Today's Pokémon Direct revealed the very first DLC expansion pass for a Pokémon game. Abandoning the long-running tradition of 'updated' or 'third' game releases such as Yellow, Crystal, Black 2/White 2, Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon for 2 expansion packs for your existing Pokémon Sword and Shield saves.
Available as the Pokémon Sword Expansion Pass and Pokémon Shield Expansion Pass for £26.99 each, the two DLC packs will feature slight differences depending on which game you have, such as the Pokémon available within them.
The first pack, The Isle of Armor will see players visiting an island inspired by the Isle of Man, just off the coast of the UK. This large island is full of environments not seen elsewhere in Galar, including wave-swept beaches, forests, bogs, caves and sand dunes. Over 100 returning Pokémon such as the Talonflame, Lycanroc and Kingdra lines can be found in this area - with the entire new location fully explorable in the same manner as Galar's central Wild Area.
A dojo can be found here run by a former Galar Champion, and Leon's former mentor, Mustard. Legendary within the Galar Region for holding the title of Champion for 18 consecutive years - prior to the phenomenon of Dynamaxing taking over - Mustard will help train you and brand new Legendary Pokémon Kubfu.
Category: Wushu Pokémon
Weight: 26.5 lbs.
Ability: Inner Focus
This Pokémon is hardworking and strives to train both its body and mind. It uses each defeat as motivation, training itself with even more vigor after a loss in order to grow stronger. It has an organ that produces “fighting energy” in its lower abdomen, and before heading into battle, Kubfu will increase this energy through unique breathing techniques and intense focus. Wild Kubfu live in mountainous areas far away from the Galar region, but it was once a species that called Galar its home. It’s noted in historical texts that this species used to head to uncharted lands with people as they set out to trade or explore. Records suggest that the Kubfu living in faraway mountains today may have descended from Kubfu that became naturalized to the distant lands they visited in their journeys.
Depending on the choices you make during the Isle of Armor adventure, Kubfu can evolve into one of two forms of Urshifu:
Urshifu (Single Strike Style)
Category: Wushu Pokémon
Weight: 231.5 lbs.
Ability: Unseen Fist
Urshifu (Rapid Strike Style)
Category: Wushu Pokémon
Weight: 231.5 lbs.
Ability: Unseen Fist
Urshifu in Single Strike Style form favor battling without holding anything back. When enraged, they will mercilessly attack an opponent until it is utterly defeated. A Single Strike Style Urshifu’s movements are often direct and involve rushing forward in a straight line. It will keep its distance from its opponents at first only to leap in close instantly to deliver a powerful blow. Urshifu in Rapid Strike Style form maintain a calm demeanor, observing their opponents and measuring their strength while dodging attacks. A Rapid Strike Style Urshifu will use flowing movements in battle to smoothly parry an opponent’s moves and then overwhelm the opponent with a flurry of rapid strikes.
Single Strike Style Urshifu and Rapid Strike Style Urshifu also have Gigantamax forms. Gigantamax Single Strike Style Urshifu looks ready to bellow in fury. People call it both “the very embodiment of rage” and “a divine emissary that banishes evil spirits with its fury.” Gigantamax Rapid Strike Style Urshifu will quietly maintain its stance with a calm expression. When facing this Pokémon, it seems some will become greatly agitated, feeling as if the very depths of their soul have been exposed. Yet others report feeling a sense of relief, as if they’d been cleansed of evil spirits.
As well as these new Pokémon and the return of several old favourites, the Isle of Armor also adds new Galarian forms for Slowpoke and Slowbro and new Gigantamax forms for the Galarian starters, Rillaboom, Cinderace and Inteleon. Rather than catching these new Gigantamax forms in raids, you'll actually be able to help your own Pokémon be able to Gigantamax through a new feature or NPC added with this expansion. Gigantamax versions of Venusaur and Blastoise have also been teased.
