Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team was the first Pokémon game I ever played. I was on the school bus in elementary school when I noticed a kid sitting in front of me playing it on his Nintendo DS. It looked really cool, so I immediately went home and begged my father to get it for me. Amazing what you can get done when you raise hell.
And Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team was well worth it. I put hundreds of hours into the game. I befriended every pokemon, tackled the longest and most difficult dungeons, and cried at the surprisingly compelling story. I have played every Mystery Dungeon game since every Pokémon game, but nothing has entirely captured the magic of the first time.
Then, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, a remake of the original games, was announced during the latest Nintendo Direct. I was instantly excited, but my delight proved limitless when I learned that there was also a demo for the game. So, I jumped right in, and this is what I learned about the newest Pokémon Mystery Dungeon title.
An Insightful, Almost Devastating Quiz
The game opens with a bright light that will give you a quiz, as all the games do. The result of this quiz will tell you what Pokémon you are based on your personality. I immediately recognized the same colors and the same music as the original game. The quiz was different, of course, and the questions and the results were impressive.
The ball of light tells you aspects of your personality you wanted and didn’t want to know. It could peg you as amusing, quirky, but sometimes annoying or alienating others with your personality. Not speaking from experience, of course…
A nice change is that you are not obligated to play as the Pokémon the game matches you with. When I was a kid, I would take the quiz over and over again, trying to get different Pokémon to play as. It was a chore, so it’s nice to have the option to play as the Pokémon you matched with or to pick a completely different one.
Although I was matched with Chikorita (I hate Chikorita), I chose Cyndaquil. I then chose my partner, Squirtle, who was my partner in the originals, almost 15 years ago. And with that, the game begins.
A Very, Very Loyal Remake
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a remake, so it isn’t exactly treading new ground. But fans of the original games will get hit with a gut-punch full of nostalgia when playing this demo.
When the game finally throws you into the world, you can immediately notice that the game certainly looks much better. In fact, it looks gorgeous. The original game had a beautiful style, but this game takes a different approach graphically. The world looks hand-painted, and it brings even more charm to a game already bursting at the seams with it.
But that’s all that’s different. All the dialogue is exactly the same, and although the portrait animations are freshened up, they are very similar as well. The plot (at least, as far as the demo goes) is identical to the original.
This isn’t a bad thing! It has been 15 years since the original games were released, and it was a nostalgiac journey to experience this all again. The music is the same, which is excellent because the soundtrack is incredible. The dialogue supports a surprisingly stellar story, and the gameplay is addictive and compelling. But it, of course, wouldn’t be a mystery dungeon game without dungeons.
Uncovering Mysteries One Dungeon at a Time
Butterfree, for the life of her, cannot keep track of her kid, even fifteen years later, so Squirtle and I are tasked with finding Caterpie. The dungeons also benefit from the graphical boost, making them an even greater joy to explore. But, for the most part, combat and exploration are the same after 15 years. See, the formula of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon is simple but hopelessly addictive, compelling, and, most importantly, fun.
Each floor of a dungeon is randomized, littered with items, enemies, weather effects, and more. Your objective differs based on your mission or task, but you want to go deeper into a dungeon until you reach the end of your goal. Dungeons, in the beginning, are rather small, so the dungeons in the demo are not as large as the 100+ floor dungeons you explore at the end of the game.
The demo is easy, not reflecting how difficult the game can actually be. But that’s ok because the demo does a great job of introducing players to the formula in a comfortable way.
You and your partner start with four moves, some based on their elemental types. Enemies die quickly and don’t pose much of a threat when alive, but they prove to be good practice for the player. It took me a hot second to get back in the groove, but, before long, I was sprinting throughout the dungeon, collecting items, completing missions, and leveling up.
Home, Sweet, Home
When you aren’t in a mystery dungeon, you are at home or in town. Don’t think this slows the game down at all. Most plot development occurs here, so it is always interesting to see what might happen when you return home. The demo does a good job of setting up intrigue with the plot. It has been 15 years since I have experienced this story, so I have forgotten much of it. But I am excited to experience it all over again.
The town looks fantastic, with all of my favorite characters have come to life with the graphical boost. Most importantly, however, is that nothing, no character or space, is wasted in town. You will utilize all the shops and services if you are smart. If you die in a dungeon, you lose everything you were carrying with you. So, you need Persian’s bank and Kangaskhan’s storage to keep your money and items safe.
The dojo will help make your moves more powerful with consistent training and practice. The ability to link moves (so you and your partner use a move at the same time) at Gulpin’s shop will help get you out of some tough situations. In other words, you will spend a lot of time in town, talking with all of these wonderful characters and utilizing their resources.
The Final Floor
The demo ends too soon, but that’s alright. Even if the demo were 10 hours long, it would still feel too short. An hour was enough time to prove to me that this is a very faithful remake of an old Gameboy and DS game for the Nintendo Switch. It will take all the charm, fun, and mystery from the original two games and bring it into the modern age with a nice tune-up.
What else can I say other than if you haven’t played this game, make sure to pick it up on March 3 this year. If you desire a high dosage of nostalgia as a reprieve from this crazy world of ours, this title is worth revisiting after 15 years. It’s a compelling yet straightforward formula, and the demo has me more than excited.
I am an English (Writing Specialization) major at the University of Nevada, Reno, and I also LOVE video games. I’ve been playing everything I could get my hands on since I was a kid playing my Nintendo GameCube. When I’m not playing the latest titles or replaying Dark Souls for the umpteenth time, I am usually trying to write my novel or write and edit for clients as a freelancer.