Sunday, June 16, 2024

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX – a cute but somewhat unnecessary remake

Pokémon Sword & Shield is barely five months old and already we’re getting hit with another “gotta catch em all” game on the Nintendo Switch. If you factor in Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! as well as the constant updates with Pokémon Go, then I want to vomit pocket monsters, but I still dropped some cash on the recently released remake in the middle of the COVID-19 Pandemic. In case you were unaware, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a remake of the 2005 titles Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team.

Originally developed by Spike Chunsoft and published by The Pokémon Company, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon (which I will shorten it to) finds you playing as a human mysteriously transformed into a Pokémon. Following a series of questions that don’t matter because you can void the game’s selection process, you take control of one the first three generation starters or even Pikachu, Eevee, Machop, Cubone, Psyduck, Meowth or Skitty. Then, you join forces with an ally from the same group of characters to kickstart your official Rescue Team!

Use the town’s bulletin board and answer mailed letters to go on quests including rescuing injured or lost Pokémon, delivering items and food, escorting clients into dangerous territory and so much more. Completion of these missions rewards you with Rescue Team Points, currency and special items. The higher your Rescue Team rank, the more perks you receive in regards to experience customization. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon allows you to embark on a linear story-line while also incorporating free-play elements.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon is seeing lucrative sales across the globe, and in my opinion, a lot of that is due to the brand in itself and not the content within the game. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon is a cute time-waster, but it’s going to fail overall when it comes to its replay value. It simply has none. It’s the same repetition over and over again without any stellar outcome. Whether you follow the story-line or concur missions on your own, you always repeat the same “goodnight,” “good morning,” “mail from Pelipper” “let’s do our best!” narrative before restarting the same quests with different characters involved.

This game isn’t a complete disaster, like Pokémon Ranger (the horror…), because it incorporates many of the traditional game-play elements that longtime Pokémon fans look forward to. You can “capture” new buddies as they join your Rescue Team, and teach them new moves as they level up. Evolution options are also available, but this feature is unlocked only after you beat the game…which is strange. And boss battles resemble the typical turn-based tactics of the original games with slightly less interesting graphics.

Speaking of graphics, gaymers and critics alike have championed this title because of its style that closely resembles watercolor paintings. This is definitely a highlight, for sure, because it gives us a chance to see these battle critters with a new texture in the same vein as Yoshi’s Crafted World. It’s not shiny and flat and digital. It looks textured, at times 3D and perhaps showcases a more refined picture for older fans who don’t wish to have their eyeballs melted with flashing colors.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon is at times too cutesy – IE: Team Meanie – and only succeeds as an above-average dungeon-crawler time-waster. And at the same time, I’m not able to put it down! Someone, please help me! Snark aside, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon is much better than I expected it to be; yet it also comes off as completely unnecessary. I don’t think I needed to partake in this adventure again; instead I’d want the second Detective Pikachu game. Fact of the matter is, while I’m somewhat enjoying my time playing as Bulbasaur, I’m going to end up playing any other title in the franchise before returning to this one in the future.

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