Ready to transform into a Pokemon? These two brand-new games put you into the skin of one of 16 Pokemon as you play a twisting, turning adventure full of dungeons to explore.
|POKEMON MYSTERY DUNGEON: EXPLORERS OF TIME
POKEMON MYSTERY DUNGEON: EXPLORERS OF DARKNESS
Nintendo for DS
Replay Value: 8.0
Overall Score: 7.5
Pros: Living life as a Pokemon is fun; scenes between gameplay are gorgeous; WiFi lets you e-mail your pal for help.
Cons: Gameplay feels old and sometimes like the same thing over and over again; very little use of the touch screen; gameplay graphics are too small and aren’t nicely done.
But that’s not all. In either game — Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness — you’ll meet 490 Pokemon. Gonna catch ’em all? Not this time. It’s more like, Gonna remember ’em all?
And you get serious gameplay for your money: over 40 hours. That’s a lot of Pokemon to deal with.
WHICH POKEMON PERSONALITY ARE YOU?
This isn’t the first time you’re allowed to transform into Pokemon. That happened a while back with Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue. Like those games, there’s no need to buy both since the games are pretty much the same. However, if you’re a diehard Pokemon collector, there will be a few extra Pokemon and items in the second game for you to treasure.
You’re given a personality test at the beginning of the game to see which Pokemon would be best matched to the way you act in real life. You’re asked questions such as, If you went into a graveyard and saw a creepy lady drenched in water, what would you do? After that, the DS analyzes your aura. Just place your finger on the lower screen, relax and … you’re analyzed. Then you’ll choose a Pokemon sidekick to help you on your way.
Immediately, you’re thrown into the adventure. Your ship hits a storm and you’re thrown overboard. Weak after swimming to shore, you rest on a sandy beach: the land of the Pokemon!
You’ll see Krabby blowing bubbles at sunset. But your future sidekick is depressed, sitting and just watching the world go by. It gets worse when two bad Pokemon steal his personal treasure.
Once you regain your strength, you begin a journey of true friendship by helping out your new buddy. During this time, you’ll join the Pokemon Guild, get a job and hunt down criminal monsters to bring them to justice. You’ll go on a few rescue missions, too.
TIPS AND TRICKS
As you move through the game, you’ll find various dungeons and caves. Defeat the Pokemon by taking turns hitting them or using a power-up item you find along the way, such as a Blast Seed that makes you spit fire. Even in the first few levels of the Beach Caves, you’ll level up and increase your strength significantly on your way to a level of 100. Some Pokemon are made to fight other Pokemon much better than others. So a Water type such as Squirtle will more easily defeat a Fire type such as Charmander.
In the middle of the game, the monsters begin to get really strong. Here, your ability to link four moves together at once will really help. Usually, three attack moves and a good defense move will give you an advantage. But never get too injured by your enemies, and don’t let your Pokemon partner get too injured, either. If that happens, you’ll faint and lose the powers you’ve gained on the level. Plus, you have to start the level all over again.
If you see that you’re about to faint from Pokemon attacks (by looking at the info on the top screen), you can send an e-mail to a friend via the system’s WiFi abilities. Send your S.O.S. to his PC or even his cell phone, and your pal can help you out.
Nintendo says the graphics in these games are much better than before. Well, not really. The Pokemon characters are tiny and often seen on a little grid on the touch screen. The only pieces of the Pokemon puzzle that have really cool graphics are the story scenes you get in between gameplay. These are really beautiful, full of pretty oceans, beaches and sunsets.
While the games are generally good role-playing experiences, they don’t seem completely ready for the DS system. You use the cross-pad to move around and your letter buttons to fight and check your inventory, not the always-fun touch screen. In fact, the touch screen isn’t put to use much at all.
These games would have been great for the Game Boy Advance when that system was state of the art. Let’s put it this way: These Pokemon games are not even close to the brilliance of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.
Also, while you meet many Pokemon in the dungeons, each dungeon isn’t very interesting to explore after the first few hours, since you see them as a maze from above. You might get tired of them since there isn’t that much new to see. The game makers try to make up for this with new Pokemon for you to fight each time you enter a dungeon, but the pocket monsters aren’t very exciting. There isn’t even a graphic on the top screen featuring the monster and its powers and abilities.
If you’re a big Pokemon fan who enjoys the card and video games, you have to get these games just to see all the hundreds of Pokemon appear and to be part of another epic journey. If this is your first Pokemon game, make sure you read the included instruction booklet before diving in.