Pokémon Scarlet & Violet - The Indigo Disk - Into The Terarium

21-11-2023 14:00 UTC by Joe Merrick (Serebii).

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet The Indigo Disk - The Terarium
Looking down on the Terarium

It has been over a year since Pokémon Scarlet & Violet launched and since the launch we've had dozens of events, Tera Raid Battle events and so much to keep us playing in the region of Paldea and this continued with the release of The Teal Mask back in September, and we're almost at the conclusion of the “The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero” DLC with the release of The Indigo Disk on December 14th 2023.

We were given some hands on time with this expansion, shortly after arriving at the Blueberry Academy and then a second play specifically focusing against one of the Blueberry Elite Four members, and were let loose in the new school to do whatever we wish, and so began my exploration of the Terarium, and a look at what's new with this DLC pack and how it feels and what I saw surprised me.

The Terarium

We started off entering the Terarium in the Blueberry Academy with Lacey and Cyrano where she explains what the Terarium is wit h projections of the passage of time and the sky through the dome, how they have a mysterious globe at the top which allows for Terastalisation, but Cyrano can't seem to remember what it is truly made out of which is a nice tantalising notion into how things may go. Lacey then explained how the Terarium has four different habitats, the Polar, the Savanna, the Coastal and the Canyon. These are the four quadrants of the area and house a variety of Pokémon, different in each area as you would expect. In the Coastal one you'd find a lot of water Pokémon, and ones like Alolan Exeggutor on the beach, Polar is filled with Ice-types like Alolan Sandshrew & Beartic, the Savanna had ones like Kantonian Tauros, Doduo, and Canyon had ones like Alolan Geodude, Tyrogue and so forth. This provides a lot of variety to the map.

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet The Indigo Disk - Alolan Exeggutor
Selfies with Alolan Exeggutor

That's right, despite the Blueberry Academy being in the Unova region, there is a lot of Regional Forms dotted throughout the Terarium. This made for a nice feeling of difference compared to the rest of the game as it was nice to just see these Pokémon out in the wild. It helps give the feeling that the Terarium is in essence akin to a Safari Zone where many wild Pokémon had been brought in from other regions. I did see both a Kantonian and an Alolan Exeggutor though which did get me wondering how an Exeggcute would evolve if I evolved it in the Terarium. I found an Exeggcute but was unable to find a Leaf Stone in time so that will be a question for the launch. There are, of course, a load of returning Pokémon throughout the Terarium, though I don't actually think I saw a single Paldean Pokémon among them in the wild but we saw many including Oricorio P'au Style, the one Oricorio not found in the wild in Scarlet & Violet yet, and the different Deerling & Sawsbuck in each biome which was also a nice touch. We were also told that the First Partner Pokémon would indeed be found throughout the Terarium but within my gameplay, I was unable to see any of them so they're either rare or there's something else to get them.

The map in all appeared to be much larger than Kitakami but not as big as Paldea so there's a lot to explore, but of course it being an artificial environment, it's not like Paldea where you'll have Towns and Villages to explore. Instead, you will find a lot of rest spots with various students throughout the area, as well as a big central one in the middle of the area where you typically interact with the story, heal your Pokémon, start the Union Circle or access the TM creating machine. However, this doesn't mean there isn't a lot to explore in the areas. I kept getting lost and distracted just looking around for all the various Pokémon.

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet The Indigo Disk - A Rest Stop
A Rest Stop with students in the Savanna Biome
Much of what you'd expect from Pokémon Scarlet & Violet is the same within the Terarium. You have Tera Raid Battle Crystals throughout the area, as well as Mass Outbreaks happening, large amounts of Pokémon and items everywhere. The items are a bit unusual in that in addition to the standard Berries, evolution items, Exp. Candy and even Sweets to evolve Milcery, you will find Tera Shards. What surprised me about this is the number of Tera Shards obtained from picking it up. When I picked up a Rock Tera Shard, it was actually 18 Rock Tera Shards which will be very useful in further reducing the grind that is necessary to change your Pokémon's Tera Type back in Paldea which is great for competitive play.

The Toughest Battles

That isn't all there is in the Terarium. Throughout the area you will find the students of the Blueberry Academy and they will want to battle you. The Blueberry Academy itself has a curriculum focused primarily around Pokémon battles and so the students here are definitely willing to battle you. As this DLC can only be accessed if you have completed The Way Home and The Teal Mask, these trainers are going to be high levelled. You'll find trainers from Level 60 throughout and to top it off, every single Trainer Battle I found in the Terarium is a Double Battle, which is a marked change from every main series game to date where they're primarily Single Battles with the occasional double battle.

