Have you ever wanted to take direct control of a pokemon and go on adventures all while battling other pokemon? Then this is the game for you. Technically this is the seventh Pokemon Mystery Dungeon game that has been released outside of Japan, but it is the third game with a story completely independent from the other games (apparently there’s a fourth game I forgot about that I need to play). You take control of a human with amnesia who has somehow been turned into a pokemon. After being rescued from a bunch of Beheeyem by a lone Nuzleaf you are brought to Serene Village. Here you go to school and make new friends, including one friend who will be important in your journey ahead as strange things are starting to happen in this small village.
I enjoyed playing Explorers of Darkness back when it came out and it was even one of the first games I beat completely (I’m not very good at video games). Because of that I had high hopes for this game, in particular its story. The main thing I enjoyed about the plot was how the tone gradually changed until the plot had reached its climax. I was feeling chills as I was going to fight the final boss. There are a few unexpected twists and turns in the story. There’s one twist that I actually found pretty cool within the first few chapters of the game and the exclamation for why this happened was not what I expected.
One of the main complaints I had for the plot of this game was how slowly paced it is. Sure this does mean that you get the chance to train between major events (since once something happens you can’t do anything else until you deal with the problem at hand), but I think earlier games in this series did a much better job at that while also having a lot more things happen in the game. Not a whole lot actually happens. There isn’t even much to the after game (in explorers of darkness there were several chapters in the after game, in Super Mystery Dungeon there is only one chapter after the epilogue then you work on completing the rest of the game).
I know I said earlier that I found a lot of the characters very interesting. To be fair, I wasn’t really lying. However these characters weren’t memorable in the way that Absol was in the Rescue Team games or Wigglytuff was in Explorers of Darkness. What I will most likely be remembering is the plot because that is what really impressed me about this game.
Now onto the actual gameplay and animation. First things first, as soon as you start up a new game file you will be asked a few questions. Your answers to these questions will give you a suggestion as to what pokemon you will be playing as as well as what your partner will be. The pokemon you can play as include all starters before Sun and Moon were released and some series favourites such as pikachu and riolu. I like how you can just ignore these suggestions and choose whatever you want to be. I got chikorita and decided that I would rather play as a froekie because greninja is my favourite pokemon. I decided that my partner would be a treecko. These are all interesting playable pokemon, however I noticed that they left meowth out in this game. Meowth was my character in Explorers of Darkness so I was sad to see his exclusion.
Some of the animations in this game are weird. I understand that it is hard to render all the pokemon that will appear in the game so some will be done better than others, but whenever I saw my froekie walk around I was wierded out by the weightless way it hopped. The characters also move slowly unless you run, but you can only run in a straight line so it doesn’t help when you don’t have a long straightaway.
Now the final thing I will talk about is the cutscenes. They are done well for the most part, however there is one thing that annoyed me about them. I couldn’t skip any of the cutscenes which was a pain because I died during the final battle and had to sit through a long cutscene that happens just before you get into the final bosses final phase. It was a good cutscene but I didn’t need to watch it more than once. I just wanted to beat the game.
So all in all, this is a good game though its not as good as the earlier Pokemon Mystery Dungeon titles, at least not as good as the two I’ve actually played. The gameplay is well balanced, it is never too hard or too easy, and it was fun to play. I would recommend this game to anyone who enjoys the Pokemon franchise as well as to anyone who wants to play an interesting RPG.
Final Rating – 42/50