the Elite Four’s battlegrounds; yes, you can see Pokemon in different habitats but it feels like something is missing. This also holds true for the Teal Mask DLC with the center town being the primary area. Additionally, there is still a bug where Pokemon will continuously run into terrain.
With a three-month hiatus between DLCs, we were worried that The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero DLC would not live up to expectations. When you play the two parts back to pack, the expansions do a great job of building a story that carries through and drives the character’s motivations. With over 300 new Pokemon to catch, The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero – Teal Mask and Indigo Disk DLCs give players a ton of Pokemon to catch and shiny hunt. The BP system does a good job at motivating players to grind out quests whether alone or with their friends to unlock a new final boss and spawn fan-favorite starter Pokemon.
At first, the DLC felt like it was too little, but as we got to experience the story in The Indigo Disk, it felt more flushed out and worth the price. If you are a fan of Pokemon games, The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero DLC is worth picking up. The blend of different generations of Pokemon makes the game feel fresh and changes the game’s battle system for more competitive matchups. Despite some of the negatives, it is ultimately worth the price if you want to keep enjoying Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.
You can check out our ongoing playthrough of the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet DLC here.
The Pokemon Violet – The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero DLC was reviewed on a Switch using a copy provided by Nintendo. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero DLC Part 2 – Indigo Disk was released on December 14, 2023. An epilogue will be released on January 11, 2024.