Ever since the introduction of Pokemon Amie in Pokemon X and Y, every mainline Pokemon game allows you to get up close and personal with your Pokemon. Whether it’s grooming them in Sun and Moon or camping with them in Sword and Shield, it was easier than ever to form a legitimate emotional attachment since the games let you treat them like pets. Scarlet and Violet also has a similar mechanic with the picnics. However, washing your Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet ultimately proves to be a hollow experience.
How Does Washing Pokemon Work?
Let’s start with how washing works in this game. In Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, you can picnic when you’re out and about. While picnicking, your Pokemon wander around. Unfortunately, the higher camera angle and the lack of flavor text makes it a less involved experience than Sword and Shield’s camping. In any case, when you stand in front of your Pokemon, the option to wash it pops up. Note that you cannot wash your Pokemon in co-op mode if you are visiting someone else’s world.
In Scarlet and Violet, you wash your Pokemon in two steps. First, you lather them up with soap, and then you wash it off. The whole process takes about ten seconds. In comparison, Sun and Moon’s Pokemon Refresh had around five grooming options, and you could also pet and feed them. It was possible to spend minutes just playing with your beloved Pokemon as if it was a pet.
What’s The Problem With Washing?
The problem with washing your Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet is that the game practically pushes you through it. It feels more like you’re only doing it for practical reasons, than because you legitimately want to interact with your Pokemon. After you blow dry the Pokemon, the game automatically takes you back to the picnic. It’s honestly such an empty experience after Amie and Refresh that the game doesn’t even need it.
I can’t speak for everyone. But what I liked about Amie and Refresh was actually interacting with and feeding the Pokemon. Watching the Pokemon anime growing up and seeing the trainers pet their Pokemon like how you or I would pet a dog made me so jealous. The Amie and Amie equivalents let me fulfill that dream. Pokemon Refresh was never about just washing the Pokemon, and Scarlet and Violet‘s failure to understand that makes the mechanic fall flat.
Humans are a naturally empathic species. People online got sad about the Curiosity singing Happy Birthday to itself on Mars, for example. Even in the original Pokemon Red and Blue games, it was easy to feel attached to your trusty Pokemon team as you played through the game. Amie and similar mechanics only helped to accelerate the bonding process. Washing could have been a fun way to get to know your partners better, if only to see how they reacted to brushing or combing. But it seems that, like the rest of the game, it needed a bit more time on the drawing board.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are available on the Nintendo Switch.