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet The Indigo Disk - The Polar Biome with Alolan Sandshrew
The Polar Biome with Alolan Sandshrew

To top it off, like the Kitakami Ogre Clan of The Teal Mask, you will find some really tough trainers dotted around the Terarium. While I was exploring off the beaten path, I found one with a team in the Level 70s that actually proved a challenge. They were using some classic Double Battle strategies and had hold items on their Pokémon such as a Toxic Orb Toxic Boost Zangoose, double Intimidate strategies, Grassy Seed Whimsicott with Grassy Terrain and more. This is where the challenge will start to come in as with Double Battles, some of the more complex strategies behind Pokémon will come out and these trainers will use those against you. Even if your teams are Level 80 and above, you may find them trickier than you would think for a standard play through of a Pokémon game.

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet The Indigo Disk - Amarys
Amarys - One of the Blueberry Elite Four

This compounded with the second part of the preview we got to play where we got to face off against one of the Blueberry Elite Four, Amarys. This started off with a trial, much like how the Gyms had trials to complete in Paldea, and this one was the one shown in trailers where you could properly fly on Koraidon/Miraidon, and I had to get to the end of the course while flying through all the rings. This lulled me into a false sense of security when it wasn't that tricky, but the battle itself was a different matter. We were told going in that a different save was made for this as the team of Level 80 Pokémon we had for the first part of the preview just couldn't handle facing off against Amarys so instead we had a new team of Level 88 Pokémon with competitive movesets and hold items, yet despite that we were all told to expect to lose it, and going in I could see why. Straight off the bat, Amarys went in with some classic and brutal Double Battle strategies, and every Pokémon on her team felt like it had a means to counter any possible weakness. Luckily, I've got the experience in VGC and Pokémon in general so I managed to navigate some strategies from the outset, and defeated Amarys without using any Revives or Potions provided but it stunned me in how tough it was. It reminded me more of what you see towards the later levels of a Battle Tower facility than what you'd get while playing through the main story or even post-game of a main series Pokémon game.

Obviously if you have a team of Level 100 Pokémon you'll get the advantage and it'll be less difficult, but such level increases mean a lot less here in comparison with The Teal Mask. The Blueberry Elite Four can seemingly be done in any order so it's likely they'll all be able to be such a challenge, but it makes me very curious how the later content in The Indigo Disk will go in terms of difficulty.

New Moves For All

I did get a look at some of the new Technical Machines that are being introduced in The Indigo Disk. There's a mix of returning moves as TMs such as Expanding Force, Triple Axel, Skitter Smack, Meteor Beam, Breaking Swipe, Scorching Sands, Curse, Coaching, Electro Web and more, as well as some new moves including the Worlds reveals of Upper Hand and Psychic Noise, as well as some new moves like Supercharged Cell and Hard Press, which is a Steel move which does more damage the higher the target's Hit Points. These competitive moves play on the battle focus that The Blueberry Academy has and really makes me intrigued to see where it will take competitive strategies over the next year or so.


So, as we know from The Teal Mask, the Blueberry Academy is in the Unova Region and there's inspiration from it everywhere. The music has some elements from that region throughout, such as the Wild Pokémon theme basically being a remix of that. It put a big smile on my face when I heard it for the first time. There are other inspirations from Unova, Alola and other Pokémon games throughout the area, which I unfortunately can't disclose just yet, which are just fun to have.


Of course I would be remiss to not address one of the big elements that work against Scarlet & Violet, the performance. Obviously this was a pre-launch build so subject to change but the performance did seem ok. It was definitely not worse than Pokémon Scarlet & Violet has been up to this point, and may have felt even smoother than before, but it was not without its flaws or slowdowns but I had no slowdowns which felt like Casseroya Lake in Version 1.1, just a few drops here and there. Basically, it's still Pokémon Scarlet & Violet so don't go in expecting a massive overhaul.


Obviously I could only see a small snapshot of the Indigo Disk in this preview and couldn't dive in to the full elements of it, and not into the Area Zero endgame that they have been teasing with Terapagos, but from what I've seen so far, The Indigo Disk is shaping up to be one of the biggest expansions Pokémon has seen, and certainly one of the toughest challenges Pokémon has had outside of the Battle Frontiers, Battle Towers and Eternal Battle Reverie.

What I played put a smile on my face. I loved exploring the various parts of the Terarium and the notion of the Blueberry Elite Four being amongst the strongest trainers that have existed in Pokémon games to date is wild. There's much more that can't be shared right now but this truly feels like Pokémon Scarlet & Violet's endgame and I am looking forward to diving in more next month.

Preview Video