Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a remaster and combination of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team. The original Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team games launched almost 15 years ago on the Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS in the West. The original games received mixed critical response but sold rather well over time.
Nintendo have decided to remaster the games now but with a new coat of paint much like they did with The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening last year. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX has an art style reminiscent of a painting and there are some new features which make the game a lot easier than ever before.
The story of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX starts off with you, the protagonist, having been turned into a Pokémon. The game determines which Pokémon you’ve been turned into by asking you a series of questions. These questions are fairly basic but the game clearly tries to use some psychology to obtain a rough estimate of your personality type.
The game then suggests one of sixteen Pokémon to you and you can choose to either accept this or pick another. Directly afterwards, you’re given a choice of a partner Pokémon that’s from a different type as the one that you picked. Once you’ve picked the Pokémon that you will be and selected your partner Pokemon, you’re immediately thrown into a dungeon.
Butterfree’s baby Caterpie is lost and it’s up to you and your trusty partner to rescue him. The introductory dungeon gets you up to speed with the game’s mechanics and honestly, there’s not a lot to it. Gameplay in Rescue Team DX is incredibly simple – players will explore a randomly generated dungeon filled with wild Pokémon, there are items and Pokecoins scattered about too.
Exploring a dungeon is easy and can be done in one of two ways. You can explore manually by moving in one of the 8 directions available to you or by pressing and holding the L button on the Left Joy-Con. If you opt to move around by yourself, be warned that the 8 directional movement feels rather dated and sluggish. It’s just not as fluid as movement in modern day games are and it’s highly noticeable.
If you decide to just auto-explore by holding down L, your Pokémon party will automatically move around the dungeon, pick up items and only stop when encountering another Pokémon. This is where you’ll have to take over to issue attack commands.
Players can either press A on the right Joy-Con to attack or they can bring up a menu with 4 specific attacks that your Pokémon has learned. Most Pokémon in the dungeons are a breeze to defeat and it’s only later in the game that you’ll have to start making use of attacks that are super effective against other types of Pokémon. Failing in a dungeon is quite a pain though because you won’t get any rewards so be sure to monitor your Pokémon HP levels.
While exploring, an energy meter depletes and players will have to eat food items to replenish their energy. Occasionally, based on the rescue mission you’re doing, an additional Pokémon may accompany you and your partner Pokémon on a dungeon mission. You can also gain additional Pokémon for your rescue team by saving them from dungeons once you’ve bought a Pokémon camp from Wigglytuff back at your base of operations.
Once a dungeon is complete, you’ll return back to your base camp. At the base camp, players can deposit their Pokecoins at the Felicity bank, buy items and skills at the Kecleon shop as well as store consumables and other items in a storage box. You can also visit the post office and take on more rescue missions.
The base camp is quite a pleasant hub area to spend down time when not out on rescue missions because there’s a lot to do here. The Makuhita Dojo let’s you take on time trial dungeons which allow you to level up your Pokémon quite fast. More levels are unlocked here as you play through the story of the main game and it’s well worth playing through to gain experience points. This is possibly one of the best aspects of the game since it presents a challenge.
A lot of the gameplay in Rescue Team DX is interspersed with story segments. The story is not exactly gripping stuff but will keep you entertained throughout the formulaic gameplay loop of explore, defeat Pokémon, return to base.
This is the kind of game you’d load up, play through a couple of dungeons and then put down for a while only to return later and do the exact same thing. The randomised dungeons keep things interesting but after a few hours, you’d have seen most of the game’s environments.
Being a Pokémon game, the “Gotta catch ‘em all” element is still there and there’s over 450 Pokémon that can be encountered in the game. Quality of life improvements have been made to the game to bring newer evolved forms, that didn’t exist in the original Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS games. Mega Evolutions are also present and are a welcome addition here.
Graphically, Rescue Team DX looks gorgeous. The new art style and overall aesthetic makes the game immediately catch your attention. It has a certain cute charm to it that’s hard to dislike and younger gamers will probably find the vibrant colours enticing. Environments could have been a bit more varied in dungeons though. Complementing this is the soundtrack, which is excellent. The main rescue base theme is quite catchy too and you’ll find yourself humming it after a while.
Overall, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a great remaster but the game’s lack of depth is its downfall. The auto explore option, while useful, trivialises the game somewhat since you can effectively hold down two buttons and breeze through dungeons with minimal effort. If you’re in the market for a Pokémon game with a great soundtrack and don’t mind the lack of depth or difficulty, then this game is for you.