Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is the latest spin-off entry in the franchise, and since Pokemon tops the list of highest grossing media franchises, the level of quality in this remake should come as no surprise. This 2020 remake takes the best of 2005’s Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team, sprinkles in some modern innovations, and delivers an experience that veterans and newcomers alike are sure to enjoy.
The premise of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is pretty simple, cute, and exactly what it is: as a human-turned-Pokemon in a world full of natural disasters, players form a rescue team to save and help others. Pokemon. After a quick personality test, players are given a Pokemon but can ignore it and choose from playing as Gens 1-3 starters, Pikachu, Eevee, Machop, Cubone, Psyduck, Meowth, or Skitty. Partner Pokemon are also derived from this list, excluding all Pokemon of the same starter type. This journey will take players around the world of Pokemon in a dungeon crawling experience that, while not perfect, makes sense for this spin-off title.
Before the dungeon-crawling gameplay, however, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX immediately impresses with its gorgeous watercolor graphics. The improvement over the original 2005 graphics cannot be understated, but even it manages to make these graphics look natural, as if this is how games have always felt. Veterans will remember that they met Whiscash, Butterfree, Alakazam, and all the different Pokemon introduced in the game world, but they cannot compare in terms of graphics. Even the ones with weird animations like the Ekans are beautiful in their own way.
Rescue Team DX’s graphics are enhanced by the fact that its music is upbeat and addictive; whether it’s the background music while in a dungeon or what players hear when walking around and in the main town, this is definitely a highpoint for Pokemon-related music. It hits every high note and can be subconsciously head-inducing, especially when in dungeons. It highlights how relaxing and fun dungeons can be in the game, but that’s not always the case.
Dungeon crawling gameplay is a bit of a strange place. On the one hand, it seems redundant to hold it against the game, because it is basically an enlarged version of the original, and it is a solid improvement that introduces Mega Evolution, an auto-mode to speed up the gameplay, new rare properties to consider party composition, and more. On the other hand, it can feel unnecessarily grinding at times, isn’t the most intuitive, and involves more trial and error than many might think.
The dungeons are randomized, but this doesn’t add much replayability, as all the objectives revolve around finding X or clearing the dungeon before a final boss battle. At all times, players must manage their hunger, the PP of their moves, the needs of their allies, and their own health. Its micromanaging is really no different from many dungeon-crawlers, and it’s easy to prepare if players keep an eye on their storage. In short, the battle and its crawling in the dungeon are not the highlights of the game, but at the same time, it is a doubt for criticism when it is exactly how the gameplay of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon itself is sent: Rescue Team DX.
Players may not find themselves eager to return for a full playthrough after beating it once, which will take roughly between 10 and 15 hours. However, those who enjoy diving deep into the world of Pokemon can easily be stretched here, as there is plenty of endgame content worth checking out. For example, players will be able to complete dungeons and quests to add legendary Pokemon like Deoxys, Jirachi, legendary dogs, legendary birds, Groudon, Kyogre, and more to their rescue team after defeating main campaign.
The story is easy to recommend: it’s not the deepest, and that’s probably the best part about it. It’s basically a walkthrough of some of the most adorable and awesome of some of the most beloved Pokemon to come out of all, so while it’s pretty short, it’s a big deal in a small package. It hits its beat, lets players enjoy these moments, and delights fans with every sitting in Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX.
Honestly, this is a game that feels endless despite its relatively short core content. The gameplay may not be revolutionary, but it’s the perfect game to kick back and have a good afternoon on the Switch. Its story delivers all the fun moments and heavy Pokemon themes that fans have come to expect, while doing so in a perfectly crafted environment. The Endgame content and rescue team expansion keep Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX interesting after the curtain seems to close, and that’s the crux of the game. It’s hard to put down and hit every mark that Pokemon fans and newcomers alike need from this spin-off series.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is now available for Switch.