Pokemon The Indigo Disk review: An Interesting Journey with Poor Execution

Game Freak
Game Freak /

I’m one of those weird people that enjoyed Scarlet and Violet. While I fully agree that the game could have been better and, graphically, it looked abysmal, I still enjoyed it. The first DLC, The Teal Mask, was the same. It was enjoyable but graphically a little weak. The Indigo Disk, however, seemed like it had the potential to be a visual spectacle given how it was supposed to take place in a massive underwater dome complete with four unique biomes.

Get into the game, however, and you discover that this DLC more than likely was done at the same time as the base game as it graphically stutters and struggles. You also find out that two of these unique climates are “Tropical” and…wait for it…”Sub-Tropical”. These areas are so boring that, except for the frozen polar biome, I rarely could tell you which fourth of the dome I’m in.

Pokemon-Indigo-Disk-Drayton /

The story isn’t all that bad. But it moves slow. It starts off with your traditional “these are the best four in the school, wouldn’t it be dope if you beat them?” type of story and towards the end something huge and mysterious happens. Which is cool but there’s a big ol’ problem.

The game world is SMALL. And the story itself is also kinda small. But they found a really good way to slow it down…and that’s with BBQ.

Sadly, not that kind. BBQ is the system they have for you to earn BPs, the local currency which is used to do everything from buy items from the school store, to do cool things on the school computer like learning how to do a new throwing style so your character throws the ball differently, to even progressing the story. You can’t fight any of the four trainers without paying 50BP up front.

Pokemon-Indigo-Disk-Leader /

You earn BP by completing random quests that you can look at by hitting right on the D-Pad. These can be anything from picking up 10 items on the ground to defeating 10 enemies with auto-battle, to things of that nature. Each of these will net you 10BP. Occasionally you’ll get a limited-time quest where, if you do something like finding a live Tera Pokemon (the ones with the gold glow) and battling it, you’ll earn a quick 100BP.

So to make your way through the story you have to complete those challenges which means you gotta ABC, Always Be Challenging.

It’s not to say that The Indigo Disk isn’t without its positives. I, personally, have been begging for a way to change the throwing animation ever since you could do it in Sun and Moon. So I was REALLY happy about that. But, again, to do that stuff it DOES require you to spend the same BP that you need to progress the story and in addition to paying 150 to unlock new styles, it also costs 10 every time you want to switch.

The Blueberry Academy that the DLC takes place in is also obsessed with double battles. This is good because I love double battles over regular battles. It’s a bit of a let down though because if you thought that battle camera had problems in the regular game, wait till it has to deal with four Pokemon spaced apart. I spent battles with one Pokemon being completely invisible or off the screen. I started out one battle with the camera inside a hill and could not find a way out of said hill until after the battle.

Pokemon-Indigo-Disk-Selfie /

Even the ultimate prize for completing the Blueberry Academy’s Pokedex is fairly lackluster. You get the Mark Charm which increases the likelihood that the Pokemon you catch is going to have some sort of mark upon it which is fun if you have a whole bunch of Pokemon that come out as “[insert Pokemon name] the Gourmet” and you wanna change it up.

But all in all, it’s a pretty disappointing finale, especially given how great Sword and Shield’s DLC was. The Indigo Disk just feels like a place where you can go to unlock fetch quests. It feels like the sort of endgame content that SHOULD have been in a base game of Pokemon instead of a DLC over a year after the game’s release.

The one great thing, if I had to point out anything great with this DLC, is that with the release of this game, the focus is going to be on the next Pokemon game which, hopefully, isn’t going to be on the Switch 2 but also, hopefully, has actual work done on it.