Name: Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon
Platform(s): Nintendo 3DS
Over the years, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon has evolved from what could have easily been a one-off Pokemon title to an entire series that has its own loyal following. Those who crave rogue-likes and dungeon exploring can definitely get their fix here, and since the series has moved to the 3DS, we have also seen a large improvement in the way of storytelling. Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon allows players to do more and see more Pokemon than ever before, featuring 720 Pokemon on the roster as well as a lot of new narrative to sink into. How does it fare? Lets find out!
Dungeons. Yes, there will be dungeons. The core gameplay has not changed much – and still works better than ever with the player having to go into dungeons and find the next staircase to move to the next floor – usually with a friend attached. If you are playing a story mission, the game will select your team for you. If you are doing a standard dungeon, you can recruit any Pokemon in the roster. Yes, all 720 can eventually be recruited- but do keep in mind that takes a bit of time to unlock. Like other Mystery Dungeon titles, the player moves one square at a time at a speed of their choosing, but they also must keep in mind to choose their direction carefully as enemies also move at your pace, meaning you will definitely run into some foes based on the path you take. By holding down the shoulder button, the player can choose from one of four moves on the fly, launching an attack that works by type and distance. For instance, a razor leaf can hit a straight forward target from a few spaces away, while something like tackle requires close combat. Your team also attack when you do, with AI that is allowed to be altered to best fit the players own liking.
Items are a big deal as well – as managing the stuff you find plays a large role in survival. Apples and other food items fix your hunger stat, which drains based off of every step you make. Once the hunger is depleted, your HP will follow unless you use a healing item such as a berry. Other items boost PP and other stats, ensuring you can continue to use those effective move while also keeping the main strategic elements in check by not keeping a heavy load of those items in the dungeons themselves. Blocks can be found on the floor to eliminate status effects that the enemy has bestowed on your team, so finding these before heading into a new area is usually a good idea even though most status effects disappear on the next floor.
It wouldn’t be a new entry without something new to hang onto as well. Players can now take advantage of “Looplets”, which act as a belt or an accessory of sorts that can hold gems known as “emeras”. Each emera you find has a special power that can boost a stat, or even cause Mega Evolution later in the game. The drawback of these little items is that they are timed upon finding and if you are pacing the floors you will more than likely see one shatter in front of you and be forced to gather up the remains in order to get a power. Its a nice little addition that definitely encourages exploration, as later in the game the difficulty ramps up and these Looplets are nearly a requirement to ensure the player will make it out in one piece. Yeah, this is still Pokemon and isn’t punishing on many fronts, but I definitely was surprised with the challenged this title had compared to the more lax difficulty of Gates to Infinity.
If the player fails a dungeon, they can call for help from other players with passwords, QR codes, and so on – keeping that natural communication with other players in tact that had me running to forums over ten years ago in Blue Rescue Team everytime my beloved Pokemon fell. The main town is also a joy to explore and even though it takes a long time to get away from the story – one could easily sink in at least sixty to seventy hours in this experience due to the very high amount of replay value. Yes, this is still a Pokemon game at heart and it beats boldly with everything that the fans could ask for.
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