Pokemon Scarlet & Violet – The Indigo Disk preview: New biomes are a breath of fresh air

Nathan Ellingsworth
A pokemon trainer does the peace symbol for a selfie, while two Alolan Exeggutor appear in the backgroundGame Freak/The Pokemon Company

The final installment of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’s DLC is imminent, and The Indido Disk is set to whisk players away to Blueberry Academy. With fresh challenges, returning characters, and some thrilling new biomes, here’s what we thought.

Pokemon fans are all set to go on one final adventure with Generation Nine, with the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet The Indigo Disk DLC coming this December. Following hot on the heels of the first DLC expansion, The Indigo Disk takes players on a trip to the exotic Blueberry Academy.

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In anticipation of one final journey with our Paldean pals, we recently went hands-on with The Indigo Disk, playing just over an hour of gameplay along with exploring the regions surrounding Blueberry Academy and some fierce Pokemon battles.

With some interesting story developments, alongside a slew of returning Pocket Monsters, The Indigo Disk is poised to give returning Pokemon Scarlet and Violet players plenty to do over the holidays. Here are our thoughts.

The Indigo Disk brings interesting story developments and a condensed but diverse world

Fans who have already explored The Teal Mask and the region of Kitikami may have an idea of what to expect, as The Indigo Disk follows a similar format, adding a brand new region to the map. The region is based around Blueberry Academy, a place for eager students to test their battle skills, and home to several distinct biomes offering a wide variety of creatures to catch.

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One thing worth noting is that The Indigo Disk is a direct sequel to The Teal Mask, and players must complete both the main Pokemon Scarlet and Violet campaign and then The Teal Mask DLC before they can access this final chapter. There’s still plenty of time to do this thankfully, and the story feels better served by being a direct continuation.

The most apparent thing when exploring The Indigo Disk is that the region is split into four distinct biomes: The Savannah, Coastal, Canyon, and Polar. They all feature vastly different layouts, weather, and Pokemon and the separate areas are nicely reminiscent of the areas from Pokemon Legends: Arceus, but being able to traverse the entire map as a single world is a blast.

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With such a vast difference between the region’s four biomes, the contrast in both visual and layout is stark, and it’s fun being able to glide from a frozen cliff edge, and eventually trudge your way to a distant swamp. Even with just the four separate biomes, there’s a lot to discover and plenty of interesting landmarks to explore.

Eager Pokemon Scarlet and Violet players will also enjoy the selection of returning Pokemon, who roam the world at significantly higher levels than in previous regions. Trailers have revealed the addition of Starter Pokemon to the region (now called First Partner Pokemon), but in our travels, we spotted old favorites like Vulpix and Alolan Exeggutor, and also had tough battles with jacked-up roaming beasts like Metang and Rhydon.

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Smaller in size but wider in scope

A Pokemon trainer stands on a hill, overlooking the four biomes from The Indigo Disk DLCGame Freak/The Pokemon Company

The game’s visuals are on par with the existing title, however, like in The Teal Mask the condensing of different types of foliage and biodiversity benefits the world, often looking more appealing than the occasionally barren plains of Paldea.

The performance felt notably similar to the base game, providing a smooth and immersive experience. On top of this, the region surrounding Blueberry Academy feels similar in size to The Teal Mask, if perhaps a little larger, and despite the different types of wildlife, the game didn’t struggle egregiously as we explored.

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Perhaps the biggest changes were in the form of battles, and the challenges awaiting players. While returning characters Carmine and Kieran are already revealed for the DLC, we also got to battle a member of Blueberry Academy’s Elite Four.

To reach the new trainer Amarys, players must complete an Elite Four Challenge, using the trusty Koriadon or Miraidon to fly through a series of rings. Only when this task is completed, can players actually challenge Amarys. We don’t know yet what the other Elite Four Challenges will be, but considering Amarys’ flying challenge felt a little simple, we hope the next ones add a greater challenge and a bit of variety.

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Speaking of challenge, the highlight of our preview was a fierce battle with Amarys. It’s clear that Game Freak is putting trainers to the test, as Amarys’ team is a surprisingly clever spread of different types, moves, and even items. Our first encounter with Blueberry Academy’s Elite Four gives us hope of a true challenge that long-time fans will relish.

Elite Four trainer Amarys holds a Poke Ball in her handGame Freak/The Pokemon Company

Even the trainers scattered around the many biomes offer a decent challenge, as all the prospective opponents have some high-level creatures at their disposal, and there’s an increased focus on double battles. The Indigo Disk feels like a great opportunity to bring in some mid or high-level Pokemon (maybe not your level 100 Mewtwo), and for fans to give themselves the challenge that so many demand.

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The greater focus on challenge is also apparent in some of the new moves. The brand new attack Psychic Noise deals damage and also prevents the opponent from healing, while the new move Upper Hand strikes first if the opponent uses a priority move like Bullet Punch.

We certainly hope the rest of The Indigo Disk takes advantage of this, and frankly, we’d love to see anything akin to the Battle Frontier so fans can just battle to their heart’s content. For now, the new moves and increased challenge are a good omen, and we enjoyed the actual threat of defeat looming. There was at least one wipeout in our session, and our Elite Four battle was a very narrow victory.

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The Pokemon Rhydon roars as it enters battleGame Freak/The Pokemon Company

Other fun additions include the new Blueberry Academy tasks, as players can explore the world, catch Pokemon, and use other ways to interact with the world to earn some rewards. These break up the exploration nicely, and the move to incentivize catching and travel is appreciated.

Ultimately there is still so much to learn about The Indigo Disk, but we’re optimistic. The early moments seem to plant the seeds for some interesting character development, and Blueberry Academy is a thrill to explore thanks to genuinely tough battles, alongside the greater variety of biodiversity in a well-sized region. With so much to see, we’re eager to learn about the many other secrets clearly lying in wait.

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From our time exploring Blueberry Academy, Pokemon fans are in for a real treat this Holiday, and Pokemon Scarlet and Violet could end up as many player’s favorite games.

For now, if you’re getting ready to dive back into Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, be sure to check out our great guides below.

Where to find Noibat & Noivern in Scarlet & Violet | Where to find Spiritomb in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet Where to find Igglybuff, Jigglypuff, Wigglytuff & Paradox Form in Scarlet & Violet | How to get Misreavus, Mismagius & Flutter Mane | How to get Delibird & Iron Bundle | How to get Makuhita, Hariyama & Iron Hands | How to get Basculin & Basculegion | Where to find Swablu & Altaria in Scarlet & Violet | Where to find Sneasel, Weavile & Sneasler | Where to find Orthworm | Where to find Mimikyu in Scarlet & Violet | Where to find Ditto in Scarlet & Violet | How to get Eevee & Eeveelutions in Scarlet & Violet | Where to find Fidough & Dachsbun | How to get all starters in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet

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