Originally released in 2005, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team surprised the Pokémon fanbase with a dungeon-crawler spinoff that, despite some gameplay annoyances, showed how much potential the franchise had in the genre. Since then, several more Mystery Dungeon titles have come around. The last one of these was Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon back in 2015, and ever since, fans have been wondering if Nintendo would continue the series or not.
Their answer has come in the form of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, a remake of the original titles that combines the unique elements of each game into one and overhauls the whole experience with a brand new artistic direction and some gameplay tweaks. After finishing the central part of the game in full, I can definitively say that the remake is an absolute treat to play. However, it does have some issues that keep it from being truly perfect.
Let's go, team!
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX
Bottom line: The remake of the famed 2005 classic is fantastic overall, but some problematic aspects hold it back from perfection.
- Beautiful visuals and music
- Tight core gameplay mechanics
- Amazing story
- Perfect performance
- Camp system is a chore
- Game can feel too easy
- No enemy health bars
What you'll love about this remake
The visual overhaul present in this remake is stunning, and it brings the game to life in an incredible way.
Above all else, the upgrades made to the presentation in Rescue Team DX are excellent phenomenal. The paint-like art direction is gorgeous and brings the game to life in a way that the retro pixelated style of the original simply couldn't. As someone who played Blue Rescue Team as a kid, I was continually grinning from ear-to-ear during my playthrough. The soundtrack got an overhaul as well, and the ways in which it took what made the original score special and added onto it were a treat to listen to.
Then, there's the gameplay mechanics. In Rescue Team DX, you take control of Pokémon to form a Rescue Team. Your goal is to complete jobs, recruit Pokémon to your team, and to save the world (when that responsibility eventually falls on your shoulders). You do this by entering Mystery Dungeons, which are rogue-like areas where you frequently encounter hostile Pokémon in turn-based combat. There's also a Camp system that dictates your recruitment efforts, but I'll touch on that later.
The combat mechanics of Rescue Team DX are simple to understand, but the satisfying depth of the engagements comes from how unique each encounter can feel. Just like in the main Pokémon games, each new Pokémon you encounter poses a specific challenge for you to overcome, and in a dungeon environment with added factors such as range and positioning, the game quickly starts to feel strategic and tactical. Every move you and your team members make matters, and doing your best to synergize with your team while minimizing the effectiveness of your foes makes for excellent gameplay. The addition of Mega Evolution also adds some thrilling flair, too.
When it comes to story, the writing is superb. Considering it's a story in the Pokémon universe, the amount of maturity and depth that it has will be quite surprising to newcomers. I won't spoil anything here, but I will say that the tale is an impactful, emotional ride with excellently-written characters.
Lastly, there's performance, which is perfect. During my time with Rescue Team DX, I had no issues at all with things like framerate drops or freezing and hitching, which is always great to see.
What you'll love less about this remake
The Camp system feels like a chore designed to artificially extend your grind, rather than something fun and enjoyable.
While Rescue Team DX is excellent overall, there are a few issues I have with it. The Camp system, which is what you use to recruit Pokémon for your Rescue Team, is a chore to deal with. In dungeons, defeated Pokémon may randomly ask to join your squad; if you don't own a Camp that they can live in, they can't become a permanent member of your team. These Camps cost money, and many of them are expensive. Not being able to recruit a Pokemon you like because you haven't bought the right Camp yet is supremely annoying, and I wish that the developers would have either gotten rid of it or given it a more thorough reworking in this remake.
Another issue with the game is that the new ability to temporarily recruit up to five extra Pokémon while on an adventure can make the engaging gameplay a lot less fun because of how easy it is to get through Mystery Dungeons with a small army at your side. Since Pokémon wanting to tag along is random, this isn't a huge deal, but for those who enjoy challenges, it will be a bit grating. You can always decline the Pokemon's request, but not using a gameplay mechanic to keep the gameplay challenging doesn't feel right.
Finally, there aren't health bars above enemy Pokémon, which is something Mystery Dungeon fans have been asking for since...forever. It's really not a problem, but it's a quality-of-life feature that should be there.
Should you buy this remake?
While the Camp system's annoyances and the occasional trivialization of engagements due to temporary recruitment can be frustrating, Rescue Team DX is overall a great game that brings the 2005 original to life with beautiful visuals, a new score, and the return of the core gameplay and story experience that fans know and love.
If you can't stand dealing with the Camp system, it may be best to avoid Pokémon: Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX. However, if you can survive having to grind for places for recruited Pokémon to live, the game is absolutely worth picking up.
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