Catch or release? Return to Paldea to find out in our Pokemon Scarlet: The Teal Mask DLC review!
It’s been nearly a year since the release of the latest Pokémon instalment, Scarlet and Violet (which you can read our full review of here). Despite mixed reception, mostly with negative criticism to the performance and graphics, the first expansion has just been released.
Wait, this isn’t a whole game?
Titled The Secret of Area Zero, it has been split into two parts which is a first for the long running series. The Teal Mask (part 1) introduces a new area, new characters, and a whole bunch of new and returning Pokémon! However, is it worth bringing back out your Pokeballs for? Find out in our review!
Look at that amazing pixelated view.
Pokémon Scarlet: The Teal Mask DLC Review – Story
One good thing about this first DLC is that you can start it at almost any point in your main adventure. As long as you’ve started the main quest in Scarlet/Violet, you will receive a call from Professor Jacq telling you he wants you to return to the academy to introduce you to someone.
These local greeting customs seem rude.
A teacher from Blueberry Academy, Mrs Briar, has travelled all the way to Paldea to collect a few students for their annual trip to the Kitakami region. Based on the mountain areas in Japan, you meet up with a few Blueberry Academy students and must team up to track down 3 signs recounting the tale of the local folklore. Your arrival just so happens to coincide with an annual event called the Festival of Masks which also ties to the story.
The fact you don’t get to choose or even wear a mask is disappointing.
You meet Carmine and her little brother Kieran who grew up in this small town and along the way you find out more about the tale of the Loyal Three Pokémon who defended the citizens from a terrifying ogre. This is loosely based on the Japanese legend of Momotaro with a few differences to suit the inclusion of Pokémon. Of course, the tale doesn’t tell the full story and you find out soon enough that the people have it all wrong when you run into the Ogre himself, a Pokémon by the name of Ogerpon.
I’m not sure why people are so scared of this ‘lil guy.
Without spoiling anything further, the ending is relatively predictable but it does show Kieran as going from a shy kind boy, to an angry and competitive youth who vows to best you and your team. The ending states it is to be continued with the assumption that part 2, The Indigo Disk, will take place in the region where Blueberry Academy is located, which is set to be released before the end of the year.
It’s like he wants to be the very best or something.
Pokémon Scarlet: The Teal Mask DLC Review – Gameplay
As stated previously, you can begin this expansion whenever you wish and can fly back and forth between areas. However, if you start prior to completing the Pokémon league in the main game, all levels in the DLC will be significantly lower, around 10-30. If you want a bigger challenge then wait until your main journey is finished and your opponents will be between 50-70. Either way there is the timeless forest area which contains high level Pokémon and all legendries are level 70 regardless.
Found Gyarados, am happy.
You also receive a new Pokedex to complete with additional rewards. Containing 200 volumes (with some cross over) it’s still a decent undertaking if your goal is to catch ’em all. With hidden caves, night time only Pokémon and a few rare Pokémon, this will be the bulk of your time with the expansion.
Small map, lots of Pokemon.
Aside from a few new photo poses and even a Roto Stick (selfie stick) there isn’t a great deal new to the gameplay section with the exception of additional TMs. There does seem to be an abundance of items littered across Kitakami, stopping almost every few metres to find something.
Pokémon Scarlet: The Teal Mask DLC Review – Presentation
As one the main issues in the initial release, the graphics and performance don’t seem to be upgraded at all. With some areas that are filled with Pokémon creating a bit of lag and even screen tear when played in docked mode. If you can accept the shortcomings from the initial release then there isn’t an issue here, just unfortunate an opportunity to improve certain aspects were squandered.
The temple of doom! I mean masks…
Along with the graphics, not much has been added to the audio side of things, bar the few additional background tracks when exploring the new map. That isn’t necessarily bad as the relaxing melodies of the local inspired tunes are fantastic whilst hunting across the landscape for those hard-to-find Pokémon.
Milotic, a classic!
Pokémon Scarlet: The Teal Mask DLC Review – What Else?
The main story only takes around 2 – 3 hours to complete depending how often you stop to catch some Pokémon. With no other side quests, bases, or titan battles to take on there is only two small mini games you can enjoy. The first is basically just a fruit collection time-based game that is easier than it is fun. Netting no decent rewards its almost as if this was put in the game to pad it out.
So much fun… not.
The other is a little more fun, thankfully. You meet a photographer by the name of Perrin who requests you to catch 150 of the Kitakami Pokedex before talking to you further. Then you unlock a series of photography minigames reminiscent of the classic Pokémon snap. Whilst enjoyable you also get to catch a few rare Pokémon during her questline too.
The story of the Teal Mask is the main draw here, with a great folklore tale unravelling as you adventure across the small region of Kitakami. This is almost a must play if you intend on playing the Indigo Disk as it will continue the characters story found here.
It’s over already?!
Unless you lose your poke eggs at the notion of filling your Pokedex, this expansion offers little more than that. Short and sweet is the key word here and is probably better waiting for it to go on sale.
So, why should you play The Teal Mask?
- Nearly 200 additional Pokémon to catch
- Interesting new story
- Reintroduces some Japanese culture into this Pokémon Gen
But why Shouldn’t you play The Teal Mask?
- Relatively small map
- Very short story
- Aside from catching them all, not much else to do
A review code was kindly provided by Nintendo Australia for the purpose of our Pokémon Scarlet: The Teal Mask DLC review. If you haven’t already, be sure to have a read of our Pokémon Scarlet review and join the Qualbert Discord to find out about the next part of the DLC when it drops.