Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: The Teal Mask DLC – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: Nintendo, The Pokémon Company
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: The Teal Mask DLC – Review

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Good: Great art direction
Bad: Technical issues still persist
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Given that there is no new mainline Pokémon game on the horizon, Game Freak is banking on Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’s Expansion Pass to carry them through the holiday season. The second part of the Expansion Pass, The Indigo Disk, is slated for a winter 2023 release, and thus we expect this to drop around Christmas. To tide us over until then, the first part, The Teal Mask, has just arrived. We liked Scarlet and Violet better than Sword and Shield, even though the latest pair of Pokémon games were plagued with technical issues. However, we haven’t touched our copy of Violet in months, and apparently, several patches have been issued since. The arrival of The Teal Mask seemed like a perfect opportunity to return to Paldea, to see what had changed and what is new.


Whereas Scarlet and Violet’s main story took place in the Paldea region, which took inspiration from Spain, The Teal Mask takes players to a brand-new place, known as Kitakami. We’re not quite sure where this part of the story takes place within the Scarlet and Violet timeline, as we had finished the main game when the DLC arrived. Judging by the level 60-ish opponents and wild monsters we encountered, The Teal Mask is either designed to be post-game content or appears rather late in the story. Either way, the events that unfold here form a separate, standalone narrative that feels like its own thing in many ways. There are plenty of hints that the second part of the DLC, The Indigo Disk, which is set to release this winter, will tie everything together nicely.

The story sees the player go on a field trip to the Kitakami region, to learn about the foreign culture and hear the folk tales and legends that are told among the people there. The delegation from Paldea arrives just in time for the annual mask festival, and alongside new friends Carmine and Kieran, the player gets swept up in a tale involving a mysterious ogre and the three legendary Pokémon that opposed it. We won’t spoil too much, as The Teal Mask’s narrative is the main reason to play the DLC in the first place, but we will tell you that there is a good chance you’ll absolutely adore the titular Teal Mask Pokémon.


If there’s one thing that Game Freak gets right, it’s art direction. Whether it’s the aesthetics of the Kitakami region, the design of newly introduced characters, or the looks of the handful of new monsters introduced here -more on those later- everything looks just right. It’s a shame then that The Teal Mask still suffers from the same awful visual performance that plagued the original Scarlet and Violet. The frame rate drops to unacceptable levels, pop-ins are common, and everything just looks fuzzy and low in detail.


Since there weren’t any major visual overhauls, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that The Teal Mask doesn’t offer anything new audio-wise either. There still isn’t any voice acting, and older Pokémon make use of the same outdated cries. There is some new music, however, and this fits in with the atmosphere of the Kitakami region as well as Pokémon games in general, but overall, there isn’t a whole lot to say about The Teal Mask’s audio.


It has been almost a year since we defeated the Elite Four and crowned ourselves champion of the Paldea region, so when we returned to Scarlet and Violet, we were shocked to see how abysmal the game’s performance still was. We knew that several updates and patches had arrived while we were out playing other games that pushed the Switch to its technical limits, like Tears of the Kingdom and Metroid Prime Remastered, so we were at least expecting some kind of technical improvements to Scarlet and Violet. Unfortunately, this was not the case, and comparing Scarlet and Violet to the two aforementioned titles is almost embarrassing. We’re not just talking about graphical performance, although the visual issues are the most egregious problem with the game. Gameplaywise, navigating around Kitakami feels incredibly sluggish, even when riding atop Koraidon or Miraidon.

Looking past these issues, The Teal Mask offers more of the same that Scarlet and Violet had to offer. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because the classic Pokémon gameplay remains as fun as ever, and this hybrid between the traditional mainline games and the more innovative Legends: Arceus hasn’t worn out its welcome in the slightest. Alongside the new story comes not only several new Pokémon, including legendary monsters Ogerpon, Okidogi, Munkidori, and Fezandipiti, but a slew of older critters make their welcome return as well. Fan-favorite critters like Ninetales and Poliwrath aren’t just available to those who purchased the expansion pass either. After updating your game, you can import these through Pokémon Home or trade with other players to obtain them, regardless of whether or not you have the expansion pass.

Apart from the standalone story involving Ogerpon, there is a sidequest involving Pirrin, a photographer, which helps in making the DLC feel a bit more fleshed out. Additionally, there is a new multiplayer minigame called Ogre Oustin’. This minigame sees you collect Berries and defend your stash from wild Pokémon. It’s a surprisingly challenging addition that is dragged down somewhat by the overall poor performance of the NPCs should you tackle it solo. On top of that, it’s probably best enjoyed with friends as you can strategize, with some players tasked with collecting while others defend the berry stash. Given that the rewards for Ogre Oustin’ are worth it, we won’t suggest you skip it, but we do recommend finding a few friends who also purchased the DLC and linking up.

We can’t quite judge the full The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero expansion pass on value just yet, as the second part is still a few months away, but the amount of content that was added here felt very light. The Kitakami region is on the small side, with only a single town. The region’s Pokédex tasks players with collecting 200 monsters, although roughly half of these were already available in Scarlet and Violet, so if you’ve completed your Pokédex there, you’ve already made a serious dent in this task. If you’ve got access to Pokémon Home, things become even easier, especially since there are only six monsters that are version exclusives to the DLC, and none of them are new. We should also address the elephant in the room here, and that is that just like with Sword and Shield, you’ll need to buy the expansion pass separately for each version if you happen to own both games. It’s a practice that doesn’t sit well with us, and unless The Indigo Disk offers something drastically different, we highly recommend not buying this expansion pass twice.


We have mixed feelings about The Teal Mask. While it’s definitely a fun little addition to the Pokémon series, adding a handful of neat monsters and offering an intriguing story, the technical issues that plagued Scarlet and Violet drag down the overall experience. It also feels very light on new content, especially compared to the much more substantial expansion pass that Sword and Shield got, but with The Indigo Disk still on the horizon, that feeling may change down the line.

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