Mystery Dungeon games have been around for over 25 years and here we have a remake of a couple classics in the legendary line-up.
I've been playing Mystery Dungeon games for a long time starting with Torneko: The Last Hope and Chocobo's Dungeon 2 on PS1 and later being introduced to Shiren the Wanderer and Touhou Genso Wanderer. I've dabbled in a few of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, too, and they've never failed to delight. However, I still wasn't expecting Rescue Team DX to be as absolutely fantastic as it is. For starters, it features some of the cutest graphics that I've ever seen in a video game. The adorably animated characters really pop off the softly-coloured backgrounds and it all comes together to make an impressively lovely visual treat. Plus, the music and effects are quite cute, too. In fact, everything's so adorable that I can imagine playing this down the road whenever I need a quick pick-me-up.
Anyway, Rescue Team DX is a remake of Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team which released on Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS, respectively. This version is quite a substantial improvement as it includes additions and much fine-tuning so if you played the originals, you'll definitely find a lot to sink your teeth into here. Some examples include new boss moves and mechanics that make victory all the more rewarding, strong foes that double as great party members, and loads of streamlined menus and systems that make gameplay more intuitive. On the downside, the explorable friend area aspect of the originals is now simple menu-based Rescue Team Camps. I find purchasing new camps and placing recruited Pokémon in their respective places quite enjoyable but it definitely lacks personality.
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX does an excellent job of appealing to both casual gamers and hardcore fans of the genre. First, there are plenty of tutorials and explanations scattered around the menus as well as in the hub area via the dojo. Speaking of which, I found levelling up there to be incredibly handy and it takes a lot of tedium out of grinding. Basically, you exchange bronze, silver, or gold tickets (which you'll acquire frequently) in order to play through a timed dungeon where your Pokémon of choice is invincible and powerful. Once the time is up, you might level up 2 or 3 times which can be the boost that you needed to topple the next boss. You can also eat Gummis, equip things, and use consumables for an extra boost so character growth ends up being very rewarding.
Finally, Rescue Team DX has a couple of downsides that are hard to ignore. One aspect that left a bad first impression for me is that there's a very low level of challenge for a lengthy amount of time. I played for about 10 hours before I felt a satisfying sense of accomplishment. Along similar lines, the jobs that you sign up for and try to complete while exploring the dungeons get fairly tedious after a while. I wish there was more variety in them because I didn't really change up my strategy or anything significant like that to complete them. In other words, they sort of just blend into your regular dungeon expeditions and don't really stand out as particularly dire.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a top-notch example of what Mystery Dungeon games are capable of. Once you pick it up, it's hard to put it down and with dozens of hours of challenging fun; it's definitely worth adding to your game library.
- + Classic yet accessible Mystery Dungeon gameplay that's very rewarding
- + Downright adorable presentation
- + Substantial improvement over the originals
- - Takes quite a long time before a satisfying sense of challenge kicks in
- - Quests can be rather repetitive
- - Camp system is a downgrade