First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Nintendo Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time
Lots of Pokefun!
- Adorable Pokemon dungeon crawling, local and Wi-Fi rescue system
- Top screen feels extraneous, might be too watered down for the hardcore Roguelike set
Poke-fun, though not the most challenging Roguelike game.
Price$ 69.95 (AUD)
Buy now (Selling at 1 store)
I hope I'm a cute Pokemon! Please don't make me a Cydnaquil or a Chikorita! Pressing your finger to the DS touch screen and letting it read your "aura" causes just these types of anxieties, but luckily my personality quiz says I'm...lonely? Oh well, at least that makes me an adorable Mudkip!
Rescuing, exploring — all that matters is the dungeon!
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness starts you similarly to the way Blue/Red Rescue Team, the original Pokemon dungeon crawler, did two years ago — you're an amnesiac, somehow turned into a pocket monster. Rather than wallow in self-pity, you decide to make yourself useful — this time by joining an exploration team, although you'll still go on your fair share of rescue missions for the guild.
Yes, you and your hand-selected Pokemon partner decide to join Wigglytuff's exploration guild and being rookies isn't easy. Wigglytuff is a weird, weird character. You get bullied (although to be fair, the jerks aren't from the guild, just scheming for a free ride to treasure), and you'll have to start out with some pretty banal jobs. Find an Oran Berry? Escort Caterpie to B3? Anything to get that guild rank up!
My first "Roguelike"
The game might best be described as My First Roguelike (or maybe its sequel). Yeah, you get booted out of the dungeon when you die even if you were on the second to last floor. You lose all your money, which is why you should let it R.I.P. at the bank instead of carrying it with you, and some of your inventory. All that said, you never lose experience or abilities — you're never completely back to square one. Plus, Pokemon shares the rescue system from Shiren the Wanderer (Chunsoft's other recent Mystery Dungeon DS game) so you can search for help locally or using the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
Despite the turn-based action battles against other Pokemon with all the elemental besting that entails, the game feels almost more like a traditional guild-based J-RPG at times, since you're being sent out on errands to different areas of the Wonder Map. It can be a little repetitive, especially if you're levelling up at a decent clip, but the routine spices itself up. Admittedly, the sentry duty task of peeking through a grate at Pokemon footprints to identify visitors is not fun or interesting at all (although it is the one thing you might choose to use the stylus for — buttons are much more comfortable than the Morse-code-esque system of tapping and holding for the different attacks), but eventually you'll set out on a real expedition instead of just taking care of local concerns.
How hardcore is hardcore? If you like the idea of recruiting hundreds of Pokemon (including newbies from Diamond and Pearl) to a pool from which to draw your four-mon team, and can handle a flavour of hardcore this friendly and cute, then maybe pick this one up. If you played Shiren, however, you may find Pokemon to be too forgiving for your dungeon-hacking skills.
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