Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX – Review
Follow Genre: Dungeon Crawler
Developer: Spike Chunsoft
Publisher: Nintendo, The Pokémon Company
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: A faithful adaptation of the original games
Bad: Grinding is a repetitive affair
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Way back in 2006, Spike Chunsoft released the first pair of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games. It was the start of the longest-running spin-off of the Pokémon franchise, and although there have been several entries since, the Rescue Team games hold a special place in the hearts of many fans. They now make their glorious return in the form of Rescue Team DX, but have these venerable titles stood the test of time?

Story

After taking a personality test to determine what Pokémon you are, and choosing a partner that will join you on your adventures, you are taken to the Pokémon world. Here, you wake up as a human that has been transformed into a Pokémon under mysterious circumstances. Finding out how and why this has happened is the driving force behind the main storyline. What follows is a lengthy story, which makes sense given that there are approximately 400 Pokémon in the game, and many of them get their spot in the limelight. Of course, finding out what happened to the main character isn’t the only thing going on: together with your partner, you set up a rescue team, and are tasked with a variety of jobs. Most of these jobs aren’t part of the main story and are done in-between story events, but you’ll be going on rescue missions as part of the storyline as well. 

The Mystery Dungeon series has always been known for putting far more emphasis on story and characterization than the core Pokémon games, and Rescue Team DX certainly isn’t different. Unlike the main games, where Pokémon act like animals, for the most part, the Mystery Dungeon games assign more human-like behavior to the familiar pocket monsters. They inhabit villages, run shops, and talk. Admittedly, their personalities match what you’d expect and can even feel a little cliché at points, but overall the Pokémon world is filled with characters whose personalities will stick with you long until after you’ve stopped playing. 

Graphics

Unlike the 3DS entries in the series, which opted for crisper 3D models, Rescue Team DX attempts to emulate the art style used in the original releases. While it uses 3D models as well, these have been shaded in such a way that they resemble the illustration style used for the menu screens on the GBA and 3DS titles. It’s a bold choice that sometimes falls flat, as the more detailed characters tend to look a bit blurry and pixelated, but overall, it gives the game a unique and charming look. Character sprites in dialogue screens don’t make use of this shader and as a result, look far better. 

Sound

Red Rescue Team & Blue Rescue Team had some of the catchiest music in the entire series, and these tunes have been brought back for Rescue Team DX. Anyone that played the first releases will be familiar with these earworms, and they’ll probably bring a smile to anyone that has fond memories of them. Of course, the fidelity has been updated to bring the tunes in line with the expectations of the current generation, but these are essentially the same tunes and sounds. 

Gameplay

Rescue Team DX, like every other title in the Mystery Dungeon series, is a roguelike dungeon crawler. For the few unfamiliar with the concept, the aim of the game is to tackle a series of randomly generated -and increasingly difficult- dungeons, with a squad of adventurers. While you venture deep into the unknown, you’ll face off against enemies, gather treasure and complete jobs. Combining this with the classic Pokémon-formula turned out to be a stroke of genius, working well enough to spawn an entire spin-off series of games that stand on their own, separate from either of its parent properties. 

As you and your partner explore these dungeons, you’ll face off against a variety of Pokémon, taking them on in turn-based fights. The classic rock-paper-scissors formula is in play here, with fire attacks that are super effective against grass type monsters, etc. You’ll be able to recruit monsters you encounter, provided you’ve unlocked their rescue camp with Wigglytuff, and all 386 Pokémon of the first three generations are present, with a handful ‘mons of generation four as well as generation six’ Sylveon added to the roster. You’ll take on jobs that require you to venture into dungeons. These aren’t all that varied and mostly involve rescuing a Pokémon trapped in a dungeon, escorting one ‘mon to another or delivering an item.

Rescue Team DX offers a relaxing, slow-paced experience, and it’s a fantastic match for the Switch’s handheld mode. Most of your game time will be spent completing jobs in dungeons, and the mindless nature of dungeon grinding means it’s the perfect game to play while you’re watching a movie, if you’re into that kind of multitasking. Unfortunately, the downside is that the game can feel repetitive at times. Story events come with a difficulty spike, and you’ll be spending a lot of time revisiting dungeons in-between events to level up. This is somewhat mitigated by the fact that the game has a way to gain EXP fast at the Makuhita Dojo, but that requires tickets to access which you have to earn by… completing jobs.

We have to address the Donphan in the room as, of course: Rescue Team DX isn’t a new game. This entry in the long running-series is an enhanced remake of the two original titles, Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team, released on the GBA and DS respectively. Rescue Team DX takes the exclusive elements from either game combined into a single title and then adds new content: evolutions from later generations have been added, as well as new moves and several Pokémon have had their typing changed to reflect the introduction of the Fairy type in 2016. This provides a welcome update for veterans of the original game, and the enhancements make sense, as they bring the game in line with more modern entries in the series. Of course, the majority of the audience for Rescue Team DX won’t be familiar with the original titles -it has been 13 years after all – but these changes make the game feel like a modern game rather than a straight-up port of a 13-year-old GBA title. 

Overall, you’re looking at a pretty lengthy game. Although the main storyline takes up roughly 20 hours, the bulk of what’s on offer here is hidden after the credits, where you’ll find literally dozens of hours of content. Post-game content includes taking on every legendary Pokémon of the first three generations, being able to evolve Pokémon on your team and a special dungeon with a whopping 99 floors. This special dungeon isn’t just incredibly long, but you’ll also be reset to level 5 and will have to take it on alone. If you’re a completionist, you can spend hundreds of hours in Rescue Team DX before you’ve seen everything the game has to offer. 

Conclusion

Rescue Team DX holds up surprisingly well for a game that is little over 13 years old. Of course, tweaks have been made, but the additional content does not diminish the feeling of the original games. Grinding the same dungeons over and over can feel repetitive, and as such, prolonged gaming sessions might be more enjoyable as a casual background experience but ultimately there’s plenty of fun to be had here. 

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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Sebastiaan Raats
Sebastiaan Raats


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