Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX review
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is another in a long line of Nintendo games to feature unnecessarily long titles. But long story short this is a remake of 2005 games on the Gameboy Advance: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team. While visually the game is VERY different than its predecessor, featuring a hand drawn and painted art style, mega evolution, auto mode and such. The mechanics of the game go largely unchanged. But I am getting ahead of myself here. Let’s start with what this story is all about.
As noted, PokémonMystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a remake of the 2005 titles, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team. For many, outside of mobile and free-to-play titles, this might very much be their first experience outside the typical Pokémon game norm, i.e. gym battles, badges, and the Elite 4. The titles have a cult following, primarily in Japan, but have had decent success in North America and Europe as well. The original titles received mixed reviews, with IGN giving the game a dismal 6.2/10, while 1up.com provided the game a stellar A- (80-84/100). Other outlets, such as EGM, felt the game was somewhere in between that, giving a score of 7.2/10, while Eurogamer provided a 7/10 score. Would a re-release of the title fair much better on Nintendo Switch, according to critics?
The short answer to that question is no, with early reviews coming in quite low for the Pokémon spin-off title. But we feel the average reviewer is missing the mark with who the intended audience is. More on that later – for now, let’s dive into Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX!
The player starts out as a human who turned into a Pokémon, which can be one of sixteen Pokémon (Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Charmander, Cyndaquil, Totodile, Chikorita, Treecko, Torchic, Mudkip, Pikachu, Eevee, Machop, Cubone, Psyduck, Meowth, and Skitty) and is determined by a personality quiz taken at the beginning of the game. The good news is, you don’t have to keep the one they recommend, thank god. They said I was a Psyduck. The player then chooses a partner Pokémon from the same list, excluding Pokémon of the same type as the player. The game is mission-based with many jobs, which can be found on the bulletin board, requested by mail, or initiated through story events, and include rescuing Pokémon, delivering items, and escorting clients. If the player successfully completes a job, they receive a reward, and Rescue Points, which increase a team’s rank.
All in all this is basically a rogue like dungeon crawler. The combat and controls feel a bit dated. For all the work Nintendo put in on the art style and quality of life enhancements they seemed to gloss over this part. However the game does ooze charm – it’s a very fun game to play without having to think a whole lot. Honestly the games auto mode make this super accessible to kids and people of all ages and skill levels. The auto mode allows your team to go through the dungeon automatically collecting each item on the floor before advancing to the next area. Whenever you encounter an enemy, auto mode switches off so you can control the combat. This makes for a great play for short bursts, lunch breaks, or even while watching TV or a movie because you don’t always have to be paying attention. For the little ones, this is a much better point of entry for newcomers rather than diving into a traditional Pokémon game which can be overwhelming.
Accessible gaming has always been an important feature for Nintendo on many of their latest titles, and it’s wonderful to see that here again. Even when games don’t appeal to the adult audience, it’s great to see Nintendo making sure that they aren’t catering to that older demographic, but are keeping things light and easy for a younger clientele.
The music is relaxing and well done, the story is decent enough, the camp and base building mechanics kept me engaged to keep going through the different dungeon loops for more treasure and money. The one thing that baffles me though, is for a race of creatures who are constantly captured in balls and forced into combat by trainers…there sure are a lot of Pokémon who are pretty helpless and rely on these rescue teams to save ’em. While outside the scope of the game, it does make me wonder how they haven’t all died off by now…The game runs well both in docked and handheld mode, even when there are numerous Pokémon all on the screen at the same time.
For what it’s worth, it’s a fun little game that makes for some great family gaming time, and is an excellent point of entry for kids who love Pokémon but aren’t quite ready to take on all the gym leaders and such in the Pokémon leagues. While mainstream Pokémon games are a bit daunting for some, this dungeon crawling experience with adorable pocket monsters is a great entry point for anyone.
For more experienced Pokémon players, you might want to pass on this one, but for kids and family time, it really is a lot of fun and is really charming and cute. I honestly enjoyed my time with this one and will continue on with this for some time until Animal Crossing dominates my Nintendo Switch time. I think a lot of reviews have missed the mark on this game a bit and took it too literally. I think much like Pokémon Lets Go, this was designed for kids, and we often as gamers sometimes assume that every game needs to be made for us. Well, sometimes games can just be fun, relaxing, and not necessarily made for us grumpy old adult gamer people.