isle of armor feature image

Pokemon Isle of Armor DLC Review

Pokemon Sword and Shield have just released their first piece of DLC, the Isle of Armor. This is a departure from the normal model presented from Pokemon. How well it will turn out still remains to be seen, there is a second DLC coming for these games later this year. 

There is also a big announcement this coming Thursday, 25th of June, for Pokemon. 

I wrote up a preview for the Isle of Armor DLC recently, explaining what to look forward to. So how did it turn out?

isle of armor map

I’ll say this upfront that the Isle of Armor, at least as far as the story is concerned, is pretty short. Based on my initial experience I think this is it’s biggest downfall, more on that though as we go.

2 caveats to this, firstly the second DLC is presented at least as being much larger. The second one is that there are a lot of Pokemon added and some neat side activities that you can do. 

So I think the key takeaway is that this isn’t a total bust. If enough is added in the second DLC, the Crown Tundra, then the price of the Expansion Pass will be justified. Currently the expansion pass is £25 on the Nintendo E-shop. You have to buy the pass as a whole and you will need a pass for each Pokemon Sword and Shield.

galarian slowbro

What’s it about?

Simply put, you go to an island. On this island there is a dojo that is run by the former champion of the Galar region, Mustard. Mustard holds the record for the longest held champion title and has set up this Dojo to train the next generation of trainers.

Joining the dojo as a student under Mustard, you and the rest of the students are given three trials. These are put together to leave one trainer standing on top of the others. This one trainer will receive the dojos “secret armor”.

isle of armor mustard

The first trial is my favourite, it’s a small addition and has zero impact on anything. That being said, the first trial is for you to have to chase after some Slowpoke that have stolen a uniform. That seems easy right? Well actually no. Mustard has specifically trained these Slowpoke to be super fast. It’s ridiculous and I love it. When you find them in the world, they are running around with huge dust clouds being kicked up behind them.

I’m not gonna talk too much on each trial and the rest of the story. It’s short but it isn’t bad, I think it’s a good first attempt at a story-ish based DLC. I think the only improvement that I would make to the story section, is to just make it longer. Add more, maybe some kind of threat before the end. I don’t know. Like have Team Rocket storm the island and try to steal the Slowpoke or something. Just give you more story to follow before it finishes.

Galarian slowpoke

I will mention some interesting points along your journey though. Just the things that I think are worthy of mention. 

The first, after you complete the first trial you are awarded either a Bulbasaur or a Squirtle. These are special though as they have the Gigantamax ability. So when you have fully evolved these you will have access to either G-Max Venusaur or Blastoise. Of note with these specifically, they are presented to you in the overworld and when you walk closer to them they both smile. It’s adorable! Squirtle even wags its tail.

Next, during an important battle actual cheating occurs. What’s more, this cheating is acknowledged, by both the perpetrator and by Mustard. I think this may be one of the few times you experience real battle changing cheating, and for that cheating to be called out. Lance never gets called out for his ridiculous Dragonite, so it’s a very nice touch.

isle of armor klara

This actually brings me to another point that I wish to discuss briefly. I only played the DLC for Pokemon Sword so my rival here was Klara. What a flawed character. In a perfect way. She is presented in a very real way, and her actions seem realistic based on her circumstances. It may just be my humble opinion but I think she may be one of the best rival characters in Pokemon because of how she is presented. It’s a shame you don’t get a lot more time with her.

FInally to round this section off is Kubfu. The cutest little bear that could. When your character is introduced to this little Pokemon a little martial arts montage is shown. It shows Kubfu very animated. Not only is it one of the cutest things you’ll ever see but it’s very much above the Pokemon standard. A lot of work definitely went into this little scene and I would be remiss not to praise it.

What’s new?

I’ll just say it here, there are quite a lot of new things on the Isle of Armor. Not all of it adds a lot to the game, so with that in mind. I’ll write this more as a list, just giving a brief description of each thing. That, I think, would be the best way to present this.

Style card – You are given this almost as soon as you get to the island. You can take this to the mainland to unlock new clothing and hairstyles.

Diglett hunt – This is an odd one. Basically a guy wants you to find all 150 Alolan Diglett that are hiding on the island. As you find them this guy will give you Pokemon. Most of them are Alolan form Pokemon.

Exp charm – You can get this upon your first visit to the dojo. This just increases the experience that you gain.

Cram-O-Matic – This is a weird machine to say the least. It’s cool though. It’s a machine that will take 4 of your items and spit out a new one. You can get some really cool items from it. Serebii has a list with some recipes.

isle of armor cramomatic

Apricorns – These go hand in hand with the Cram-O-Matic. Apricorns are back, all the way from Generation 2. You can put Apricorns into the Cram-O-Matic and produce special Pokeballs.

Amorite – This is a resource that can be used for a move tutor in the dojo. Giving you access to new and special moves for your Pokemon.

Follower Pokemon – It’s back! Mostly. After a little while you will be allowed to have Pokemon follow you. It’s pretty cute seeing a little Kubfu running after you.

Spend your watts – This is a strange one, you can spend your watts to upgrade the dojo. You get a computer added and a vending machine for example. If you give enough then eventually you can unlock a secret boss fight too.

Restricted sparring – After finishing the story of the DLC you will gain access to these. It functions like most Battle Towers. The main difference is that you choose a single type, then you can take 3 Pokemon of that type.

Customizing the bike – This is a small thing but I love it. You can customize your bike a little. There are 2 choices, white and black. Both of these designs sparkle and have cute little trails behind them. They look really good.

isle of armor black bike

What’s wrong?

One big issue with this DLC, I mentioned it above, it’s just plain too short. I finished the story in a single evening. 

The island is pretty big, there are loads of new Pokemon to catch, and there are a lot of things to collect. All of these are positives, and I really did enjoy it. I just can’t get past the fact that there is not enough to go through. I’ve made a suggestion above for how they could have lengthened the story.

isle of armor kubfu

I think this will be the biggest off-put for most people which I do understand.

The only other problem that I have for the DLC, is the lack of new Pokemon. Or new forms. There is the Slowpoke and Slowbro, as well as Kubfu and Urshifu, but that’s about it. I would have liked there to be at least a dozen or so new Pokemon or Galarian forms. It sort of seems that they are leaving a lot of the extra content and Pokemon for the second DLC.

Verdict?

Overall I enjoyed my time on the Isle of Armor and would recommend it to anyone that really likes Sword and Shield.

isle of armor max soup

It is a pretty short experience but it is delightful and there are quite a few side activities to do. Luckily the expansion pass does come with the second DLC, Crown Tundra, that appears to have a lot more content. 

Can’t be sure whether the expansion pass will be worthy or not. So far though I’m not sure that the Isle of Armor is enough on its own.

Pokemon Isle of Armor DLC Review.
Written by Kyle Munn

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