Pokemon Scarlet & Violet’s New Knight ‘Mons Deserve Their Own Brawler Spin-Off

There’s a new Pokemon Scarlet & Violet trailer out, so like the good little gamer I am, I sat down in front of the big telly and refreshed the YouTube page until a new video appeared. A lot went down in the three and a half minutes of Iberian action, and some big things were revealed. Gyms have challenges again instead of just trainers. The evil team are high schoolers who have apparently commandeered the Rotom-Car (I’m sticking with that theory). Cufant is back. There’s a dopey crab Pokem– wait, Cufant is back?

My favourite Gen 7 Pokemon’s return was a personal highlight, but something else caught my eye in the new trailer. We first glimpsed a new, purple Pokemon with laser swords for arms just fourteen seconds into the trailer, and I immediately thought it was a Paldean Bisharp. That’d be cool, right? With the whole future-dragon as a Legendary, seeing some regional Pokemon also embody that Cyberpunk-esque Miraidon design would be really interesting, with others reverting to their prehistoric pre-evolutions. Ancient Charizard anyone? What about future Blastoise? Anyway, I was wrong about Bisharp, but the Pokemon revealed is even cooler than I ever imagined.

Ceruledge and Armarouge are two brand new Pokemon for Scarlet & Violet, but I think there’s more to them than meets the eye. Look closely at the humanoid duo and you’ll see distinct similarities to Tapu Fini and Tapu Koko respectively. Now this could just be happenstance, but it was where my mind immediately drifted when seeing the designs. Hearing the names and the monsters’ typings for the first time somewhat dampened my theory, but I still reckon we could see Bulu and Lele represented in warrior form before November.

Ceruledge – the Fini counterpart – is a Fire/Ghost type with those awesome laser sword arms. It fits with the futuristic Miraidon of Violet, the game it’s exclusive to. While Fire/Psychic-type Armarouge’s Megaman cannon-fists don’t fit so well with Scarlet’s ancient vibe, the Pokemon’s armour itself has a vaguely medieval aesthetic – old, just not that old. Whether they’re Tapu forms or not, they feel wasted in a traditional Pokemon game.

Despite the addition of Auto Battling in Scarlet & Violet, the majority of fights in the game will be turn-based, especially the boss fights against Team Star or the Pokemon League Champion. While I’m sure Ceruledge and Armarouge have some cool signature moves that utilise their unique designs, I can’t help but feel their designs would be better suited to a non-RPG spin-off game.

New Pokemon Snap gave new life to Pokemon like Feraligatr and Hoothoot by showing them in their natural environments. The Mystery Dungeon series gave Pokemon proper personalities in a way that only the anime has ever really done before. Shiny Kecleon became a fan favourite purely because of its characterisation in the dungeon crawlers! Pokemon like Blaziken excelled in Pokken – it felt made for the fighting game. Ceruledge and Armarouge deserve the same treatment.

I’m not saying Pokemon should build a game around these two Bionicle-looking monsters, but it wouldn’t be a terrible idea. I’m imagining them in a side-scrolling brawler, using their laser swords and hand-cannons to fight their way through hordes of Rocket Grunts – sorry, Star Grunts – or Rattata. I could see them in a hard-as-nails action game like Cuphead, or even in a roguelike action dungeon crawler a la Hades. Ceruledge could work like the Twin Fists of Malphon and Armarouge the Heart-Seeking Bow, leaving the Bulu-like as the Eternal Spear and the Lele form as the Shield of Chaos? That last one needs work, and yes I’m sticking with my Tapu theory, but you get the picture. These humanoid warrior designs would shine in their own game, something with more action than Pokemon’s traditional turn-based fare.

The Pokemon designs for Scarlet & Violet are really growing on me – I haven’t even mentioned Klawf yet – and it’ll be a struggle to narrow down my team to just six. Despite my excitement, I can’t help but feel that some of these designs would thrive in a new Pokemon spin-off, something more action-oriented. Something where I can spread my laser-sword-arms and really fly.

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