When it comes to Pokémon spin-offs, the Mystery Dungeon series is probably the lengthiest. For every short-lived game like Pokémon Dash or Pokkén Tournament, there’s a Mystery Dungeon title offering potentially hundreds of hours of gameplay. Of course, whether you’d actually want to play one of them for hundreds of hours is the real question: this is a genre that’s a bit of an acquired taste. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX – the seventh entry in the series (depending on how you count them) – is a remake of the original Red / Blue Rescue Team on GBA and DS, and as a result, this dilemma hasn’t really changed.
As in the original, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX has you playing as a human who wakes up one day to discover they’ve turned into a Pokémon. With no memory of who you used to be before the transformation (because RPGs), your aim is to find out more about your past. Or at least it would be, were it not for the other Pokémon who befriends you at the start of the game and insists you start a rescue team with them (again, because RPGs).
Cue a seemingly endless series of missions that have you visiting one of the game’s many procedurally-generated dungeons and usually rescuing a Pokémon or retrieving an item on a specific floor of said dungeon. Naturally, as you level up your characters and progress through the game, you have to reach higher floor numbers, turning even the most basic missions into lengthy trawls.
Exploring these dungeons is a straightforward enough process: as in other games in the series, everything’s turn-based and set on an invisible grid, so each time you step forward or perform a move the enemies on the map do the same. When you encounter one, battles take place in the same environment (instead of cutting away to a separate fight screen), meaning where your team members are positioned on the grid can sometimes be very important.
Combat is slightly different here to the way it was in the original. Whereas in that game pressing the A button used a generic attack that didn’t use up any PP, that attack doesn’t exist any more and you instead have to rely on your Pokémon's four actual moves. As such, this time the A button automatically chooses what the game thinks is the best attack for your current situation (though you can override it by holding ZR and choosing your move from a list). This has its benefits – battles are generally shorter – but it does mean your moves run out of PP more regularly, requiring you to frequently top them up in lengthier dungeons.
Pokémon recruitment is also different this time around, and it too brings its own pluses and minuses (or Plusle and Minun if you really want to go down that route). As in the original, you can only recruit Pokémon you find in the dungeons if you’ve unlocked a specific camp that they can stay in. Whereas before the majority of these camps required you to beat the main storyline or perform other tasks before you could access them, though, this time as long as you have the money you can buy any of the 45 camps whenever you like by visiting the Wigglytuff shop in your town square.
Even better, if you encounter and recruit a Pokémon during a mission but realise you don’t own their camp, you can use a (fairly common) Wigglytuff Orb to contact Wigglytuff from inside the dungeon and buy the camp there and then, meaning when the mission ends they’ll move into the camp instead of wandering off into the sunset. This is a huge improvement over the previous game, where you simply couldn’t recruit a wild Pokémon if you didn’t have their camp yet.
So far so good, but this whole recruitment lark gets a bit overzealous. In the original, your party size during dungeon exploration was limited to four Pokémon, meaning you could only recruit one or two new Pokemon during each mission. On top of this, there was a maximum size of six blocks, which meant you couldn’t go around with a squad of four Onix or anything like that.
This time you can now recruit up to five Pokémon on top of your own squad of three. Given that some missions also have a guest Pokémon accompanying you, that means you can potentially have a squad of nine wandering around your dungeon like the Reservoir Dogs, and some of them can even be big ones too. While this sounds brilliant, it can throw up some really irritating moments; your potential squad size may now be more than double what it was before, but the dungeons themselves aren’t any bigger.
As a result, jamming nine Pokémon into a small corridor is a bit ridiculous, especially when you encounter an enemy who’s best defeated by a Pokémon at the back of the queue and you have to try and get them to the front. The long ‘tail’ your squad creates also means if you try to leave a room as an enemy enters from the other side, you’ll regularly be held up as they start a fight with Pokémon at the end of your line. Essentially, while it’s brilliant to be able to recruit up to five new Pokémon in each mission, the game isn’t really built to properly accommodate a squad that size and things can feel claustrophobic as a result.
Other changes are more generally positive. You can now press the 'Plus' button to toggle between the three main Pokémon in your squad, meaning you can control any of them at any point as you see fit. As a bonus, your character’s belly meter – which has to be regularly filled up to stop them losing health – only empties when you’re controlling them directly, which means if one of your Pokémon is getting peckish and you’re low on food you can switch to another and prevent their hunger reaching a dangerous level.
Then there are odder additions, such as the 'Auto' mode. This can be activated at any time by hitting the L button, and it basically plays the game for you; your Pokémon will wander the dungeon either generally exploring or specifically in search of the steps to the next level (you can decide which one in the options menu), and will only stop when you encounter an enemy. Once you take over and beat the enemy, you can then turn on Auto mode again and sit back.
