Developer: GAME FREAK/Spike Chunsoft
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Version Reviewed: Digital Version
Category: Role-Playing, Adventure
No. of Players: 1 player
Release Date: March 6th, 2020 (Worldwide)
Price: $59.99 USD
In 2005, The Pokémon series produced a spin-off known as Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team for the Gameboy Advance and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team for Nintendo DS. Chunsoft developed the games and Nintendo handled the publishing. They released over the world at different intervals with Japan receiving them first on November 17th, 2005, followed by North America on September 18th,2006. The games didn’t come to Europe until almost a year later from the first release on November 10th, 2006. They were later added to the Wii U’s Virtual Console ten years later in 2016.
During an internet-streamed presentation known as a Pokémon Direct, that aired on January 9th, 2020. It was announced that the series would be making a return to Nintendo Switch with Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, A remaster of the original GBA and DS games. A demo for the game was made available shortly afterward and the release date of March 6th was revealed. It boasted an all-new art style and features, both new and recurring from other entries in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series.
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX differentiates from that of the main series in that you don’t play as a Pokémon trainer. Instead, you play as a human that has turned into Pokémon and you have to discover the reason why. The player awakens to find himself or herself in a land inhabited solely by Pokémon. As you begin your adventure, you will be partnered up with another Pokémon who requires your help to create a Rescue Team. The goal is to rescue Pokémon that are trapped and in need of saving inside mysterious dungeons.
As you venture on, you’ll learn that there has been an upset in the balance and natural disasters are causing all kinds of havoc. It has also caused certain Pokémon to behave unfriendly towards you, especially those inside the dungeons. You discover that there is a link between the player’s arrival and natural disasters. It is down to the player and their Rescue Team to find a way to stop the disasters and restore the balance.
I must admit that it makes a welcome change to the very “Tried And Tested” story of the mainline Pokémon games. A change of pace with different dangers whilst still being very Pokémon orientated. It focuses very much on the lives of Pokémon and the emphasis on teamwork and working together. The story is actually quite deep for a Pokémon game and is a unique change that I find most welcoming.
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a Mystery Dungeon or “Dungeon Crawler” that has players exploring randomly generated dungeons for Pokémon to rescue. There are enemy Pokémon to fight and befriend as well as loot to find in the form of items like berries, apples, orbs, etc. In order to proceed in the dungeons, players must find a flight of stairs to take them to the next floor and ultimately, out of the dungeon. Some dungeons also have a strong Pokémon in order to fight either on particular floors the dungeon or on the very last floor.
Upon answering the initial questions that you are asked in the beginning, you will be assigned a Pokémon to be your primary character. You can then choose your supporting Pokémon to help you during your adventure. Should you not like the Pokémon chosen for you, you can opt to choose your own from a selection of familiar Pokémon like Pikachu, Squirtle, Totodile, Torchic, etc. You will then be given your own camp to sleep at that is designed after the Pokémon you are using.
You can create Rescue teams of three Pokémon to aid in each rescue mission. During your missions, Pokémon that you defeat may decide to join you and can fight alongside you for the duration of the mission. You may have up to 8 Pokémon in your team with up to three playable leaders and 5-7 NPC Pokémon. If you would like any of these Pokémon to join you on future missions, you will have to set up camps for them to stay in. Camps can be set up by paying Wigglytuff in-game coins and can range from 700-9,000 coins.
When in dungeons, all Pokémon move one tile at a time simultaneously. They can also attack when in range or position themselves better in order to make an attack. Each Pokémon can have up to four moves and can be used at the cost of PP, much like in the mainline games. Defeating Pokémon will earn you experience and will help level up the Pokémon on your team and make them stronger.
As well as moving around the dungeons, you can also give orders on how you would like each member on three Pokémon team to behave. You can choose to have them run from enemies, stay still while the rest of the team check out the area or not to use moves. You can also choose which moves you would like them to use and which ones you would like to restrict them from using. This will stop Pokémon on your team that you are not currently controlling from using those moves and depleting their PP.
When not undertaking rescue missions in dungeons, you can wander around the Pokémon Village to access amenities like the store for purchasing items and TMs, The Felicity Bank for depositing or withdrawing your hard-earned coins, and the bulletin board for accepting missions. Makuhita’s Dojo allows players to train their Pokémon in type-specific dungeons at the expense of Dojo tickets. Gulpin can help players remember moves that their Pokémon has forgotten or never had a chance to learn. They can also Link moves to make their attacks stronger.
Rescuing Pokémon is the main goal of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team Deluxe. There are no Pokédexes to complete are gym leaders to beat. Instead, you can undergo missions by what accepting job offers in your post or from the bulletin board outside the Pelipper Post Office. If you are connected online, you can also help rescue other rescuers around the world who have fallen in dungeons. You can choose to look for friends using a friend code or help random people via the internet.
There is a limit to how many rescue missions you can take at any one time. However, you can combine multiple job requests that occur in the same dungeon and tackle them all in on go. Upon completing requests, you will be given the option to continue or leave the dungeon. Once you leave the dungeon you will be able to collect your rewards and Rescue Points. Depending on the grade of the job (ranked from F-S, followed by Stars), you will earn Rescue Points that can improve your rank.
