Part 16: Fun Dress-up with Some Boring PartsPart 16: Fun Dress-up With Some Boring Parts
Contests are back! They're not that interesting! We're doing them anyway! Representing Tough contests is Guinea Pig the Weast Gastrodon by Explopyro to see if combos exist in this mode like it did before. Spoilers, they either don't, or are super rare, but it doesn't actually matter regardless. I would also explain what each move does, but it also doesn't really matter much as we'll see later!
Next up is a beautiful tree thing, Cold Woody the Abomasnow by Buried Treasure. It also has 4 moves, one of which is kinda worthless, but like the submissions last time, you're able to pull through even if you pick moves at random, since every other round will carry you no problem!
Then we have a real smart pizza! As in, Pizza, the Wormadam by Zyxyz, with 4 exciting moves that do stuff or whatever. Actually some good choices, as we'll see later, but that's because there's only one real consistent strategy to the Appeal Round and that's the only one that matters, apparently!
Our cool cat is actually a bird, Weiss the Togekiss by The Golux with 4 more moves and... alright fine, I don't really remember what they do since they all kinda blend together, alright? Happy? Each mon is at least maxed out in the necessary stats because they need to be, so max in their stat, but also max in the adjacent stats, as well as maxed Sheen. All very important.
Last up is just the cutest darn thing, Mr. Fluffy the Darkrai by Toyotasomi no Miko that doesn't seem like it would work out, but Contests are very inclusive, you can use anything for anything, so long as it has the right moves. And they probably will, since there's really not much to it. Regardless, everyone is ready to go, with one exception.
Obviously we need to get the scarves, which, when held in the right contest, will give a nice boost in the Visual Round, and we'll need every single point we can possibly squeeze from it.
It's cool we get to dress up for these, however since nobody else does, we look hilariously out of place.
Like the last Contest update, we'll do one Normal Rank contest, with Weiss the cool birb, just to lay out all the various aspects, before showing off two Great Rank and two Ultra Rank contests to show how those go, and then doing all the Master Ranks with everything we've learned.
The results will be announced at the end, so please bear with me! Let me introduce the contestants!
We're early enough in that our opponents and their Pokemon don't really matter. However, the actual number of opponents is drastically reduced from last gen, and not a single regular opponent has an evolved Pokemon. Get used to seeing them.
Let's begin by having everyone get in proper attire for evaluations. Contestants, dress up your Pokemon for the Visual Competition!
You have 60 seconds to dress up your Pokemon with Accessories. Match the theme and earn higher points! OK, our theme this time is... "The Natural"! The time limit is 60 seconds! You are allowed 5 Accessories!
Contest Dress Up
Alright, while we're showing off all the various Pokemon, there's a LOT to unpack here. Firstly, let's get this out of the way, considering how many Accessories you can get and how much emphasis is put on this part of the Contest, you don't get a lot of points for using the right Accessories for the theme given, it only accounts for a quarter of the total score. Also, each individual accessory has different stats for each theme, which have to be guessed, since the game never tells you these. So for this portion, especially in later rounds when you have a larger accessory limit, the best strategy is to pile on as many as possible and hope you picked the right ones.
Entry number 1! Sara! Sara has entered the Contest with Batty!
Try to guess the accessories by the silhouette! So depending on how well you matched the theme and how high your Condition and Sheen are will determine how many hearts you get from the audience, one heart is one point, with 11 being the maximum.
Great nicknames as always guys. The various combinations of accessories the AI uses is always the same for each contest rank, with it of course getting ridiculous later on with a higher limit. However, they never get that many points, since the theme is different, but the ones they use always stay the same, so this is a good way to get lots of points. Oh yeah, there's 12 themes total, but they unlocked through the ranks in groups of 3, with later ranks able to choose any theme that came before.
No surprise there. 8 of those hearts come from the sum of 3 combined factors: the Condition of the Contest's primary attribute, so 255, half of the Condition of the Contest's secondary attributes, so for Cool, that would be Beauty and Tough, and then half of the Pokemon's Sheen. The score is boosted by 10% when you're wearing the proper scarf, or 5% if it's the scarf for the adjacent category. These are super easy free points that, like before, will carry us a good while.