Ultimately, this addition is more of an indictment of the game’s issues than anything we could explain ourselves. This is an absolutely gorgeous game – with a lovely art style that makes it look like everything’s been sketched with pencils and painted with watercolours – and the plot, while a little convoluted, is charming enough to keep you invested throughout. That said, anyone who’s played a Mystery Dungeon game before, be it a Pokémon one or anything else, will know that they can get extremely repetitive.
When you get to the stage where you’re hitting dungeons with 80 or 90 floors, it takes a special type of patience to stay entertained for that long without your eyes glazing over a tiny bit. This new Auto mode only confirms this better than we can: the whole point of this game is exploring dungeons – it’s in the title, after all – and if one of the main selling points is “hey, you don’t have to actually explore the dungeons, we'll play the game for you”, there’s no better confirmation than it can be a chore at times.
A beautiful game with potentially hundreds of hours of gameplay, there's still no getting away from the fact that this is a 15-year-old GBA title at its core. The dungeon crawling genre has evolved over the years to try and make things feel less repetitive, and while Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX does add some features to try to modernise the process a bit, they tend to fall flat. It's still fun in bursts, it just gets samey after a while.
This is a little of what I was worried about, it's fundamentally the same as the original GBA/DS title. It was lacking in areas, and the game felt properly realised when the second entry Explorers of Time/Darkness (and later Sky) came out.
None the less, I think I'll enjoy this a great deal in the two weeks leading up to the release of Animal Crossing New Horizons, and I won't feel pressured to do post-game content.
So no need to revisit then? Can't believe they're charging full price.
Probably the reality of needing to develop a core entry for a new system that isn't a dedicated handheld.
I hope it paves the way for a future entry in the PMD series, as I actually enjoy them more than the core series.
Woah I didnt expect that score. It sounded mostly positive. Oh well, I'm still buying it. I know what to expect since I've played them before. I'm sure you should be able to save the game while exploring.
Yeh, the art style and the IP are the only pull factors here.
I bought Explorers of Sky fairly recently so I'll stick with that for now.
Already pre-ordered day one. Should be here tomorrow, and looking forward to play this gem all over again.
I played the demo and was shocked to see that it was a full price game, I didn't think it was particularly good either
@RupeeClock To me all the Pokemon games are the same.. especially on gameboy.. only a few different pokemon, but further everything the same. They sure milked out from people back then and still does. I just didn't enjoy it after a little while. 2 or 3 pokemon is more than enough.. but they released like 10 or more back then
Darn you Spike Chunsoft, why do you suck at developing games. I'm suprised Spike Chunsoft is charging so much, third party always do this on Switch.
Yeah, this is about what I expected from the demo. It’s ok but nothing special, considering the series was perfected about 2 generations ago. So basically every franchise Nintendo’s touched on Switch 😛
@Alucard83 The pokemon mystery dungeon games are completely different games with completely different gameplay and storytelling from mainline pokemon but ok
I've always been of the mindset that if your game has an auto mode, you must have made a boring game.
Now I'm having to deal with in mystery dungeon and I feel conflicted. I never felt bored when playing the original games so I'm not sure why this one would feel different.
I'm still buying the game, just curious if the game will suddenly feel more boring now. If anything, it would be because I already know the story.
Off topic comment, but I just realized we played an Isekai game without knowing what even an Isekai is lol.
@Kalmaro I generally agree, but Final Fantasy 12 is an excellent exception to that rule. It’s probably my favorite FF gameplay wise.
Sounds like a decent enough blast to the past, but not one worth paying a whole $60 for. I'll wait until it's used or on sale, if not both.
"Fun, but only in short doses"
So basically... a roguelite dungeon crawler? Who'd have thunk.
Every single game in this series has gotten mixed critic reviews and yet does well with fans, except for Gates - which ironically is, I think, the only game in the series Nintendo Life gave more than a 6/10 to. I'll get it eventually, as I found myself liking the demo after some time with it, even with some quirks (dashing didn't feel right).
The game is absolutely gorgeous and even though I own the original I was this close to buying it, luckily I played the demo first ... And remembered how much of a better game the second installment was. Remake Explorers of Time/Darkness please.
I’m not sure if this is a game I would enjoy, the plot seems kiddy even by Pokémon standards, but man... I really dig that art style!
Based on the article, dungeon crawling is not the best, but man do I wish Mainline Pokemon had some actual dungeon crawling (with bosses) akin to traditional RPGs, that alone tempts me to give this a shot. Maybe I’ll hold until the inevitable $46 sale (Nintendo games dont go any cheaper than that...)
@PikaPhantom Dang, you're right--they even gave Super a 6/10, and I thought that was one of the better ones
Played the demo. I thought it was just okay. Probably not my cup of tea. Also, I can’t believe this game is being charged at full price. Too expensive for a game like this. Well, at least the art style for this game is gorgeous.
