REVIEW: ‘Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX’ (Switch)

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Pokémon Mystery Dungeon rescue team dx coverPokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a rogue-lite dungeon crawler developed by Spike Chunksoft and published by The Pokemon Company and Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch. After mysteriously turning into a Pokémon, the player finds themself with a new best friend and a mission to become a great Pokémon rescue team.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a beautiful remake of the original Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games, Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team for the Nintendo GameBoy Advance and Nintendo DS respectively.  The remake combines the two original games and adds all-new game mechanics underneath a perfect hand-drawn aesthetic and some gorgeous cutscenes.

A demo for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX came out in January that allowed players to begin acquainting themselves with the mechanics of the game. The new release allows demo players to pick up seamlessly from where they left off if they choose and get right to work building a new rescue team with your partner. Starting the full game, there are some immediately noticeable improvements to both the gameplay and the user interface, chiefly, the number of Pokémon that can join your party at a time and how much easier it is to recruit new rescue team members than ever before. There are also new “rare qualities” that are akin to the abilities of the main series Pokémon games.

The dungeons and encounters in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX always feel fair and well-balanced. As you progress, healing and revival items become more and more essential while the enemies get tougher, type match-ups become disadvantageous, and the dungeons get longer and longer. All the while, every new foray into the mystery dungeons has a sense of purpose. The beautiful character models and their emoting always make me feel like they genuinely need my help and I feel terrible when I let them down.

Thanks to the Nintendo Switch’s online connectivity, the longstanding but seldom used option to rescue other teams that have fainted in a dungeon is a fantastic aspect of the game. If your party all goes down, you can easily head to the post office through the main menu and post a rescue request online or send a code directly to friends. This way, your party can be revived just like the Pokémon you save along your own adventures and you don’t lose any of your money or items either. Also, thanks to Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX‘s new option to play as other Pokémon besides your main character from the beginning of the game, and the game’s option to switch team leaders with the press of a button mid-dungeon, you are now able to venture into dungeons with members of your rescue team’s reserve and save the stranded party.

Unlike previous Mystery Dungeon Games, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX  automatically shares experience points gained with members of your team that are not on the mission with you. This has become a controversial topic in recent Pokémon games, but in this game, it becomes a lifesaver when you lose in a dungeon and you need a rescue and haven’t received one yet online.

Rescue Team DXThe gameplay is at its best in this remake as well. The mini-map shows you where enemies are even before you’ve explored the floor so that you can avoid or encounter them if you choose. It also shows items and objectives in the same way. The new auto-exploring button is helpful when you are only half-paying attention to the game as it will direct you to the nearest objective, item, unexplored room, and staircase in that order until an enemy is encountered. It does, however, move too slowly for me, so I typically turned it off after every few seconds to sprint around instead, holding B.

The movement in this game is a bit tough. The joystick is not an ideal means of traversal. It is too cumbersome and sensitive to the eight directions you can move. The D-Pad is much more ideal, though for folks who rely on joysticks for playing games, it is certainly not game-breaking to use.

For as much as this game is pretty much standard for any mystery dungeon affair, there are a couple of changes that I am not particularly fond of. The first is that you no longer have a standard attack that does not require you to use your PP from one of your four moves. In the original Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, you were able to simply press A and use a standard attack that did not use a PP. Now you have no choice but to use one of your moves, though, that is like any main title Pokémon game, to be fair. The game does start your Pokémon off with moves that they would not typically have at that level in other Pokémon games.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a fantastic remake of a great and underappreciated Pokémon spinoff. It masters the visual and audio presentation while making slight tweaks to the original formula that make the game more accessible to a new audience now that there is significantly less grinding required to finish the game. I look forward to playing Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX for a long time to come.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is available now for Nintendo Switch.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX masters the visual and audio presentation while making slight tweaks to the original formula that make the game more accessible to a new audience now that there is significantly less grinding required to finish the game. I look forward to playing it for a long time to come.