Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team Review

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Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: ChunSoft

Platform: DS
Reviewed on DS

A human has somehow been transformed into a Pokemon, having lost his memory, but having gained the ability to speak the language of the Pokemon. Unfortunately, that transformation seems tied to horrible events that are shaking the world, agitating the wild Pokemon and turning them into dangerous and vicious creatures. Only by creating a rescue team, helping stranded Pokemon and exploring the increasingly dangerous world will this human be able to restore order and return to his original form.

Kyle Ackerman

In a departure from most Pokemon games, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team (PMD: Blue) takes place in a world without trainers or humans. And at first glance, PMD: Blue might not seem so special: Players gather Pokemon teammates and battle other Pokemon in simple, randomly generated dungeons. In reality, PMD: Blue builds on the foundation of one of the oldest and most robust games ever to grace a computer.

Before many current Pokemon fans were even born, games such as Rogue and its many relatives (such as NetHack) graced most computers capable of displaying ASCII characters. These random, two-dimensional dungeon crawls were randomly generated and provided unlimited entertainment to players with access to an early personal computer or mainframe.

PMD: Blue brings that style of random dungeon exploration into the world of the Pokemon, replete with the almost twenty different types of attacks and all the complexity that Pokemon fans have learned to love over the years. Surprisingly, this results in a game that is entertaining for both older gamers and younger Pokemon fans. While PMD: Blue isn't nearly as lethal as most Rogue-style games, it offers so much replay value and just enough difficulty to bring players back for dungeon after dungeon's-worth of spelunking. And the lack of lethality doesn't mean the game is a pushover – gamers will be challenged to keep their Pokemon fed and conscious while saving every Pokemon victim and reaching the end of the multi-level maze.

For the dedicated Pokemaniac, players can make friends with other Pokemon, and collect Pokemon aplenty in friend areas. Players who really know their Pokemon lore will be able to build an unstoppable rescue team, carefully choosing Pokemon types and linked moves that will maximize the effectiveness of their Pokemon against every threat. Of course, there's also all the connectivity that Pokemon fans expect. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team is available for the GBA, and players can exchange mail and help with players of PMD: Blue or PMD: Red.

To preserve that feeling of finality and danger characteristic of the early Rogue-style games, gamers will lose all their items if either their Pokemon or their Poke-partner fall unconscious in the dungeon. There is a quicksave that lets players pause at any time, but the quicksave can't be used to replay dungeon segments – it's deleted when the dungeon is reloaded or the game is powered down. That makes every decision count. At the same time, it's not hard to restart a dungeon and re-collect all those items, so the penalty is really only a little lost time. Also, if you have a friend playing either PMD , they can rescue you from the dungeon, just as you've been rescuing other Pokemon.

There's even the ability to put your PMD: Blue-equipped DS to sleep and allow your Pokemon rescue team to explore dungeons and collect items from other DS players of the same game you might pass. Folks who aren't dedicated fans of the Pokemon franchise might find the plot sequences exceptionally long (and a bit over-involved), but there's still a lot to enjoy for dungeon delving fans of all ages. PMD: Blue might not stand up to long sessions of play, but is easy to come back to for a few minutes at a time on a regular basis.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on December 23, 2006 11:46 PM.

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