As for the Dress Up portion? That gets you 3 additional hearts. All that work, just for just over a quarter of the points. Each Accessory has 3 ratings for each of the themes, High, Medium, or Low, resulting in 2, 1 or 0 points respectively. Getting above certain point thresholds results in more hearts for the audience, but due to the sheer number of accessories you can use in later ranks, so long as 75% of them are High, you'll get the maximum score. Of course, you have to look online like I did to even know what they have listed for each theme, and you only have 60 seconds regardless. Least you can slam that DS shut and get all the time you need. Also, Backdrops do nothing.
Normal Rank Dance
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHright then let's go over the worst part of Super Contests. I am just so, so awful at this round, mainly due to lack of practise, but also due to playing on mute while I watched speedruns or whatever for the earlier rounds.
The concept is pretty simple and the music is pretty bopping, you just need to follow the main dancer's steps in time with the beat. Now, you can use the dpad or face buttons instead of pressing the buttons on the touch screen, but I wanted to give myself a challenge and boy did I get it. The main thing is you're following along with the tempo and the Jigglypuff bouncing up and down and across the screen, not the actual music, which can get super distracting at times.
Each Pokemon gets a turn as the main dancer to perform 3 steps in Normal Rank and 4 steps in Great Rank on, with the main goal of being in tempo and using a variety of directions to trip up the backup dancers and have them make mistakes.
Alright, it's best to vary up your steps in line with the beat to get an Excellent rating and hype the audience up. Let's see how they do.
Hrm. You get 2 points for an Excellent, 1 point for Good, and 0 points for a Miss, totalling 48 points for 3 steps, or 64 points for 4 steps. That's quite the jump from the 11 max from the Visual Round, but don't worry about it.
Leading in points right now is Hikari! Can anyone turn things around in the Acting Competition?
Okay, on to the actual meat and potatoes of this update, Pokemon are ordered by how many points they have, so it's always good to start first because as you can see, there's no Jam! It's a shame, I did like the raspberry flavour best. Haha. But a lot of moves have been changed around since last gen, and generally just smoothed into being pretty similar. There's now a lot more emphasis on bonus points, since you can't lose points in any way.
Obviously using first place moves while being in the point lead means it's a bunch of free points, but otherwise the only major difference is the 3 judges, which you choose.
"Voltage went up!"
Performing the same type move as the Contest increases the voltage, so you can get a bunch of points that way. However, because of it being spread between 3 judges and the AI's... randomness, it's difficult to really match up. The other major problem is a lot of the same Pokemon are used in different categories, so they have pretty bad movepools that make it difficult to increase Voltage.
Having a unique appeal to a judge is very useful, with a lot of moves using it as an additional factor. With 3 judges and 4 Pokemon, there will always be a shared judge, but it's not a massive deal, and impossible to predict with the AI. It presents some interesting mindgames in linked contests, but no one played those, so it doesn't matter.
And of course these moves are still around. More important than ever since there's no Jam, so going first isn't a big deal anymore.
Now getting some points from your moves is all well and good, but you get extra depending on how many performed for a specific judge.
Always nice to have, but you just flip a coin whether someone else will also perform for them, there's no way to determine it beforehand.
And then if there's any additional move effects, they'll go here. It's definitely worth having the same judge as another Pokemon if you block them from this bonus, since they'll also get the unique judge bonus. Of course, the move has low appeal to account for that, but it can be very powerful. Regardless, since all moves have 0-4 base hearts, usually 7 is the max you can get after the judges and the various effects, which we'll see later.
Each heart you get earns you 10 points and since you can't lose hearts, the Appeal Round devolves into a heart arms race with your opponents, where you use the most consistent strategies each turn with little wiggle room, since anything you do to stray from that will result in them overtaking you, making it not worth it. You're right, that does sound a bit boring, but oh well!
The biggest change is the highest scoring Pokemon now go later, letting lower point Pokemon get the chance to pull off some sweet tricks, or get max Voltage. This only counts the score from the previous turn, so it's pretty easy to manipulate what position you're in if you have the right moves. The next biggest thing is you cannot perform the same move twice, so you have to have some variety. Some moves have the side effect of being used multiple times, but they have lower Appeal to compensate and so not worth it. If you don't get more than 3 hearts from a move, don't even bother with it, the only strategy is being consistent.
But as mentioned, the biggest problem is the random moves the AI have, so losing voltage happens way too often.
Doing well so far, but since there's only 4 rounds to appeal instead of 5, you should use the 3rd round to set up something big. Since you should start the 1st round up front, you should always have a move that gives you a 1st position bonus, but since you'll end up at the back for doing well, being able to do that again with a move like Extremespeed helps you be consistent.
