Pokemon Mystery Dungeon DX review of the cute but clunky remake
I'm trying to remember which Pokemon Mystery Dungeon DX game reminds me of it, and honestly, I can't remember. What is appropriate! Or we'll make it fit anyway if you'll bear with me. It's fitting because Mystery Dungeon is one of those dreamy, trance-like, slightly ephemeral games. Playable Daydreaming of Hypnagogia: It's all very nice while you're there, but once you're out, poof! It faded from memory.
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Pokemon Mystery Dungeon DX review
- Programmer:Spike Chunsoft
- Platform:Reviewed not Switch
- Availability:Launching March 6 on Switch
Much of this daydreaming comes from a pretty obvious source. Mystery Dungeon DX is a remaster of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team games that were released in the early 1920s, and one of the major overhauls of DX is its appearance. The pixel art is gone, replaced by some sort of watercolor splash, and as such it's a bit reminiscent of that classic quest in Oblivion (no, that's not the game I was referring to) where you're trapped inside a painting. There's also the fact that you're literally a human trapped in a Pokemon body and you keep having these rather disturbing dreams, and all the contrast and saturation seems to be above the natural average, and yes. To dream. A little magical, a little disturbing, a little forgettable, and at the same time, a little piece of him will be etched in your mind.
The setup is very typical of a mystery dungeon crawler. There's a central town center, which is small but full of cute Pokemon roaming around or running one of the few major stores, and there are dungeons you visit for actual quests. These dungeons have random layouts each time you visit them, with wild Pokemon that attack, various traps and obstacles, items to collect, and friendly Pokemon that need rescuing. The nuance comes in how you maneuver your group of Pokemon through dungeons, deploying them in certain ways for specific circumstances, and in how you manage your inventory, trading items you want to keep with you and space to create new ones.
Sure, it's different from the main Pokemon games, but there are actually more similarities than you might think. Combat is turn-based and quite strategic, a mix of four moves, rock-paper-scissors familiar from the main games, and a little XCOM, if nothing else, in the importance of positioning and range. Your inherent knowledge of type matching, utility moves, status effects and all of that will remain incredibly useful - though Mystery Dungeon will kindly show you which moves are super effective and which aren't via its UI - but you'll need to think ahead and in more dimensions to succeed. . Everything in the dungeon moves when you move, so while it feels like real-time, it's actually intermittent, and as you progress through the game, where the puzzles get more complex and the enemies tougher, plotting your path can become a difficult task. genuinely interesting challenge.
You'll still collect Pokemon as you go, though there's a twist to how that works. If you defeat a Pokemon in a dungeon, there's a random chance they'll want to join you, follow you to the end of the quest, and eventually be able to join you permanently as a squad option - same for those that issue missions as well. . But for them to join you, you need to unlock an actual "camp", which costs coins, you have to visit more dungeons to earn money, where you'll find more Pokemon you need to unlock other camps, and so on. However, the most important thing is that you are just a bunch of good guys and everyone wants to hang out with you.
This also represents most of the storyline of Mystery Dungeon DX. Your friend - the one you chose in the beginning but is apparently a Psyduck - knows you're human but still wants to help you. There are rival rescuers who often clash in these West Side Story covert battles (in fact, you don't fight them that often), and there are also legendaries who seem to be pulling the strings in their classic deadly-caught-among-thems. - quarries-of-the-gods fashion. It's delivered with genuine warmth and a lot of heart, and it actually avoids excess tweeness better than recent popular Pokemon games.
The problem, however, is that other than the warm and fuzzy feeling it can give you, there's not much else that Pokémon Mystery Dungeon DX has to offer. The complexity of its dungeon crawl is undoubtedly a huge selling point, but there's as much frustration as there is depth. Movement with the Switch's analogue stick is incredibly awkward - you'll often find yourself skipping steps or going slightly off either side of a diagonal if you're anything like me, which is a real problem as you make your way through more complex dungeons where precision counts. - and with the D-pad, around which the original was made, it can be painfully demanding. There's no way to know your enemy's stats - not even current or maximum HP - as far as I can tell, which makes advanced planning and strategy next to impossible. And the constant depositing and collecting of items and money combined with the blind chance of which Pokemon might want to join you - and which camps you need to unlock in advance for them to do so - inevitably leads to frustration. It's no fun finding a rare and cool Pokémon that wants to join you, but has no way of doing so because you haven't spent your paltry currency on the right camp out of dozens of camps in advance.
Also, there's just pure dungeon repetition and moment-to-moment grinding, which becomes too much. While dungeons change every time you enter, you're basically doing the exact same thing every time you enter, and without the necessary info on enemies and such, it can become an incredibly passive experience - exemplified by the "auto mode" addon, where your team runs in search of the next item without you having to do anything. The characters have an absolutely adorable charm - Pokemon have guarded it for decades - and the adorable town will give you an Animal Crossing itch for a while, but it will only be for a while. And while crawling combat is undeniably multifaceted, the patterns of play that line up in your mind like a new kind of Tetris effect no longer seem to be for good reason. It really is hard work for idle thumbs and minds. Pleasant enough as a daydream, but not one I'd want to dwell on for any length of time.