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Pokemon Mystery Dungeon game review

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.


Nintendo for DSpokemon.jpg


Sound: 8.0

Gameplay: 7.5

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.


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!

VIDEO: Watch Pokemon Mystery Dungeon in action.

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.


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.

55 Comments on Pokemon Mystery Dungeon game review

  1. I think legendary is right, pikachu is the best starter pokemon 😀

  2. BlazikenLover // February 10, 2010 at 9:58 am // Reply

    I have Dialga and Palkia recruited on my team and a I already beat Darkrai and have manphy on my team and it still wont let me evolve

    • Anonymous // July 2, 2010 at 4:27 pm // Reply

      BlazikenLover If this even matters anymore, then u need to unlock marine resort also to evolve starters.

    • DARKRAI DUDE // July 2, 2010 at 4:28 pm // Reply

      BlazikenLover If this even matters anymore, then u need to unlock marine resort also to evolve starters.

  3. what do you do with a secret slab?

  4. i want to play pokemon mystery dunguen

  5. pikachufan9087 // October 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm // Reply

    I HATE CHIKORITA I WANT PIKACHU And i am stuck in Mt bristle HELP!

  6. pikachufan9087 // October 28, 2009 at 3:23 pm // Reply

    i hate my starter chikarita i want pikachu how do i get him?

  7. pikachufan9087 // October 28, 2009 at 3:21 pm // Reply

    im stuck in Mt bristle i just got the game yesterday and im stuck please help

    • You just should train, bring a lot of items with you. and if that don´t works. Start over, and change your starter

  8. tictacmaster371 // October 8, 2009 at 4:55 pm // Reply

    are you able to trade them to ur other pokemon games

  9. u should be able 2 battle team raider

  10. i completed it. im bored

  11. i cant beat dark crater can someone help me

  12. hi i love that

  13. pokemon card master // August 27, 2009 at 11:37 pm // Reply

    HOW do i A JIRCHI
    MANAPHY comes back in a few days;’
    the game is perfect
    i love it

  14. I`m sure i`ll love the game. It sounds perfect for me.

  15. Wat happens after you beat darkria

  16. i beat the story line and i liked the game so much that im a cyndaquil and piplup and i still havent made a new game LOL!=)

  17. i love pokemon mystery i have the game and it is awesome

  18. I need to know that is there a new game out for pokemon Mystery Dungon sky of the clond

  19. Team Thunder // July 19, 2009 at 2:32 pm // Reply

    I like soup :))

  20. team fire'spark // July 4, 2009 at 7:07 am // Reply

    beat the game it was so easy darkrai is in miracle sea B3F

  21. I beat the game (got all the 491 pokemon recruited)


  22. i beet all butt marine resortI KANT GET MANAPHY TO COME BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. TEAM THUNDER // June 10, 2009 at 12:03 pm // Reply


  24. Team Thunder // June 10, 2009 at 11:38 am // Reply

    I mean Dojo 😦

  25. TEAM THUNDER // June 8, 2009 at 7:33 pm // Reply

    I know where to get Motress. he is in final maze at the gym

  26. I know how to turn into rayquaza

  27. this is a really good game i love the story line

  28. it is cool

  29. what are is the the best starter and partner pokemon ?

  30. i beat grovyle

  31. I know how to recruit darkrai. Through out the game someone might give you a secret slab and a mystery part. Those two items are rare so dont lose them. One time i took out the two parts and put them in the bag (in the game) and the darkrai appeared i tried recruiting him but no luck. The the next time i did the same then a mewtwo appeared out of nowhere while exploring in a dungeon. So good luck recruiting them both!!!!1

  32. Super Sonic // May 3, 2009 at 8:32 am // Reply

    I used my NEW action replay to almost beat the game! I had TONS of trouble in Deep Brine Cave. I was trapped between pokemon.

  33. i beat the whole game its easy

  34. wow. i beat dialga yesterday. he/she was hard. i am a munchlax and my partner is pikachu.

  35. ex team tortwig // April 25, 2009 at 7:46 am // Reply

    haven’t played for a few days. i just call myself a lot of things for fun. but yes tortwig was my exploration team’s name and blazeterra is my after completion of the whole game (acotwg) name.

  36. team blazeterra (aka team tortwig) // April 24, 2009 at 8:27 pm // Reply

    I did get articuno. its at level 43. kind of a rip off. sky uppercut rules. Explorers of the sky just came out in japan.

  37. Team Awesomness // April 16, 2009 at 3:37 pm // Reply

    how many levels in deep dark crater

  38. team blazeterra // April 16, 2009 at 2:03 pm // Reply

    short. going to get an icy flute and possibly recruit articuno

  39. Torchic+Turtwig=Team Tortwig // April 14, 2009 at 3:39 pm // Reply

    beat darkrai yesterday. easy also got palkia

  40. No Nickname // April 11, 2009 at 6:52 pm // Reply

    can someone tell me how to recruit darkrai?

  41. team ChubChub // April 11, 2009 at 6:38 pm // Reply

    Does anyone know a fast way to level up without using cheats?

  42. I beat the game

  43. I have a chimchar as a starter and squirtle as a partner…..

  44. i am a charmander i reached chapter 6 overnight

  45. is that so called diagla really imposible to beat

  46. Torchic+Turtwig=Team Tortwig // April 4, 2009 at 8:22 am // Reply

    just letting you all know I beat primal dialga at level 40 with ten hp in 1 turn( my fire moves were linked until ageis cave)


  48. how to beat dialga

  49. the BEST starter pokemon is pikachu!!!!!

  50. team waterfall // March 2, 2009 at 6:00 pm // Reply

    pokegirl do you mean dusknoir?Duskull from the bank could be him.Dusknoir is in the future so that means this is what is going to happen.Duskull is going to evolve. if you see a dusknoir running the bank RUN!

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