Finizen is a Pokémon that was introduced in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. It looks like a dolphin and has a strange way of evolving.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet introduced over a hundred new Pokemon to the franchise, bringing the grand total to over a thousand. Among the new Pokemon introduced in the game, there were a few with unique evolution methods and visually intriguing evolutions. Finizen, a dolphin-like Pokemon with a bizarre method of evolution and one of the most ridiculous evolutions seen in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet and, more generally, recent Pokemon generations, quickly gained fan attention.
The ninth generation of Pokemon games was quite willing to experiment with how different Pokemon evolve. In particular, it made use of the new “Let’s Go” system, in which a Pokemon can be released from its Pokeball to explore and battle without player intervention. In “Let’s Go” mode, several Pokemon, including the “Pikachu clone” Pawmi, can only evolve after walking 1000 steps. Others, such as Gimmighoul, require players to collect coins strewn throughout the open world. Palafin, Finizen’s evolution, utilizes a new system added to the game, but takes it a step further with some poor design choices.
Developing Finizen Requires Teamwork
The pure Water-type Pokémon Finizen resembles a bottlenose dolphin. Finizen are typically found in the oceans surrounding the Paldea region; to capture or battle one, a player must use the swimming ability of their legendary mount, either Koraidon or Miraidon. Due to the fact that Finizen can only be captured by swimming, players are typically unable to add one to their team until they have defeated three Titan Pokemon in the “Path of Legends” storyline and unlocked Koraidon or Miraidon’s ability to enter and cross bodies of water safely.
Finizen must reach level 38 in order to evolve into Palafin, but it cannot evolve if players are playing alone. Instead, it will only evolve if the player is adventuring with friends using the “Union Circle” multiplayer mechanic introduced in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. This evolution was likely implemented to encourage players to utilize the Union Circle and connect with their friends. Players must have a Nintendo Switch Online membership and be playing Scarlet and Violet in online mode to utilize the Union Circle. Up to four players can embark on an adventure together and take on multi-player Tera Raids in the Raid Dens that dot the Paldea region.
Palafin is a Poor Evolution with an Odd Gimmick.
Finizen (whose name is derived from the words “fin” and either “citizen” or “denizen”) and Palafin’s (“paladin” + “fin”) connection to the multiplayer mechanic and assisting friends continues after evolution. Finizen begins its evolution as what is known as Palafin’s “Zero” form. This form is nearly identical to that of Finizen, with the exception of a single pink heart on its chest. Having such a minor change undermines the entire process of evolution, and while some Pokemon do not undergo significant visual changes, it is difficult to think of others that undergo only a single, minor change. Palafin possesses a skill that Finizen lacks, but this does not make it superior.
The first time a Palafin is switched out during combat, it assumes its much more powerful and bulky “Hero” form, which it maintains for the remainder of the battle. This is possible with moves from the player, such as Baton Pass, and moves from the enemy, such as Whirlwind and Dragon Tail, that force switching. This is possible due to Palafin’s signature ability, which was introduced in Scarlet and Violet and is called “Zero to Hero.”
The “Hero” form of Palafin has a strikingly different appearance from Finizen. It resembles a muscular humanoid “fish-man” with gloves and shoulder armor. Instead of swimming, it walks on its tail fins as though it were on two legs. Fans have compared it to other “humanoid fish” characters in video games, including the Zora species from The Legend of Zelda – specifically, the similarly muscular Prince Sidon from Breath of the Wild. However, it is highly likely that Finizen and Palafin’s designs were inspired by a superhero, with the “Zero” form serving to conceal the “Hero” alter ego’s existence. However, this does not justify the lackluster transformation between forms or the ridiculous ability stacked on top of it.
This Unique Evolution Has Met Mixed Responses
People have said that Finizen and Palafin look a lot like Pokémon that change a lot when they evolve, like Dragonair and Dragonite, Cosmoem and Solgaleo or Lunala, and Remoraid and Octillery. Others enjoy the evolution but are disappointed that the hero form of Palafin retains its pure Water type rather than acquiring a second type that is more “superhero-like,” such as Fighting or Psychic. Jet Punch, a powerful water-type move capable of inflicting severe physical damage, is favored by fans as the signature move of the Jet Punch line.
Since the first generation of Pokemon games, strange evolution techniques and forms have been a mainstay, and they aren’t likely to go away anytime soon. Finizen and Palafin are the newest additions to a trend that includes turning consoles upside down to evolve Inkay into Malamar, looking for a specific stone arch to evolve Galarian Yamask into Runerigus, and many other things. Ultimately, it is unsurprising that a Union Circle-tied evolution exists, given that Nintendo has emphasized the new mechanic heavily since the very first Scarlet and Violet trailers.
Players who don’t have any friends who play Pokemon are frustrated, though, because they can’t evolve Finizen. This isn’t too bad, though, because a Palafin that has already evolved can show up in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’s Tera Raids, though it does so rarely and at high levels (usually Level 50), making it hard to beat. Fortunately, players can search online for random allies to join Tera Raids, making it possible to acquire a Palafin without using the Union Circle mechanic. Even though fans are likely to have mixed feelings about this Pokémon, every Paldean Trainer can at least add Palafin to their Pokédex without having to meet its hard evolution requirements.