@personauser93 12 was special to me because it gives you a lot of control over how people reacted. It made them feel a bit more personal.
In this game, everyone is just set to punch people on the face. It would be cool of you could have one team mate handling buffs, another healing and tackling while you did other stuff.
@Luigivaldo True, then again, most of us have have read Isekai books without even knowing what they were too!
@super08mario It's a Mystery Dungeon game, so it's a guaranteed 6, no matter how much they improve things.
Ah thought so...and this sounds like a generous review so more like a 5 which is shock poor!
I preordered this and can't wait to turn into a pokemon.
After this review I think I may just get an older version for my DS, would rather pay eBay prices than this for a 6.
Art style is amazing though.
Just a reminder. They probably remade this with the purpose of gauging interest in the PMD franchise.
So chances are this is literally the chance to tell them we want more PMD.
You'd think this was a GotY candidate after Famitsu gave it a score of 35/40. Different strokes for different folks.
The drought continues....
@Tharsman if you haven't try the demo. I tried it out and was bored. The combat was pretty shallow and the auto mode basically plays the game for you. We'll see if you are able to beat the whole game in auto mode tho.
Fun in short bursts, repetitive over time... yeah that was the impression I got from the demo
Either you're down with Mystery Dungeon games, or you're not. I'm down. I imported the Chocobo version even though it's probably a better game to download. I'll pay just to be able to take the Pokemon version with me.
A little disappointing, but not surprising. I was worried about it being such an old game. SpikeChun gets a little samey in general, but this is from the early days. Shame they couldn't really refresh it more. I was on the fence about this but I might skip it given this.
Really, if I want to play this, I'll just boot up either of the originals. I was excited at first when they announced this, and I absolutely would have gotten this if it had polished animations at least, but that's not the case unfortunately. I can live with simple graphics, but animations need to be good.
Looks like I won't really be missing out on much if I play either of the originals instead. Better luck next time I guess.
I must say the love the art style of this game the demo was such a delight and looking forward to playing the full game.
I loved the original in DS, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this, as well. I won’t be preordering though - I currently have more than enough to play with Rune Factory 4 and my Golden Deer play-through on Three Houses, and with Animal Crossing coming out in a couple of weeks (15 days, 7 hours and 57 minutes, but who’s counting, lol), that’ll be me sorted for ages. Besides, my birthday’s at the end of the month, so I need to leave something for my poor SO to get me as a present. ;P
Demo was "meh" and a $60 price tag. This was always an easy pass.
Ori, Nioh2 and Doom all out in March. Better use for my cash/time elsewhere.
I'm happy for the QoL changes to this game for the most part, but the demo convinced me not to revisit it. While the new art style is absolutely stunning, that's about all there is to really rope me in again. Definitely not for a $60 price.
I've extensively played the original Blue Rescue Team on the DS and enjoyed my time with it for the most part. However, a few of the mechanics, particularly in the post-game, have ultimately prevented me from picking up more entries. The things that ultimately put me off were the repetition, slow grinding, and how iffy and punishing recruitment and full party wipes (mainly in the post-game) could be.
That's not to say this is a terrible game, and I do encourage anyone who's at least curious to give the demo a shot.
@Magician Famitsu is one of the least credible reviewers out there. Everything is in the 35-40 range. Especially if it came from Japan.
I love the randomly generated and rogue-like genre games, especially the Pokemon MD series I'm a goal oriented guy and to have a meaty amount of different sidequests despite visiting a dungeon over and over again doesn't bother me since each visit is never the same ^_^ PMD isn't for everyone, but I feel if this one got a lot of sales, remakes of future PMD titles would be made for the Switch
I've never played one of the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games before but I loved the Chocobo Mystery Dungeon game and I also liked the two Izuna games on the DS (If anyone has even heard of those) and I did give the demo of this game a shot and ended up liking it enough that I immediatedly pre-ordered it. I think I'm going to enjoy it a lot.
A GBA game in its core and yet they still charged $60 for it.
I will get this eventually as I love mystery dungeon games (still waiting for a shiren game to show up as my vita is...somewhere. ) but not day one. Katana kami is scratching that itch for me well enough. Enjoyed the demo though.
Gonna get is for the kids still, I think they'll love it since they loved the demo and want it.
We've all said it,but Nintendo is losing a lot of money by charging full price for those remakes
I never really thought of this series as being much. I might have got this game as a launch game, but considering how we have Sword and Shield I have zero interest in this, especially for what they are charging. Make it a budget title and I might have thought about it.
Grookeys not in it? I'M OUT
@mesome713 Kids LOVE this sort of game. It's simple and the stakes are always quite low. That may be tedious for serious gamers, but it's delightful to the under ten crowd.
@Isaix Is it though? Making money doesn't seem to be one of Nintendo's problems at the moment. Regardless, this isn't really a Nintendo game as such: it's developed by Spike Chunsoft and published by The Pokemon Company, Nintendo is only distributing it.
