Pokemon Scarlet/Violet’s new DLC introduces direct Pokemon control

The Synchro Machine allows you to level up your Pokemon and explore the game's world in a whole new way.
pokemon scarlet violet synchro machine

Pokemon Scarlet/Violet: The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero – The Indigo Disk, part two of the game’s overarching DLC expansion, released on 14 December 2023 to relatively quiet chatter. With the end-of-year news cycle wrapping up, many folks appear to have missed this major release – but with it introducing a blockbuster conclusion to the Scarlet/Violet story, as well as an array of cool new mechanics, you should certainly find time for it these holidays.

One of the flagship features of this DLC, beyond its neat Blueberry Academy-set story and fresh lineup of Pokemon to catch, is the Synchro Machine. This new-to-series device lets you literally step into the shoes of your favourite Pokemon, and control them directly to roam around the game’s many open plains.

In this “synchronised” form, you’ll be able to travel anywhere, and battle wild Pokemon on your own, levelling up with gained experience points along the way. You’ll also – delightfully – have a unique traversal style based on your choice of Pokemon.

Over the last few days, Pokemon players worldwide have shared their experiences with the Synchro Machine, revealing an eclectic array of movement types and styles for Pokemon in The Indigo Disk. Tentacool, for example, hoofs it on its tentacles and is a surprisingly fast runner.

Joltik bounces around at great speeds, Pichu trots around on its tiny legs, Charizard can actually fly around anywhere, and Dialga can walk on the air. No matter which Pokemon you choose, it opens up a whole new avenue for freedom, and allows you to explore Paldea from a fresh perspective.

How to unlock Pokemon Scarlet/Violet‘s Synchro Machine

The Synchro Machine is unlocked in the course of your adventure through Blueberry Academy in The Indigo Disk, which is only accessible after completing the first part of the DLC story, The Teal Mask.

Play through the early events of the game’s story, and enter Terarium. Keep completing the various quests you’ll find there, and eventually you’ll make your way to Central Plaza. Near a healing machine in this location, you’ll find a scientist named Synclaire whose speech bubble refers to “Sweet synchronisation.”

Complete her various trials (which are fairly easy), and you’ll obtain the Synchro Machine Key Item. Once you have this, you’ll be able to turn synchronisation on, and embody your favourite Pokemon. Notably, you will also be able to initiate battles in this form, by approaching wild Pokemon and selecting Battle/Attack.

Pokemon Scarlet/Violet: The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero is now available for Nintendo Switch.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.