And my strategy was about to work so damn well due to 4 voltage, but since Sparky performed a similar move after me, they get priority and I get lumped in 2nd place. That and 3rd place are deadzones where you're unable to perform the strategies you want, so try to avoid them.
No surprise there. At least we know the AI will trip over themselves trying to perform to Keira, so we'll go elsewhere. Important to note that Dexter will give +8 instead if you max Voltage, so it's usually worth performing for him, unless you can count on the AI as you push yourself to the front. Good luck with that.
That's a nice effect, but of course there's a bunch of moves that do the opposite, which we don't want to happen, since max voltage doesn't occur very much.
Which Pokemon will be crowned the winner? Let's announce the results!
As easy as that, though the Visual Round will be very helpful to stop the AI from catching up during the Dance Round. Anyway, the game is acting like that's the proper points from each round, but the actual result is scaled somewhat. Firstly, each Pokemon that won each round is given 33 points, with the other Pokemon given a score proportional to that score. Then each Pokemon that won each round is given 64 points, with the other Pokemon given a score proportional to that score. The final score is the sum of each Pokemon's scores from each of the competitions, so if you got 1st in each round, then you'd get 291 points.
Alright, that's 1 contest down. 19 to go.
Let's recognize our winner! Hikari's WEISS! Our winner is awarded the Cool Ribbon! We look forward to your next Contest challenge!
Oh right, we get accessories for beating contests. That accounts for the last 20, so now I can hack them in for some variety during Dress Up, the only entertaining part of contests.
Great and Ultra Dance
Now to skip around a bunch and show off Cold Woody! The dance changes and it's a bit of a tricky one, but that's not the worst of them, oh no.
The awfulness of me being bad at this round is cushioned by how hilarious everyone is going to look as we get more and more accessories, now up to 10.
Another first move bonus, always nice. But performing for the same judge and immediately removing their voltage is just rude, my man.
Hrm. Thankfully we didn't all do the same judge, but it would've been nice if they had for one specific reason...
Cheri used Growth last round, which doubles what it'll get this round. This works for immediate bonuses you get from moves, so from being first or last, doubling that to 8 hearts, which is pretty nice. But of course, you're using up an entire round, so it's not really worth it.
Imagine if you actually got this to work? It doesn't happen, sorry. But imagine!
Some moves get you more points depending on your placement, so another reason to be at the back by scoring the most, or forcing yourself there.
And that's just the cherry on top. Really shouldn't write these when I'm hungry... anyway, onto the next Great contest!
I think I'm getting the hang of the dancing, but Pizza here has a great moveset! Shadow Ball is a lovely opener since of course we'll start in first.
And then we have Earth Power to use in the last position.
But of course, you're not always guaranteed to be in various positions, since the opponents could get lucky, or have strategies of their own. That's why you have these moves to set yourself up.
There we go, fucking crushed it. Pizza has the best moveset out of everyone and will be smooth sailing for the rest of the way.
Now for the Ultra contests. Will the opponents get tougher? Well they're getting better and better at dancing, not that it's too easy to tell.
At least we don't have to be asleep to do this, but Metronome is pretty annoying. We're gonna be in the deadzone next turn, so we'd best think of something.
Seriously, why do these moves exist? Voltage is low enough when it's spread between 3 judges and everyone's moveset has all kinds of categories due to less competitors.
Last Resort is scored depending on our placement, so it's good enough here in 3rd place. But Tweety's Chatter is a pretty dangerous move since it gives alright Appeal that potentially gives it another +6 if choosing a unique judge.
Otherwise, still not having any trouble, even if the dance round is dragging my score down. Onto the final competitor!
So, are there combos in this game???
No, but I knew that from Normal rank. Oh well!
Still get some nice points, but as I wasn't really paying attention, I let little Chokkan there get max Voltage, which gave it barely enough points to win. It's fine, these are only 10 minutes long, it's not a big deal at all to restart! NOT AT ALL!!!
And then we crush it next round. I only kept the previous one in because I loved the outfit I gave Guinea Pig.
But we're finally here in the Master Rank. This is when I actually started paying attention and used all the right accessories to match the theme. I spent a bit too long placing the feathers exactly, so Weiss isn't as sharp as he could be, but since you have 3 seconds to place each of the 20 accessories, just slamming them all on without any care is the best method.
