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Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team (DS) artwork

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team (DS) review

"This game is like sour candy. It tastes really caustic and makes your lips pucker, but you enjoy it anyway. You don't really know why; it just tastes good. "

This game is like sour candy. It tastes really caustic and makes your lips pucker, but you enjoy it anyway. You don't really know why; it just tastes good.

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team is a dungeon crawler that features you, who one day mysteriously turns into a Pokemon. You wake up lying on the floor to find your partner, a Pokemon that you select from nine choices, most of whom are starters from the the Gameboy RPGs. He wants to create a rescue team to save other Pokemon in trouble because in this world, the protagonist is always kind and caring. You can talk to other Pokemon and all's good, until one day you exiled by a bunch of assholes called Team Meanies(yeah, I know...) who try to accuse you of something you didn't do.

Pokemon games aren't really known for having a great storyline, and this game is an example of it. Although it's not your traditional "Gotta catch 'em all!" RPG like Pokemon Red or Blue, there are a few similar aspects. You have a party of 1-4 Pokemon each with four unique moves. Crawling through the floors of the dungeon, randomly generated enemies move closer with every step you take. If your party and an enemy clash, you can use a few special moves(or a regular attack, similar to Struggle from the main Pokemon RPG series) to defeat them. It's still turn based. For every attack you make, the enemy can move closer or further, or attack as well. If you want, you can chuck items at enemies which don't really do any more damage compared to a normal attack. However, sometimes the enemies carry a very cheap attack like Fury Attack that will attack you several times in a row, dealing massive damage with each blow, probably killing your Pokemon.

If your party does lose all of its HP, you can carry out an SOS call, a pretty cool feature in this game. You don't need WiFi for it to work. The game will give you a password that you give to a friend or post on a message board. Someone inputs the password into their game(assuming that they have access to the dungeon you're stuck in), then heads up to the floor where you are. They defeat some Pokemon and rescue you. Your friend gets a password, gives it to you, you input it, then POOF! You don't lose the hours spent getting to floor 98 of a dungeon. Now, you can go back to banging some Pokemon and beating up more random foes.

Sometimes, as little sense as it may sound, after defeating an enemy you can recruit it to your party if you bought their respective "friend area" in the town. However, the chances of a Pokemon joining your party is exceptionally low and totally random, making it frustrating to recruit all 386 Pokemon, which by the way, are for once all available in one game without trading or any other stupid tasks.

You'll be traveling through dungeons for most of the game. The goal of the dungeon is to either get to the last floor or rescue a Pokemon. You can choose several missions from a bulletin board in the town. Usually, they require getting to a certain floor and talking to the client Pokemon to save them, or by giving them a certain item. No matter what reason that you're in the dungeon, you're going to have to travel through a lot of floors and encounter many Pokemon.

Other than battling, there really isn't much more to do in the dungeon. You collect items that you'll probably drop in the trash bin, recruit Pokemon, find the stairs to advance to the next floor, rinse and repeat. It's very repetitious. The crappy music doesn't really help either. There are only a handful of tones and not one of them stands out. I can probably make a better soundtrack if I grind some rocks or bang some trash lids. The music will definitely irritate you as you progress through the game.

Although there a large number of dungeons in the game(around 40), the story portion only takes you through a few of them. The ones unlocked after the game require you to do the same thing as before: get to the right floor. All the dungeons are the same except that their visuals and music(in some cases) are different. The visuals are actually something that I can't complain about in this game. Nothing really stands out, but nothing fades in comparison either. There are sprites for all the Pokemon, they move, their expressions change, and they're colored nicely. Backgrounds seem a little bland, but not ugly. You can definitely ask for more, you know what they say: Don't fix what's not broken. The graphics aren't broken.

The time that you're not spending in the dungeon, you'll be spending in town. There is only one town, and all you can do is buy items or friend areas or deposit items and money, and even those have flaws. For some reason, the developers allow you to deposit multiple items at a time, but you can't withdraw more than one at a time. You'll have to read the same stupid lines Kangaskhan says until you're done. Same with selling items. You can sell either all your items or one at a time. This puzzles and annoys me. I spend a lot of time selling useless items I pick up since I can only carry a limited number, just to earn a bit of gold to buy friend areas so more random Pokemon can join my team. Buying friend areas is really the only thing you can do with money.

So...what is charming about this game? Dungeon crawling doesn't always start out as a bore. When you first play the game, you'll find yourself immersed in the dungeons just because it's something that you haven't seen before, at least not with a Pokemon mask over it. It's fun to use your favorite critters in a new way battling through the dungeons. You might also like seeing the different face expressions of your favorite Pokemon and the cute jokes and lines that contribute to the game's overall charm. The charm wears off eventually when you find yourself going through so many dungeons with so little differences, but you'll be spending a few hours actually getting to that point of boredom.

There's just something about this game that will keep you attached for it for a while. I found it great fun for the first few hours, then it slowly dwindled down in the next 15. The password feature was really cool and the graphics were all right, but nothing else really stood out. If you're a Pokemon fan, you'll probably enjoy the customization of your team and using your Pokemon in a new way, but for others the game can get tiresome and repetitive.

strawhat's avatar
Community review by strawhat (October 28, 2006)

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