Today’s article generally spoils the whole of the (main, non-DLC) plot of Pokémon Violet/Scarlet. If that is something that would concern you, then you don’t have to look at any of today’s images. If you are perfectly okay with this, then open the following letter…
SBC #09 Pichu & Pokémon Violet/Scarlet
Pichu in Super Smash Bros Ultimate
- They any Good? You almost feel bad for the lil’ guy, as every attack they use damages them, too. And they’re so light! If their moves weren’t balanced to occasionally wreck their opponents, you might have to just out and protect ‘em.
- That final smash work? This is what happens when something small and adorable gets mad. This Volt Tackle involves a lot of recoil damage, but your opponent is going to feel a shocking amount of damage, too. It might not be the most interesting final smash, but it does feel fun.
- The background work? We are going to run out of Pokémon backgrounds before we run out of Pokémon characters. Regardless! We are assigning Pokémon Stadium (1) to Pichu, because they both premiered in the same game. This is the version of the stage that occasionally transforms into “fire mode”, which includes a burning shack. This is… a peculiar choice. Oddly enough, if there are no Pokémon participants in the fight, this stage is the only Pokémon-themed area that will not include any live Pokémon.
- First Appearance: My running theory is that, for the first few Smash Bros. games, Sakurai identified the best/most used character, and then created a “weird mirror” character for the following game. Star Fox’s continual usage in Melee led to Brawl’s Star Wolf, and Pikachu’s popularity in the original saw Melee produce Pichu, a version of Pikachu that continually hurts themself. So Pichu in Melee is pretty dire. But they do have goggles! So I have about a 75% chance of picking them if I am not simply bumming around random.
- Classic Mode: “Lightweight Fracas” is appropriate for the lightest character in the entire game. And, amusingly enough, it involves a lot of Pokémon, complete with Mewtwo being the penultimate boss. A pichu beating a mewtwo is the sign of an excellent trainer.
- Smash Trivia: I audibly cheered when Pichu was confirmed for Ultimate. I never thought we would see the lil’ dude ever again!
- Amiibo Corner: They look so happy and ready to go! The shade of yellow used is a little off, and a distinct lack of goggles is a misstep, but it is otherwise an excellent companion to those Pikachu amiibos.
- Does Smash Bros Remember Today’s Game? Smash Bros. has always had a weird relationship with Pokémon, as whatever latest Pokécharacter being announced pales in comparison to the potential for new ‘mons popping out of the Pokéball item. Unfortunately, through the literal years of the DLC, the assist trophies and Pokéballs were never once updated, so any traces of the “latest generation” are absent from Smash Bros.
Pichu in Pokémon Violet
- System: Nintendo Switch. Our second “main generation” console/portable hybrid!
- Number of players: One for most of the game, two for battling and trading, and four when everybody works together for a raid. Well… hopefully everybody works together.
- Maybe actually talk about the game for a second: This is the best Pokémon game since the last Pokémon game! Or… actually… it may be difficult to claim it is better than our beloved Hisuian adventure, but the level of mobility freedom now available does rival that quest through time. And all the random, terrible cruft of the Pokémon franchise that I love so good is back, so I can once again agonize over lining up natures, abilities, and proper trading opportunities. … Bah, when I think about it, I feel kind of abused by this franchise…
- Did you catch ‘em all? Had to do a little wheeling and dealing to get a certain wheel-based version exclusive, but we’re done there.
Of note: I did not realize you could earn prizes for gradually filling out the Pokédex, so when I wanted to earn my diploma, I had to sit through a lengthy awards presentation.
- Favorite Pokémon (this gen): Dachsbun, the bread dog Pokémon, is delightful, but useless. Ceruledge the dual wielding maniac Pokémon is the reason I bought Violet. Rellor the dung beetle is an abomination. I hate to hop on the bandwagon, but I think Houndstone the undead dog is the best choice here. It may be the first Ghost type pokémon that could be described as “cuddly”.
- Favorite Trainer: Everybody wants to jump Medali the Normal Type Salaryman’s bones, and I can see the appeal. But for my money, I would like to hang out with Cascarrafa, the jolly, forgetful old man/water gym leader. I kept expecting there to be some heel turn there, where they reveal he is secretly a suspect trainer when the chips are down… but he’s cool. He’s just cool. And that apron of his looks useful, too.
- Gotta Hatch ‘em All: For the first time in (mainline) Pokémon history, the mechanics of breeding have been dramatically altered. Where once you had to rely on a kindly old couple that was mystified by the existence of eggs, now you see baby Pokémon as the result of taking everybody on a picnic. While this does seem to make things easier from a gameplay perspective, the implication here is that your beloved ‘mons would start rutting in the grass given the flimsiest excuse to get out of their balls. I am not sure I want to live in this world anymore.
- Like a rock: The new gimmick of the generation is Terastal Pokémon. Like Gigantamaxing in the previous gen, even if a few Pokémon have very deliberate terastal forms, this can be used with any Pokémon. That gives it a significant advantage over all those Mega Pokémon! And it is more or less a simple “type overwrite” situation, so it is easy to understand, yet involves a lot of potential for customization. So, hey, let’s play with a fairy-type Tyranitar!
- Fun with Friends: The “raids” of Pokémon V/S are better than anything that appeared in Sword/Shield, but there are still significant issues with random matching, and whether or not you are playing with a ten-year-old who really, really wants their Wiglett to succeed. As a result, the “event” raids feel like a complete crapshoot, as whether you succeed or fail happens within ten seconds depending on your federation. In closing, group projects have always sucked.
- Did you know? So Nemona is neurodivergent. Like, it is textbook…
She doesn’t understand social cues, her hyperfixation is Pokémon/Pokémon battling, and she gets frustrated by people assuming she is “just good at it”.
And, if you play through the post-game content, the narrative all but screams at you that this is exactly what is going on in Nemona’s head.
The important thing here is that Nemona is never treated as anything worse than “weird” for her OCD, and, while a lot of people don’t understand her, a whole lot of NPCs actively look up to her and her skills. So, basically, she’s doing great, particularly once the player-trainer comes along.
This means a lot in a franchise based on the obsessive compulsive goal of “gotta catch ‘em all”.
- Would I play again: There is further Pokémon DLC in the future, so this one is a gimme.
What’s next? Link is back, but he is looking a little sleepy. Maybe we should wake him up? Please look forward to it!