It’s so repetitive that I got bored of it just by playing the demo. Put it in auto mode. Bummer.
i'm still just irritated they got rid of the base attack, it was kind of a main mechanic in Literally Every Previous Game
@scully1888 But I'm sure Nintendo are the one deciding for the price,because it's consistent with all the other 1st party Nintendo games
@Isaix Yeah I think it's pretty safe to say that Nintendo has a lot of control over Pokemon video games.
@Isaix It's also consistent with many third-party games. Like it or not, I don't think it's too wild to suggest that a Pokémon game will probably sell perfectly well at full price. They don't need to drop the price if that isn't a concern.
Give me Pokemon Conquest.
Don't mind me, I'm just here to give my props for the sub-header 👌🏻
This is the worst series ever! I never ever want to revisit this series ever again. All 3 games I’ve played have left a terrible and disgusting taste in my mouth. I’m not surprised it got a low score- it should of gotten a 4.
Quel surprise... a Pokémon Game that feels outdated. Is there ever going to be a Pokémon game that feels modern?
I love the original Pokemon Mystery Dungeon (and its sequel) but I'm just not a fan of these "remakes" where they do little more than the bare minimum of a graphics improvement.
The engine doesn't even look new, it looks re-purposed from Super Mystery Dungeon.
Is it a six if you’ve played before but an eight if not? I loved the demo and I’m surprised at the score
A dungeon crawler plays like a dungeon crawler. Shocking.
This game is for dungeon crawler audience. And its a good one for them.
@Xylnox same I loved the demo.
Unfortunately this is the same song and dance as every score with Pokemon Mystery Dungeon. Even Explorers of the Sky got under 60 in Metacritic despite that being one of the best entries. And this is similar to how the original games scored widespread, even close to Super Pokemon Mystery Dungeon.
Play if you think you want to play it.
This game looks fun. I've never played the gba/ds original so this will be a first time experience with those games. There is no way in hell that this game should be 60 bucks, but it's pokemon so of course it is
I'll pick Mystery Dungeon up later in the year when I make time for it and it drops down in price.
@scully1888 I think all(or most) 3rd party remakes on Switch are not full price,the Crash and Spyro remakes come to mind
I might get this on Friday, as I enjoyed the demo. Can see how it can become repetitive though, but it seems fun in smaller doses.
Start of 2020 in one word: Mediocre
That's a bummer. I thought maybe the demo gave me the wrong impression and that it would all be so repetitive. I still might grab this on sale or used at some point though. I didn't hate it, but I do not need to run out an grab it just to toss it in the backlog.
I’m on the fence with this game. I liked the demo okay and find myself wondering about the end- I never played the original. The art was cute. I wonder though if it’s just going to become a boring grindfest though... Ugh I hate buying games at full price and disliking them. I don’t necessarily think spinoffs are bad. I would support a new PokePark game ... My wife and I loved the original on Wii.
@Isaix Crash and Spyro weren't full price on PS4 and X1 either
Lower score than Mario Kart Tour? Yeah I'm done here. Just as bad as Daily Express' asteroid clickbait.
Wow. That would be absolute lazy game developing. And no, I wouldn't buy the game because it would lead to more future titles.
I'm a big fan of dungeon crawlers, and the Mystery Dungeon series has a special place in my heart as I played them often as a child. I understand that it's not everyone's cup of tea, but, personally, I really love the Mystery Dungeon series. The repetitive tasks don't really bother me, and I love the redesign for an old game. (Also, of course they're charging full price. Do you know how many resources are poured into remakes of games? No one complained about the full price being put on Link's Awakening for the Switch)
My main takeaway from this was when I watched the video review and saw Chris wrote it I was brought back to the days of CUBE magazine and ONM.
I don’t have too much to say about Pokemon Mystery Dungeon just glad he’s still doing Nintendo reviews.
@snarls200 It just means that 3rd parties can control the price of their games if they want to,but in the case of Pokemon it SEEMS to me like Nintendo are deciding the price
@personauser93 Well, I think the reason FF12's auto mode is so great is that it doesn't play the game for you, it only does what you've explicitly told it to by setting up all of your gambits. It doesn't remove any decision making, it just attacks when you would have attacked, heals when you would have healed, etc. You're always still in charge.
It's a pokemon game that brings the past guys you don't need to be complaining about the price sheesh.
Ridiculous pricing for such an unambitious, underwhelming remake.
Typical Pokemon syndrome.
@Spoony_Tech that's Nintendo for you...
I'm really enjoying the game so far but I'm incredibly disappointed by the camps, running around the beautifully crafted areas with your character was genuinely one of the highlights of the game for me and now that's impossible.
@Spoony_Tech More than 2 years later and this game is still 60 bucks, bruh
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