Rillaboom’s tree-stump drum has grown rapidly—to the point that it now resembles a small forest on its own. Gigantamax Rillaboom has merged with this forest of drums and become even more powerful. It can control its sticks as if they were its own limbs and will demonstrate transcendental drumming techniques. Gigantamax Rillaboom will focus completely on playing its drums, compelled by the power welling up inside it. The sound can reach across oceans and be heard by those living in other regions. It’s said that those who hear the beat will begin to dance uncontrollably, overwhelmed by a rhythm that surges from inside them.
The burning ball at Cinderace’s feet has grown to massive proportions thanks to Gigantamax energy. If Gigantamax Cinderace kicks the ball using its well-honed techniques, its fighting spirit will possess the ball and cause the ball to pursue opponents as if it had a mind of its own. Gigantamax Cinderace boasts incredible leg strength—in fact, its legs are said to rank among the strongest of all Pokémon. Even without its gigantic Pyro Ball, it can deliver powerful kicking moves that overwhelm other Dynamax Pokémon.
Inteleon has gained an extremely long tail thanks to Gigantamaxing. The tail’s length is said to be over 130 feet. While Gigantamaxed, Inteleon will stretch its long tail out and hold it straight to form a pillar, and Inteleon will take up a battle position at the top. This Pokémon has an incredibly sharp mind and calculates the precise effects that gravity will have on the trajectory of its shots, enabling it to be an extremely effective sniper. Inteleon has many hidden tools within its body, and these have also been enhanced due to its Gigantamaxing. The nictitating membranes on its eyes not only allow it to measure the distance to the target—they now let Inteleon detect temperature, air pressure, and even humidity. Inteleon is a skilled sniper as well—easily hitting a Berry that’s rolling around over nine miles away.
Category: Dopey Pokémon
Weight: 79.4 lbs.
Ability: Gluttony / Own Tempo
The Slowpoke of the Galar region used to eat the seeds of a certain plant that grew in their habitat. These seeds were in fact Galarica seeds, used to this day as an essential spice for cooking in the Galar region. The Slowpoke in Galar built up particles of this spice in their bodies over several generations, eventually gaining the unique appearance and behavior they are known for today. Galarian Slowpoke spend their days wallowing on seashores and riverbanks without thinking about anything in particular. Occasionally, they might get a very sharp look in their eyes, but they will soon revert to their zoned-out expression. It’s thought that this behavior is caused by the accumulated Galarica particles stimulating Galarian Slowpoke’s brain, resulting in it thinking of something tremendous—only for the Galarian Slowpoke to immediately forget what it had just thought of. Galarian Slowpoke can evolve into Galarian Slowbro if an item that can be found on the Isle of Armor is used. It can evolve into Galarian Slowking instead if an item that can be found in the Crown Tundra is used.
A free patch for Pokémon Sword and Shield, available now, includes a gift of a Galarian Slowpoke (though you'll have to wait to be able to evolve it) and introduces characters from the Isle of Armor expansion. Visit the train station in Wedgehurst to trigger the new cut-scene and, depending on which game you're playing, you'll meet either Klara (Sword) or Avery (Shield) - who will appear as rivals within the new expansion's adventure.
Avery, Mustard and Klara
They’re skilled Trainers of Poison-type Pokémon and Psychic-type Pokémon, respectively, and they’re training hard so that they can someday set up a Gym and stadium for their own type. Trainers will face a different rival depending on which game they’re playing. Klara specializes in Poison-type Pokémon and is training hard at Mustard’s dojo. She’ll do just about anything to appear adorable and cute, as popularity is what she admires most of all. She goes about her days with a smile on her face, but hiding behind it is a calculating nature that she puts to very good use. Avery is one of the Trainers who strive to become stronger at Mustard’s dojo, and he is a proficient user of Psychic-type Pokémon. He is gentlemanly and well-mannered but also very proud.
The first expansion also adds new clothing items, new items such as a currently undetailed 'Exp Charm', new tutor moves that have "never been available in past Pokémon core series games" and a new "Restricted Sparring" battle feature, where Trainers will be limited in what types of Pokémon they can use and are forced to battle under set conditions.
