Looking at Pokemon Sword and Shield’s expansion, The Crown Tundra, through the eyes of a parent and seeing the joy it brings to kids.
For some reason, I didn’t even think to do a parent review of Pokemon Sword and Shield’s newest expansion, The Crown Tundra. Between keeping people up to date with Pikachu Hat codes or telling people how to get things like the Regis or Legendary Birds, I didn’t think to do it because I figured it was obvious that kids like Pokemon.
Then, last night, during my kid’s technology time I was playing Pokemon Shield while my seven-year-old, Damian, was playing Pokemon Sword. Lost in my own game, chilling next to him on the couch I suddenly got a notification on my screen.
“Damian, did you just catch a Mewtwo?” I asked him. The biggest grin crept across his face. “How’d you know?” he asked. “My game just told me you did it. Congrats bud.” My son was practically glowing.
One of the hardest parts of growing up with Pokemon (my first game was Pokemon Yellow) is that as time went on — to, unfortunately, paraphrase the movie Dazed and Confused — “I get older, and it stays the same age.” And it’s something I’ve seen a lot of people have a hard time with, to the point where some people, not I, fortunately, get toxic about it.
A lot of people seem to forget the simple fact that Pokemon games are mostly designed with children in mind, regardless of the complexities we tend to add to it. The overzealous need to pretend it’s something more competitive than it really is. This reminded me of it.
One of the things I’ve seen a lot of people focus on the fact that THe Crown Tundra is incredibly simple. And people are focusing on the fact that Legendaries are incredibly easy to come across. I was able to quickly knock out guides for how to catch all the Regis and the Legendary Birds, as well as Spiritomb, Regigigas and the Swords of Justice.
But it distracted me from how wonderful this game must be for a child. While I was busy tearing through the game for the sake of an article, my son was out discovering most of these Legendary creatures for the first time. The puzzles that took me a second were points of pride for him, especially when he figured out he needed to use an Everstone to catch one of the Regis. And while being chased by wild Pokemon is obnoxious to someone like me who’s looking for footprints, details and screenshots, Damian was delighting in being chased down by this massive Tyrantrum.
The Crown Tundra is something that Pokemon should always be — an exceptional playground for kids. And it nails it.
Watching him solve a Regi temple, figure out how to get Calyrex, plan out how to go through a Dynamax Adventure and, most recently, having him run up to me to let me know he managed to catch the Galarian Moltres on his own without asking for help (or looking up my excellent how-to) filled him with pride and just made him feel good all day. Honestly, that’s the best thing I can look for in a game.
Suddenly, all the tasks that I find boring or were exciting. I couldn’t stand making curry but now when I do it to heal up my team, I find myself showing him new ones I discover just to watch his face.
The Crown Tundra is a perfect expansion to the game as it fills a small area with boundless discovery whether it’s encountering famous Pokemon with a team, chasing down the new Legendary Birds across the entire game world, or even discovering bizarre and unexpected encounters, the Crown Tundra provides a suspenseful (while not being scary) experience that constantly brings excitement and I can’t recommend it enough.