Pokemon Mystery Dungeon DX is a remake of the original Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Red & Blue Rescue Team games. These games where originally released on Gameboy Advance, so I was keen to see how they’d adapt the titles for a modern console.
The game was released last month, selling over 1.2 million copies as of March 31st 2020. In this short review, I will cover all the areas of the game.
The gameplay is probably the most important thing when it comes to a game, as Reggie Fils-Aime once said, “If it isn’t fun, why bother?”. Mystery Dungeon is fun, yes, but only for people who like dungeon crawlers.
Overall it can be quite the drag, and that’s coming from me, someone who quite enjoys monotonous and repeated gameplay. If you like dungeon crawlers and Pokemon, then I would highly recommend this game for you. You should have potentially hundreds of hours worth of a game on your hands.
Pokemon Animations & Art-Style
One thing that stood out when Mystery Dungeon DX was first announced was the clear shift in art-style. The solid models with a moving texture, similar to how Chowder on Cartoon Network all those years ago was chosen to be animated, was a clear shift in appearance for the Mystery Dungeon series.
For me, it can be good at times, and then at other times look awful. This is especially visible with certain Pokemon and how they have to be animated to fit into the art-style of the game. I am sure you’ve all seen Ekans by now if you’re bothering to read this.
The best thing design-wise in the game is the backgrounds that are chosen for your camps and the little digitalised sprites that your Pokemon have in your camps. I am a sucker for some HD sprite work and it looks amazing in this game.
Humanising Of Pokemon
Despite the art-style of the game being dodgy at times, there is one thing I cannot fault. The game’s ability to portray a clear personality onto the Pokemon, which I suppose would be a major catastrophe if you made a Mystery Dungeon game where the Pokemon themselves were as dead as a door-nail.
Mystery Dungeon, and especially DX, has some of the best ability when it comes to giving Pokemon personalities and almost humanising them. It was brilliantly done in DX.
Something I always judge with games is the music, and the music in these games (and yes I know the songs are from the older games) is odd. You’ll see what I mean when you’re an hour into a dungeon and you’ve heard the same twangy, repetitive track play for the 500th time back to back.
However, there is some good music, such as the music for your base area and the town. This music is repeating constantly, yet never feels to overstay its welcome. Music in this game can range from brilliant to almost insanity-inducing.
Areas In Which The Game Collapses
More pressing issues with the games can be the lack of clear additions from the original. I know it is a remaster of the old games, so not much will be expected to change. However, even some new gameplay mechanics or refining the tedious nature of some mechanics would have been appreciated. Despite it being an HD Switch title, it can feel like it is still stuck in the Gameboy Advance era at times.
The biggest problem for me is this sense of not rewarding your players for putting the time into the game. You can spend upwards of two hours traversing a dungeon or trying to get a certain Pokemon, only for it to be for nothing as there are no guarantees they will join your team. Yes, there are mechanics that make the chance very likely, but not likely enough. So at times, all your effort can feel like it was for nothing. Especially with how the game has implemented its mechanics to almost ploy against the objective of the players of their game at times.
Overall, Mystery Dungeon DX is a pleasant remake. However, a lot of complaints and issues with gameplay from the original are still present and unrefined. Despite the improved visuals, it definitely does not feel like a Switch title, and is more in comparison to the original Gameboy Advance title.
With little-to-no new features or improvements from the original titles. If you enjoy dungeon crawlers with hundreds of hours of gameplay, you will like this game. As an avid Pokemon fan, you will more than likely enjoy this game. But if you are neither of these things, I can almost guarantee you will have a boring and tedious experience.