The second expansion, meanwhile, The Crown Tundra is set in a snowy landscape inspired by Scotland. A 'certain person' will appoint you as leader of their exploration team of this frigid landscape. We haven't seen a huge amount of specific details about this later expansion, but in your exploration of the Crown Tundra, you'll also be able to fully explore Pokémon Dens in a new co-op feature.
These seem to be more complete co-operative dungeons that will see a wider variety of gameplay as well as the Max Raids we're already familiar with. In these battles, you'll be able to encounter and capture a wide variety of returning Legendary Pokémon from Mewtwo to Lunala.
Those aren't the only Legendary Pokémon starring in this expansion, though. A brand new Pokémon called Calyrex will be the starring feature, but there are also what appear to be brand new Regi-style legendaries and apparent Galarian forms of Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres.
Category: King Pokémon
Weight: 17 lbs.
Trainers will encounter Calyrex in The Crown Tundra. This Pokémon ruled all of Galar in ancient times. Though it appears delicate and slight, its every move is filled with grace and dignity. It also has extremely high intelligence, and it’s said to see every past, present, and future event.
These Pokémon join a further 100+ returning Pokémon, even more customisation options and even more besides.
The first expansion, Isle of Armor, will be available this June, while The Crown Tundra will be available in the Autumn. The Expansion Pass is available for pre-purchase today for both Pokémon Sword and Shield. Anyone who pre-purchases the pass will also receive a Mystery Gift code for Pikachu and Eevee styled uniforms, that you can use right now.
In other news today, Pokémon Home was finally confirmed for release next month in February. No further details were divulged about the mobile app, but we do know that when the new expansions are available, you'll be able to transfer in Pokémon that appear within them from previous games via Home.
If you only own Pokémon Sword or Shield and do not have the Expansion Pass, you'll still be able to access these added Pokémon either by trading returning Pokémon in via Home, by being traded them by someone who does have the expansion, or by joining in with raids hosted by those exploring the new expansion areas.
Meanwhile, a Switch remake of the original Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Red & Blue Explorer games, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, was announced for release on the 6th March. This (mind-numbingly repetitive) dungeon crawling game, originally released in 2006 on both the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS has been given a visual makeover to present the entire game in the pencilled-artwork style that the original used in certain pieces of in-game artwork.
While gameplay and - somewhat oddly, given the original features Pokémon from just the first three Generations of games - Pokémon appearing are pretty much the same as they were over 13 years ago, there are a few new features being added to this version:
- Auto mode: Starting with this title, an auto-mode feature has been added that lets players progress through their adventures more easily. By just pressing the L Button, the main character and their team will move efficiently. When a player approaches an enemy, auto mode will turn off automatically.
- Unleash moves automatically with the A Button: Ordinarily the player would select from one of four moves to use on an enemy. When players aren’t sure which move to use, they can get the enemy right in front of them and press the A Button to automatically unleash the best move to use on that foe.
- Up to eight Pokémon can travel with you: When Trainers depart for a dungeon, they can have three members on their team as usual, but in this title, they can also add Pokémon they encounter as they go through dungeons to get up to eight teammates walking through a dungeon with them.
You will also be able to manually select the Pokémon you wish to play as, unlike the original game's personality-quiz used to determine this for you.
- Fainting in a dungeon: If a player is defeated in a dungeon, they can ask for other players to rescue them, or they can rescue themselves with another of their own rescue teams. Then they’ll be able to resume their adventure from where they fainted.
A demo is available on the eShop today and any progress you make will carry over into the full game when it releases in a couple of months.
We're pretty glad here at Pokecharms Towers to see a modern approach being taken for this year's main series Pokémon content and we're looking forward to more information on the Expansion Pass content coming throughout this year. Let us know your thoughts below! The full 20 minute Pokémon Direct can be watched back here: