Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon Review
Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon will not be a game that every 3DS or Pokemon fan will like, but that doesn’t mean it does not have some redeeming qualities. Individuals who have been turned off by previous Mystery Dungeon titles will not be won over with this latest installment. The core game play mechanics have not been overhauled much from previous titles, but the inclusion of 20 Pokemon to select as a starter, and the ability to interact with all 720 Pokemon – including legendary – should make fans of the franchise ready to tackle and more mystery dungeons.
Not Traditional Pokemon
Be warned, this is not your typical Pokemon handheld adventure, nor is Nintendo attemping to trick you into thinking it is. The Mystery Dungeon franchise has been around for a long time, and has picked up a very niche following. Unfortunately, with each subsequent release, I see traditional Pokemon game players moving over to give it a try and expressing frustrations with how much different it is then, say, Pokemon X or Y. It is not that game, period. It never was suppose to be, and it never will be. And Nintendo has never attempted to advertise that it will be like those other games. If you plan on picking up Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon, the biggest piece of advice we can give is to go in with an open mind. Who knows, you might really enjoy it!
No Humans in Sight!
In Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon, you play as a Pokemon (surprise)! There are 20 characters to choose from – based on the starter Pokemon available in each generation. Obviously, my love of the original Pokemon Blue, Red, and Yellow pushed me to choose Charmander as my starter, and Squirtle as my inevitable side kick. Nintendo does a very good job of getting players into the game. Within the first 3o minutes, you will come to grips with being turned into a Pokemon, will run away from wild Pokemon, will be welcomed into a local community, and will be hand held through a few dungeons. The ‘tutorial’ – although it really is never called this – does not overstay it’s welcome, and gives you just enough information to get you started. Other teaching moments will pop up from time to time as you progress through the game – I was even getting tips over 4 hours in! – but these are never long, drawn out experiences, as tutorials can often become.
The writing in Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon is very…kidish. You will be dealing with typical, kid like behavior. Early on you will enroll in the local school, and soon realize that your new friend Squirtle – or whoever you choose – is the outsider. There are bullies, bossy individuals, and cowards. Its what you might expect form a middle school environment, but in Pokemon form. While young teens and kids might get a kick out of the story and the sometimes witty humor, the average teenager or adult will find the the writing uncharacteristically bad for a Nintendo game. But again, these individuals will be playing the games for the dungeons and collections aspect, not the story.
Dungeons, Dungeons Everywhere
Who would have thought that a game called Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon would be all about, well, dungeons. Dungeons range in difficulty, some being laid out in a straight, linear path with no chance for difficulty, while others are stocked full of wild Pokemon, dead ends, and very few healing areas. What makes Super Mystery Dungeon appealing is that no dungeon will every generate the same way twice. It is ALWAYS random. That not only goes for the layout, but also for what items you will find inside. Most of the game revolves around your partnership with which ever Pokemon you chose as a sidekick, but you will often bring other Pokemon friends along with you for the journey.
Resources, Items, Money
When moving through the various Dungeons and attempting to save all the Pokemon who are being turned to stone – which, inevitably is the core of the story – you will come across different items, money, and other interesting items. Our second piece of advice: REMEMBER TO DROP OFF UNNECESSARY ITEMS AND MONEY AT THE BANK! Because I was a bit to impatient during the early portion of the game, I missed the dialogue box that said I would drop everything in my inventory – money included – if I were to faint inside a dungeon. And guess what happened? I fainted inside a dungeon. There will be banks / drop off centres around the world where you can drop of unnecessary items and money. If you are entering a dungeon alone, or with a single friend, you will require a lot less items than you would if you traveled with a group. Management of money and items is VERY important in Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, and a lot of your time will be spent balancing what you have in your inventory with what you have in the bank. It is often easy to forget, and preparing for trips into Dungeons can often become a long and sometimes frustrating affair.
There is strategy to completing all of these dungeons. Knowing how far your attacks can go – space wise that is – and how far your enemies attacks can go will help you plan how to tackle each room within a dungeon. For each space that you move, the enemy moves. Early on, for example, you are taught that it perhaps would be wise to do a standard swipe attack at the air to get an enemy Pokemon to move within striking distance. The more difficult the dungeons, the more valuable a small piece of advice like that really is. How you move through the various rooms could very well help you avoid enemies you might not be able to tackle, especially when your health is low. It is in these dungeons where strategy really matters that older teens and adults will find entertainment and challenge.
If I haven’t said it enough, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon will NOT appeal to everyone. I personally wasn’t a huge fan, but my six year old son has been having a blast with it. Again, anyone who goes in with unrealistic expectations is only going to end up disappointed. If you manage your expectations and come to terms with this largely being a randomized dungeon crawler with Pokemon, then you will enjoy your time with Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon.