Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Drew Hurley 04.03.2020

Review for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX on Nintendo Switch

Pokémon has received a considerable amount of spinoff series over the years, giving everything from picross to photography a chance to shine. Of all of these, the Mystery Dungeon series from the wonderful Spike Chunsoft has built quite the cult audience since its launch in 2005. Since then, it has received five other entries that have run the gambit from the DS ten years before, to the most recent version on 3DS in 2015. Now as fans chomp at the bit at the prospect of a brand new addition arriving on Switch, they're being satiated by this remake of the original 2005 version. Best of all, a remastered remake with plenty of new features that bundle together the two versions: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Red Rescue Team and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Blue Rescue Team - but how does it measure up today?

A simple quiz of rather strange questions opens this up. Asking the player if they prefer to go on holidays alone, or with friends? When receiving a gift do they open it right away, or later at home? Have they ever built a pit trap? This all leads to a suggested Pokémon to play as. Though it's all rather meaningless, as after the suggested Pokémon is revealed, it can just be switched to any of the list of playable characters, as can the friend/partner Pokémon.

With these characters chosen the story begins, and that story follows how the playable Pokémon believes they were once a human, and has now awoken in the body of a Pokémon. Luckily, their new pal is here to introduce them to life as a Pokémon. Setting them up in a sweet little pad, showing them around the Pokémon town where Kenguskhan runs a local item storage, a Persian runs a bank for Pokécoins, a Makuhita runs a training gym, and more. From here the duo embarks on missions to help out the fellow Pokémon across varied top-down dungeons and battling against the Pokémon denizens found within along the way.

Screenshot for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX on Nintendo Switch

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX feels like an introductory title for younger players who have never experienced a dungeon crawler, and the Pokémon skin gives it a natural avenue for an audience who'd never usually consider this type of game. However, the issue is that, while the theme is clearly used to help pitch to a younger audience, the mechanics at hand simply do not. This is an old-school dungeon crawler, one jam-packed with the flaws inherent to the genre.

First of all, and most importantly, it is hugely repetitive. From the first dungeon to the last, there's no real development to the gameplay, or extra depth added. Pick up some sidequests, head into a procedurally generated dungeon, battle some Pokémon, recruit some, repeat. It gets repetitive fast, and the story doesn't do enough to keep things interesting. It comes from Spike Chunsoft, of Danganronpa fame, but the story certainly doesn't come close to that masterpiece. It's serviceable enough, but Spike Chunsoft didn't really find its footing with the storytelling of the series until later in the franchise.

Teams of three Pokémon are sent into each dungeon, though that party size quickly grows as Pokémon can be randomly recruited after they are defeated. These can then be added to the Rescue Team if Camps have been built for them to live in. These can be purchased from Wigglytuff back at camp in between excursions. They cost varying amounts of Pokécoins, just a few hundred for some, but all the way up to 9,000 coins for Camps for the rarer Pokémon. This requires quite a few runs to save up, especially in the earlier dungeons - but, it's this that helps to keep players going.

Screenshot for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX on Nintendo Switch

The concept of "Gotta Catch 'Em All" is absolutely core to Pokémon, and by having defeated enemies randomly join, combined with this grind for unlocking camps, it will keep you playing. At first, to get the camps for rarer or favourite characters, and then to unlock every camp, and catch every Pokémon. Some recruitable Pokémon even have 'Rare Qualities;' passive abilities or buffs that can be a huge boon, giving further reason to re-venture into the dungeons in hopes of finding ideal combos of specific Pokémon with the best possible stats.

The designs and skin of the game isn't the only element of Pokémon bundled in here - there are plenty of little familiar aspects to fans of the series. Each of the Pokémon which are recruitable can be equipped with four moves, and as they level up they unlock more. These attacks have the usual type bonuses from the series, meaning choosing which Pokémon to take into a specific dungeon based on the Pokémon found there can make things easier… though that's hardly needed, as the majority of the content can just be torn through in no time. The attacks can be chosen by holding L, but the majority of the time it's better to just hit A and let the Pokémon use whatever, often just taking into account the attacks with longer range. Things ramp up for boss battles, and the final few dungeons, but by that point, enough money and items should be stockpiled to make up for it.

Screenshot for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX on Nintendo Switch

Items are a big part of the experience, with many familiar to the franchise, and some that seem really out of place. Attacks have PP here, just like in the regular titles, so they can only be used so many times before an elixir needs to be used to restore the move's use. The PP of attacks isn't the only stat that deprecates during exploration either. Pokémon get hungry. Each Pokémon in the team can be controlled when set as the leader, and their belly depletes with every step, needing apples to keep them going. Then there are berries to heal various conditions like burn, and to restore health. There are offensive items as well, and this is where things seem somewhat out of place. There are magic wands that can inflict status effects, seeds that can cause explosive damage, and rocks to throw at the cute little critters.

This new version provides a whole new experience over the original, and not just by bundling the two Red and Blue versions of the original release, alongside the huge graphical overhaul. There are tons of completely new features too. The presentation is, of course, the most striking element. There's a cartoonish, crayon and painted aesthetic, which looks absolutely charming… at points. The environments, especially outside of the dungeons look charming, but the dungeons themselves are pretty unremarkable, and some of the Pokémon look really out of place with the shaders atop them. It also looks far better in handheld mode than on the big screen.

There are also some brand new Pokémon found in this version not in the originals, in particular, these are mostly made up of new evolutions for the Pokémon found in the original title that have subsequently been added in later gens along with a handful of extra fan-favourite Pokémon (Oh, hi Lucario!). This isn't the extent of the new content. There are Mega Evolutions here too for even more Pokémon choice. Then there are the new gameplay features. A needed autosave has been added, along with an auto-explore. Pressing ZL will have the team automatically explore the dungeon until an enemy or objective is encountered. There's also a considerable chunk of extra story content added on for those who rinsed the original.

Screenshot for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a mixed bag. While it's great to see the series return, the fresh coat of paint isn't enough to hide the myriad fundamental flaws with it that have since been addressed in later entries. It is fun in short bursts, the new style looks lovely, and Poké-fans will be happy just to step back into the world. Best of all, this may point towards the other entries receiving Switch upscales, and perhaps even a whole new entry.

Developer

Spike Chunsoft

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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