Review: Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: The Teal Mask

Somebody stop me

Posted 14 September 2023 by Chris Carter

When we originally reviewed Pokemon Scarlet & Violet, we went with a dual-pronged approach. One person reviewed Scarlet and gave it a 6/10. Another person reviewed Violet and gave it…a 6/10. Do you sense a pattern here? They had their finger on the pulse of much of the community.

As for me, I enjoyed this latest ‘Mon generation a little more than Eric and CJ, even if I was fully cognizant of the rough start (and to be clear, continued existence). The Teal Mask doesn’t really move the needle in any significant way. It’s more Pokemon S&V, for better and worse.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet: The Teal Mask (Nintendo Switch)
Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: September 13, 2023
MSRP: $34.99 (Season Pass with Teal Mask and Indigo Disk)

Let’s go over what you’re getting in this DLC, so you can immediately size it up:

  • A small handful of new Pokemon to capture (Dipplin, Poltchageist, Sinistcha, Munkidori, Okidogi, Fezandipiti, and the “box Pokemon” Ogerpon)
  • 102 returning Pokemon to catch
  • A new smallish map/region called Kitakami, which the entire DLC takes place in, and you can swap between it and Paldea at will
  • A short campaign, some sidequests, outfits, and extras

For most Scarlet & Violet players, whether you ran for the hills and sold your copy already (or were so engrossed that you completed your Paldean ‘Dex), you can scan this bulleted list and immediately tell if it’s worth shelling out the roughly $17.50 USD it costs to jump back in.

Teal Mask is a bit strange because you’re primarily buying a new sandbox to play around in. The story is only four or five hours tops (shorter if you’re blazing through and have powerful Pokemon), and it kind of just…ends with a tease for the next DLC. The campaign will roughly adapt/scale to the number of badges you’ve obtained, and I highly recommend that you enter the DLC before you complete the main game.

Screenshot by Destructoid

The catch-22 of this late-to-market DLC is that most of the player base that would be interested in it already have a monster party of level 100 titans at their disposal; which will absolutely crush the 60-70-max level range of foes that Teal Mask offers. That’s not ideal! There are several boss fights in this DLC where you can clearly see an intended curveball; but you’d have to bring in weaker Pokemon on purpose to truly enjoy it. Level-scaling is always a tough mechanic to design around, but Game Freak has always struggled with it, Teal Mask included.

A lot of that story centers around two groups: siblings named Carmine and Kieran, and the history of a Pokemon native to the Kitakami region named Ogrepon. Curiously, both of them intersect in a fairly interesting way, and the micro-narrative involving Ogrepon was cute. Carmine and Kieran are going to be as polarizing as pretty much every side character not named Gary in the series, however, so there’s that. Hardcore fans are already prepared to set their default expectations to “annoying,” but this brother and sister combo can grate, let me tell you.

The part that I really enjoyed was Kitakami itself. Much like the original, I found myself roaming around in full 30-minute spurts and not even realizing it. I would come across a Pokemon I vaguely thought I hadn’t captured before constantly, and/or try to trek to the highest mountaintop and dive into the deepest caves to find more quarry. Performance issues aside (which are still very much present), it’s a ton of fun to just let loose in a low-stakes world and explore. It’s always been one of the key components that drew me to the series since I picked up my copy of Pokemon Red, and Game Freak keeps that streak going with Kitakami.

Screenshot by Destructoid

If anything, I wish there was more to it. There are a few story bits that go into the historical significance of the region, what sets it apart from say, Kanto, and it has some visual flair that looks more impressive than any single portion of Paldea, sans Mesagoza. But if nothing from Scarlet & Violet proper wowed you in any way, I’d keep your expectations in check here. There are a few sidequests, which I won’t spoil here, that are fun to discover and work through, too (as well as a selfie stick that should have been patched into the main game earlier to improve the default photo mode).

That’s pretty much all that Teal Mask has to offer. You’ll spend about five hours finishing up the story, and 10-15 hours cleaning up everything else, with a full Kitakami ‘Dex. I really hope Indigo Disk brings it, because at present, the current incarnation of the season pass is tough to recommend.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game purchased by the reviewer.]



Slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy them a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.

About The Author
Chris Carter
EIC, Reviews Director - Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step in January of 2009 blogging on the site. Now, he's staff!
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