Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series has been rejuvenated again with the launch of Rescue Team DX. It is not a brand new game but a remake of the old Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games Blue and Red Rescue Team. These games are just one of the many spinoffs that are based on the Pokémon IP. As the Nintendo Switch is quickly positioning itself to become the console of choice for the series, Nintendo is bringing back older spinoffs to the console to capture a new audience.
Rescue Team DX offers procedurally generated dungeons. It is just like a roguelike dungeon crawler that throws the player in a dungeon to collect loot, fight enemies, avoid the traps, and of course, the main task of rescuing a Pokémon. The progression system is flawed here with a mission-based structure but it seems to fit the style of a portable game more than a console one. Most of the time, you will be doing these procedurally generated dungeons to build your Pokémon team by either rescuing them or defeating them in battles. Pokémon will also join your team if you complete some missions for them.
The game starts with the player waking up as one of the sixteen playable Pokémon. The starting Pokémon is determined by a personality quiz that asks a set of questions. Depending on how you answer them, you can get either fan-favorites like Pikachu or Charmander. As you begin your journey, you will be slowly starting to recruit and train new Pokémon that can be used in battle. They can earn experience points and level up to learn new combat moves.
Most of the gameplay takes place in the dungeon but away from the heat of battle is a town square. You can find a lot of the different vendors in Pokémon Square. You can manage your loot and have a chat with the members of your team here, which serves as a nice break in between the dungeon exploration where you just collect endless loot and progress through floors. Since there is a limit of carrying Pokémon in a party, you will have to make your choice wisely and pick the best one for each mission.
Due to the nature of the gameplay loop, the narrative structure is rather weak. There doesn’t appear to be a proper hook to the story aside from rescuing Pokémon and making them a part of your team. Once you have captured a group of your favorites, it can become a grind to level them up and make them learn new moves. Experience points are offered on defeating enemies when exploring in dungeons.
The battle system is fairly basic and easy to grasp even if you are new to the genre. Each Pokémon can move on a tile-based grid where each turn is calculated. Just like the player, enemies can also move similarly. A single turn is taken when attempting a move while the same applies to the enemy. This can be a combat move or simply moving from one tile to the next. In this sense, this is turn-based combat which shouldn’t be surprising for those who have played other games in this genre.
The biggest upgrade is for the visuals when it comes to this remake. The new art style resembles more of an oil painting which looks great on the big screen. Some other changes made are mostly for quality-of-life improvements. Auto-saving has been added, and auto-battles are possible now making it easier to navigate through the dungeons. A major negative is with how the gameplay loop is repetitive. There is a lack of environments to traverse so you would be mostly seeing the same type of dungeons after the first couple of missions.
I would have loved to see a brand new Pokémon game with the same art style, but this is not the case here. As a remake, this one is enjoyable enough if you have loved Pokémon, but as a roguelike dungeon crawler, the gameplay loop sufferers from repetition thus making it harder to continue playing for a long time. It can be fun in short bursts to rescue Pokémon and make your team but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter much.
The difficulty is fairly easy for regular battles while boss battles can prove to be a little challenging. They expose the flaws of the combat system due to the lack of healing items. It is possible to reach the end of a level and then die in a boss fight thus leading to attempting the whole dungeon again. While admittedly flawed, hopefully, this Mystery Dungeon release can lead to Nintendo working on a higher budget original game for release on the Nintendo Switch.
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX Review (Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a 2020 remake of the 2005 video games Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team. It is part of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series developed by Spike Chunsoft, published by The Pokémon Company and distributed by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch.
Final Score - 7.5/107.5/10
This is not the best Mystery Dungeon game in the genre if you are carving for one, but for Pokémon fans, it is worth a visit especially if they have enjoyed the previous Mystery Dungeon games in the series.