CONTENT & FEATURES:
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX features Pokémon from Generations I, II and III. Some Pokémon from Generation IV also makes cameo appearances like Gallade and Lucario. Whilst evolved Pokémon can be recruited, evolving Pokémon you have recruited requires you to beat the main story first. After that, players can gain access to the Luminous Cave to use it to evolve your Pokémon. Some Pokémon only need to reach a certain level whereas other Pokémon will require Evolution Crystals to help them evolve.
Mega Evolution was not included in the original Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games but are included in this DX version. Rather than separate Mega Evolution stones to make each particular Pokémon Mega Evolve, Players can collect Empowerment Seeds and feed them to their Pokémon. Not all Pokémon can Mega Evolve but they can achieve an Awakened State, making them temporarily stronger than usual. Enemy Pokémon in dungeons can also achieve an awakened state should they defeat one of your own Pokémon.
A few new features that have also made it into Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX are Auto Mode and a Single Button attack function. Auto Mode is activated by pressing the L button and allows your Pokémon to navigate through dungeons automatically. The function stops working should you encounter enemy Pokémon and cannot be reactivated until the enemy Pokémon is disposed of. The A Button chooses the recommended move for you from your array of moves. It can be useful but sometimes you can fail for some reason and do a close-up move when you really wanted to use a distance move.
Upon beating the main story, other places will become available to visit with more Pokémon to find and recruit. The main story is around 18-20 hours if you are taking on rescue missions on the side as well. After that, there are another 100+ hours to be had if you are trying to find and recruit every Pokémon in the game. On top of that, there are dungeons that have more than 50 floors to traverse through so you will be kept busy for a long while.
In the Options menu, you can alter and change sound and gameplay settings to fit your particular play style. Should you not wish for the camera to focus on other Pokémon fighting off-screen or want to change the speed on how you travel around dungeons, it can all be done in the Options Menu. You can also choose whether you want teammates to prompt the use of recovery items when other members of your team are low on HP.
The Wonder Mail feature allows players to input codes in order to receive items, extra missions, and TM’s. Codes can be found online and there are quite a number of them circulating already. If you are running low on coins, Wonder Mail can gift you the necessary items you require without having to spend money at the Kecleon store.
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX has a very warm and varied soundtrack to it that ranges from charming and quaint to adventurous and dramatic. All of the dungeons have their own background music as well which, helps break up the monotony of the gameplay somewhat.
The sound effects whilst not spectacular also have their own charm and quirks. There is no voice acting in the game, so you won’t be hearing any of the Pokémon crying their own names. Instead, Pokémon conversations are reduced to text boxes though you do get the occasional Pokémon that can only say their name (I’m looking at you Wobbufet).
VISUALS & PERFORMANCE:
Much like The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening on Nintendo Switch, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX has also been given a visual makeover, opting for a watercolor aesthetic this time around. The colors in the backgrounds and the character models are warm and vibrant and make the game look like a living sketchbook.
For the most part, Performance is reasonably solid though it does seem a bit jittery at times in dungeons. That’s not because the frame rate falters but because of the movements of the Pokémon themselves. As they all move a single tile simultaneously, the movement doesn’t look as fluid as it could do. As regards loading, it is actually quite fast and it takes no time at all to load between floors.
Having not played a Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game before, I didn’t know to expect from it. The gameplay is certainly a different tone from other games in the Pokémon series but I enjoyed how different it was to them. I particularly like how the Game Freak and Chunsoft took the Dungeon Crawler genre, which most times can be a dark and grueling affair of slaying monsters and finding loot, and changed it into a more uplifting tone of rescuing Pokémon, whilst of course battling other Pokémon and finding loot.
Crawling through every dungeon can get exceptionally tedious at times. The experience gets quite repetitive and can feel very drawn out, particularly in dungeons with many floors. Fortunately, most dungeons have around 10-20 floors at most. Those with more floors have a big Pokémon Boss to fight with the possibility of recruiting them after being beaten a second time.
Trying to recruit Pokémon is very ‘hit and miss’. It can be very random when a defeated Pokémon wants to join your team and after recruiting one or two of the same Pokémon, they almost all want to join your team. The important thing is that the Pokémon you are controlling has to be the one to land the finishing blow to a Pokémon you wish to befriend. If one of the other Pokémon does it, you lose all possibility of befriending that Pokémon.
I do like how each Pokémon’s size is relative though. Most Pokémon models take up a single tile like Squirtle and Pikachu. Larger Pokémon like Onix, Steelix and the legendary birds occupy 9 tiles and are shown much bigger alongside the other Pokémon in your party. Smaller Pokémon also can’t easily push around larger Pokémon either so you will have to rely on swapping Pokémon around or changing Pokémon depending on your current situation.
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a charming adventure that features a lot of Pokémon favorites from Gen I-III. Gameplay can be repetitive but it is a fun enough game to want to come back to every now and again.
THE VERDICT: 8/10
*A download key was provided by Nintendo UK for the purposes of this review
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This post was written by Mike Scorpio