Master Cool Dance
I don't think I'll ever understand this round. In any case, in DP, Normal and Great had the Easy music, while Ultra and Master had the Hard music. Now only Normal has the Easy music, while Great and Ultra has the Hard music. So for Master, they created 5 new tracks depending on the category. Some of them are super tough, as we'll see later, but it's the one positive of the Dance round, every single track is popping.
Otherwise, not too worried here, Weiss is still able to open strongly.
You'd think the opponents would use more interesting Pokemon this far in, but nope, still the same ones over and over again, just covered in loads more accessories.
And there we go, it's just that easy. It's almost like there's not much strategy to the Appeal Round anymore due to all the various aspects of it being neutered into the ground.
Well wasn't that fun.
There's no painter to give you another ribbon, so 4 will have to do, but at least we have a portrait to commemorate the mediocre slog we've gone through.
Master Beauty Dance
Definitely the toughest song, the tempo messes me up man.
Simple enough start, but our opponents don't seem to have many beautiful moves.
Seems no one was doing much of anything. Still, we were consistent and got a good chunk of points, so hey, we'll try for one last Sheer Cold.
Didn't work. Oh well.
What can I say, there's really not much to say anymore, everyone's doing great so far.
Master Cute Dance
I was getting so close to the end, but even if they barely mattered to the overall score, the Dress-up portion was the brightest light in the gloomy waters of Super Contests.
Just keep being consistent, and since we were last, Frustration sealed it quite nicely! There's probably more to say, but whenever I review the footage of this stuff, I tend to lose steam towards the end.
Boy oh boy is the Visual Round saving my skin.
God this is amazing. Truly showing that you can use whatever you want!
But despite being the most consistent contestant, there was one problem Pizza faced.
That I am so fucking dreadful at the Dance round. Chopper is an absolute menace since they use the same strategy as I do, manipulating positions to score the most points.
Master Smart Dance
EVENTUALLY, something sticks. A real shame too, I'm proud of all the dress ups I did, but this is the one we keep.
All I need to do is do the same thing I've done plenty times before.
And would you look at that, I fucking annihilated everyone. Sheesh.
Don't hold those losses against Pizza, they were all 3000 IQ moves, I'm sure.
Master Tough Dance
Alright, the final contest. Boy am I glad this is nearly over.
We start off strong, then we Stockpile to then get a big score in the 3rd round.
Therefore making us last in the final round to maximize our score with Spit Up. Simple, really.
And there we go, all the ribbons! Aside from the various accessories that we got for winning, there's a couple other things for getting all 5 Master Rank ribbons.
Firstly, it's yet another star on our Trainer Card. That's right, between badges 2 and 3, you could get 2 stars. It'll obviously be a while before we get our next star, but it's real nice getting these in a much smoother progression... because of course I'll get them all.
Oh! How impressive! You've finally conquered the Master Rank of the Cute Contest! For a Trainer like you, I have just the thing!
Our first stop with Mr. Goods will net us 5 cups we can display in our goon cave underground. Still plenty more things to get, but we didn't see everything to do with Contests. For starters, like in Emerald, you get some more competitors in the postgame, but instead of various Nat Dex Pokemon, it'll be important characters. We haven't met all of them, but Fantina, Johanna, your mom, and the Hearthome Center Nurse will all enter contests. I didn't fancy waiting until the postgame to do this, rather just get it over with, but it's pretty cool, even if, like all the others, their movesets are pretty shit. There were also a fair few move conditions that we didn't see.
Some moves earn +2 if the Judge's Voltage goes up, while others earn +3 if the Pokemon that just went hit max Voltage. While some moves get more points the higher the Voltage, the opposite is also true, though those are rarer. There's also some rare moves that steals the Voltage of the Pokemon that just went, as well as some that earn +3 if two Pokemon raise the Voltage in a row. Finally, some moves have the increased Voltage be added to the score. There's a weird amount of conditions considering very few are actually useful.
And that's a wrap. Thank you to everyone who submitted, they were cool to use and had a variety of strategies, even if it's pretty easy to use the same moves over and over again. It was huge fun dressing them up! Overall, Super Contests are... fine. The added fluff isn't appreciated since it doesn't really add much, like the Dress-up, or actively detracts from the experience, like the Dancing, but I will admit I'm pretty bad at it, so don't take too much stock in it. The main problem is how the Appeal round is neutered so there's not much to it. With no jam and split judges, it feels like the only thing to do is just move into the right position and get bonus hearts from using those moves. It's not particularly exciting, but at least that's the worst side mode in this series. Right? RIGHT???