Poké­mon Sword/Shield’s first DLC was released last week, bring­ing new con­tent to the game. I played the Sword ver­sion of this expan­sion, but the Shield ver­sion does have a few dif­fer­ences.

You start off at the Wedge­hurst sta­tion, where you take to train to the Isle of Armor. When you first arrive, you imme­di­ate­ly meet your rival, Klara (Sword ver­sion). She was hang­ing out in the sta­tion before Isle of Armor was released, and talk­ing to her about the Galar­i­an Slow­poke in Wedge­hurst sta­tion will guar­an­tee you catch that Slow­poke. She’s a bit on the looney side, often talk­ing to her­self while you’re stand­ing there. She also engages you in bat­tle as soon as you step foot out of the Armor sta­tion.

Pokémon Sword/Shield - Isle of Armor Review

After beat­ing her, she goes into this mono­logue about a Dojo, which she does­n’t want you to attend (because she wants be a Gym Leader and does­n’t want you to inter­fere). Once you reach the Dojo, you meet the Dojo Mas­ter’s wife, Hon­ey, who is tak­ing to Klara about your arrival.

Short­ly after speak­ing to Hon­ey, you’re brought before the man him­self, Mus­tard (yes that is his name). He wel­comes you to the Dojo and declares that all his stu­dents must com­pete for the Sacred Armor. The first tri­al kicks off when Klara’s uni­form gets stolen by a few Slow­pokes, with Mus­tard instruct­ing you to get it back.

Pokémon Sword/Shield - Isle of Armor Review

Of course, you’re the only one who man­ages to cap­ture and defeat the Slow­pokes. The rest of the stu­dents deem the test was unfair, so Mus­tard issues anoth­er tri­al, find­ing Max Mush­rooms for a soup recipe. You find the need­ed mush­rooms, but so does Klara. With the oth­ers out of the com­pe­ti­tion, you and Klara come to the final tri­al — a Poké­mon bat­tle. Upon you vic­to­ry, Mus­tard give you the Sacred Armor, the Leg­endary Poké­mon, Kub­fu. You’ll also be allowed to let the first Poké­mon in your par­ty walk behind you freely.

Pokémon Sword/Shield - Isle of Armor Review

Kub­fu is a nifty lit­tle fight­ing Poké­mon, and you’ll be choos­ing what path he’ll take to his next evo­lu­tion.

Along your jour­ney, there’s still plen­ty to see and do. The entire island is full of scenic loca­tions, like grassy hills, marsh­lands, forests, beach­es, a streams woven into a caves and even mini-islands in the oceans sur­round­ing the Isle of Armor. Each area has a var­i­ous Poké­mon you can catch, and like the main game, some will only spawn in cer­tain areas at cer­tain times.

There’s also an Isle of Armor Pokédex to fill. It’s unfor­tu­nate that some of the Poké­mon that inhab­it the island can also be found on the main­land. It mud­dies up look­ing for new(ish) Poké­mon and takes away from the expe­ri­ence of being in a new area. Although, see­ing past favorites like Chansey and Wig­gly­puff roam­ing around in the grass, brings dis­tant mem­o­ries of orig­i­nal games to the sur­face. For me, it’s the nos­tal­gia of see­ing some of my favorite Poké­mon from the past com­ing back 20 years lat­er — even if they’re out­dat­ed relics.

Pokémon Sword/Shield - Isle of Armor Review
Poli­wrath was orig­i­nal­ly a Gen­er­a­tion 1 Poké­mon.

A pletho­ra of Raid dens are scat­ter around the island, its oceans and even its caves. The whole place feels like one giant Wild Area and the Raids do con­tain the new Poké­mon, as well as the main­land Poké­mon that spawn on the island.

Aside from the Poké­mon, there are a few items that are only avail­able on the Isle of Armor. This includes the Exp. Charm, which rais­es the amount of XP your par­ty earns, Galar­i­ca Twigs that help Slow­poke evolve and the last but most impor­tant addi­tion, Apri­corns. This isn’t the first time Apri­corns have appeared in a Poké­mon title, but they give a new way to get Poké Balls through the Cram-o-mat­ic.

The Cram-o-mat­ic is a machine designed by Mus­tard’s son, Hyde. He’s a wiz­ard when it comes to engi­neer­ing and tech­nol­o­gy, and he’s built this machine that resem­ble the Cramorant Poké­mon. Essen­tial­ly, it’s an item gen­er­a­tor, and plug­ging in any vari­a­tion of the sev­en col­ored Apri­corns will net you a one of the many Poké Balls in the game. The dif­fer­ent col­ors sig­ni­fy the type of ball that will be giv­en out. Hint: using one col­or of Apri­corn in the machine gives you bet­ter chances of get­ting rar­er balls.

Pokémon Sword/Shield - Isle of Armor Review

This machine can also com­bine Berries and Trea­sures. What you put in will affect what comes out, result­ing in items like Wish­ing Pieces, Pow­ders, TR’s and Trea­sures, among oth­ers. The Isle of Armor also brought new cus­tomiza­tion options, includ­ing new designs for bikes and a bunch of new cloth­ing items for your char­ac­ter. There isn’t any bou­tiques on the island, but the ones on the main­land have sev­er­al new items.

One of the new items in the game is Armorite Ore. It can be ran­dom­ly found lay­ing around and has sev­er­al uses. You can give it to a stu­dent out­side the Dojo in exchange for moves or you can give it to two new dig­gers, Dig­ging Ma and Dig­ging Pa.

Pokémon Sword/Shield - Isle of Armor Review

These two are the par­ents to the Dig­ging Duo in the main sec­tion of the game. Giv­ing Dig­ging Ma the ore lets her dig for more ore until her shov­el breaks. If you stop before it breaks, you’ll get all the ore she dug up; wait to long and you’ll get noth­ing. Dig­ging Pa takes ore in exchange for dig­ging up Watts. He typ­i­cal­ly dig up 800 to 8,000 Watts, but some­times he’ll get a burst of ener­gy that gives 5,000 Watts each time he digs.

There are a few oth­er char­ac­ters you’ll meet on the island, includ­ing a train­er form Alo­la who’s stand­ing near the first bridge you come across. He asks you to col­lect his Digletts. The catch? There are 150 of them to find. At least a few in every loca­tion of the island, includ­ing the tiny islands sur­round­ing. They can be tricky to spot, as only three lit­tle hairs, and a small por­tion of their heads, poke through the ground. I found myself wan­der­ing around for sev­er­al hours look­ing for these cuties and it was a wel­come dis­trac­tion from the end­less bat­tles.

All in all, the Isle of Armor expan­sion offers more of the same expe­ri­ence of the main game, but with a few twists. Old play­ers will feel the nos­tal­gia, while still ben­e­fit­ing from the tech­nol­o­gy of our time. New play­ers get a chance to step a toe back in time. It’s hon­est­ly sur­pris­ing how much con­tent was added, con­sid­er­ing this is only the first expan­sion to be released. Of course, the game has its own quirks, but the amount you get in return is well worth it.