Let me start this by saying that I’ve never played any of the original Mystery Dungeon games that were on the Game Boy Advance/DS, but I do love the Pokémon series. Rescue Team DX is a remake and combination of the two original DS games, Rescue Team Red and Rescue Team Blue. Since I’ve not played them, I’m going into this with fresh eyes.
What I know about this series in general is that its a dungeon crawler where you are the Pokémon rather than the Trainer, and boy oh boy does that idea get me excited. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a Pokémon?
Mystery Dungeon games start off with a little personality survey to determine which out of a number of Pokémon you are. If you don’t like what you’ve been given (like me), you could still pick whichever of the 16 you would like to be. From the remaining 15, you get to pick your partner Pokémon (and name them!).
You wake up in the middle of a forest to your chosen partner Pokémon (mine was a Cubone) and find out that you’re (a human) trapped in a Pokémon body, with no memory of how this happened. Immediately after your introduction to your partner, you’re asked by a panicked Butterfree to help rescue her baby Caterpie… And from here, your Rescue Team adventure begins.
WITH A CUTE LITTLE SCARF!
I Shinx, therefore I am
The general premise of Rescue Team DX is picking up rescue jobs either from your mailbox every morning or in town at the local Peliper Post Office, then going into the various types of ‘mystery dungeons’ that are randomly generated each time you go in to keep things fresh to rescue your fellow Pokémon compatriots. You can explore the dungeons even when you’re not currently on a mission there, which allows you to level up and gather items like Poké (money), Berries or Ether.
Of course as with any game, you will face foes – in this case, other Pokémon. What I enjoy about Rescue Team DX compared to other recent dungeon-crawlers is that this game isn’t a button-masher (unless you want it to be). As with all Pokémon games, you have only 4-moves with a limited PP (uses) but as you level up, you can learn new moves and sometimes your dungeon loot is a learnable TM. On top of that, it doesn’t take you ages to level up and you’ll have a generally smooth sailing ride through the story.
A wonderful Magikarpet ride
As you go along, you can recruit Pokémon that you meet (or defeat) along the way…BUT you have to make sure that you have the right type of Camp to house them, done by paying Wigglytuff to build them for you. You can still recruit up to 5 Pokémon as you venture through the Dungeons but if you don’t have the right Camp, they won’t be a permanent member of your Rescue Team
Your Toolbag acts as your in-game Bag and has limited capacity – any items you pick up after hitting the limit will be sent to the Kangaskhan Storage – and you can use your Poké at the Kecleon Shop to buy items or TMs… or save them at the Felicity Bank to avoid risk of losing all your monies if you faint while exploring. If you don’t want to take the risk just to level up, the little town has a Makuhita Gym where you can level up your team members in exchange for Dojo Tickets or increase move PPs for free.
Between a Brock and a hard place
In terms of game design, there’s not much I don’t like. The artstyle is classic Pokémon with a little painted-filter on top. I absolutely love the sound design of this game. I actually found myself just listening to the music in various dungeons while writing this very review. Game on pause, of course.
I liked that the game let you use the Switch’s touchscreen to type in names but a bit of a shame that was where touchscreen compatibility ends. It would have been great to be able to sort other things out with it, like going through the Shop or sorting your Toolbox out.
The one thing I don’t like is the controls while you’re in a Dungeon – its pretty static and you move block-by-block which occasionally got a bit wonky for me. And yes, it seems to be only in the Dungeons that this gets turned on. It is pretty fluid otherwise. You also have the option to ‘auto-walk’ through like in a lot of mobile games, but I’ve never liked it so I’ve never used it.
I came, Ivysaur, I conquered
The Mystery Dungeon games, at least in my current experience with Rescue Team DX, really goes to show that the Pokémon Company isn’t just a one trick Ponyta. Most games in the Pokémon Spheal have you playing the Trainer-role and here, where you’re the Pokémon instead, is a refreshing thing to experience. It isn’t the perfect game, not by a long-shot – but I think its still pretty damn good and as I went along, the game Growlithed on me more and more.
…Okay I’m done with the Poké-puns now, I promise.
Blaise gib dis game…
Originally written for The AU Review. Review code for the Nintendo Switch kindly provided by the publisher, the game is available now on the Nintendo Switch. Screenshots are all mine tqvm 🙂
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