POKEMON MYSTERY DUNGEON: RESCUE TEAM DX isn’t just a game with a too-long name, it’s also a remake of the 2005 Blue and Red Rescue Team Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance releases. With Pokemon titles usually standing the test of time, can the same be said for Rescue Team? Here’s our review after spending 14 hours completing the main story and a handful more exploring the endgame content.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX Review | So damn cute
As soon as you boot up the game, it becomes clear that Rescue Team DX isn’t like other Pokemon games. This spin-off removes the shackles of playing as a human protagonist, with the player embodying a Pokemon instead. A bizarre questionnaire will assess your personality traits and then suggest the Pokemon that it thinks you should be, but you can bypass this and choose for yourself. Treecko was my recommended and so I went with Cyndaquil.
You’re then introduced to the world of Rescue Team DX and this is where the controversial stylized painting visuals appear. Personally, I love how this game looks. I think it adds a sort of storybook element to it.
Speaking of the story, it’s pretty unique in that the protagonist is a Pokemon who forms a rescue team to help creatures that have fallen into dungeons, but it also echoes the familiar, end-of-the-world themes that other Pokemon titles have explored time and time again. The relationships between the Pokemon, complete with quirky dialogue, are the main highlight here.
If you love Pokemon soundtracks, you’ll find Rescue Team DX‘s audio to be serviceable. There isn’t as much variety as I would like, which means it can get repetitive, but it gets the job done without causing offense.
The game’s presentation and story are certainly above average, with developer Spike Chunsoft using the remake to successfully enhance the overall charm for Nintendo Switch owners to enjoy. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the gameplay.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX Review | Ain’t gonna rescue themselves
For those that haven’t played a Pokemon Mystery Dungeon game before, here’s a quick rundown of the gameplay loop: First, you accept a rescue mission. You then head down into a multi-leveled dungeon to find and rescue a Pokemon. Along the way, you encounter enemy Pokemon and battle them in a turn-based system that uses tiled movements. Rescue the Pokemon, escape, and then earn your reward. Then repeat.
The loop itself would be fine if the battling was more challenging and the different dungeons had unique gameplay gimmicks, but neither deliver.
Battles may look different to the mainline Pokemon games, but the approach by the player is mostly the same: spam supereffective attacks until the enemy keels over. The ability to move around does add another layer of strategy, as you back into a corridor to take on one enemy at a time, but this was rarely necessary.
Dungeons may vary visually, but their setups are all the same. They’re dull to navigate and I think most will use “Auto Mode” to automatically move around without player input. Oh, that’s right, the Auto Mode essentially plays the boring parts of the game for you. This isn’t unlocked by first completing the dungeon on your own, either, as it’s available to use at all times. A blessing for us reviewers, but maybe a red flag for potential buyers.
When you defeat Pokemon, they sometimes want to join your team to fight alongside you. I found that kitting out my squad with long-distance moves was the best bet, as often I’d engage the enemy before they could move close enough to fight back. It felt a little broken, honestly, but I suppose you can swap moves out with TMs to create more of a challenge for yourself.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX Review | Hardcore only
It’s after the main story where the difficulty finally picks up a bit. As you hunt for Legendary and shiny Pokemon, and (finally) evolve your teammates by leveling up or using rare stones, the enemies you encounter require more careful thought. Unfortunately, this is after 14 hours of grinding through the story dungeons. It’s a shame that this difficulty wasn’t introduced sooner.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX tells a good Pokemon story from a unique angle and with visuals that help enhance the storybook feel. However, gameplay that might have held up in 2005 has not aged well. There’s something here for diehard Pokemon fans to enjoy and potentially love, but anyone else should just stick to the mainline series of games.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX was reviewed on a Nintendo Switch with code provided by the publisher.