Nintendo rescues Pokémon Mystery Dungeon

Look who's come (Dungeon) crawling back

I was pretty bemused by the reception to Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, after its surprise announcement at the top of yesterday's Pokémon Direct presentation. After all, I reasoned, Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon only just came out on 3DS. Then I did a quick fact-check (I am a journalist of tremendous integrity) and discovered that it came out FIVE (Flaming - Ed) YEARS AGO. FIVE YEARS. HALF A (Flipping - Ed) DECADE. I STARE INTO THE ENDLESS VOID AND GREET DEATH WITH THE SMILE OF A PATIENT LOVER but yes, it had been a while longer than I thought.

It's a remake of 2005's cross-system classics, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team (GBA!) and Blue Rescue Team (DS!), themselves part of Chunsoft's longstanding Fushigi no Dungeon series, established in 1993 with Torneko no Daibōken: Fushigi no Dungeon for Super Famicom, and probably best-loved in the west for its Chocobo and terrific Shiren the Wanderer incarnations. To put it as unhelpfully as possible, they're roguelikes - you know, turn-based dungeon crawling sorta-RPGs with enemies that move at the same time as you do. Many, many rules and quirks govern the randomly-generated floors of each dungeon, and much of the fun is in puzzling them out, or stumbling across cool new things you (or the enemies!) can do. I think it's best to assume that as a learned nautie, you already know what a Mystery Dungeon game is, so I'll stick to the new stuff and wrap this up, hmm?

It appears as though quality-of-life features from the sequels have - as you'd expect - found their way into this new remake. Your party is controllable from the start (rather than post-game as in the GBA/DS version), treasures are accessible as soon as you leave a dungeon rather than having to be appraised, there's a shortcut menu on ZR that you can customise with your favourite commands for less fiddly controls and, somewhat astonishingly, there's an "auto-complete" mode that has the computer take over and beeline you to the exit stairs - though it'll still stop you for battles, of course. I can't imagine using such a feature, but maybe it'll be good for replaying already-completed dungeons if you just want to face the boss.

It's coming out on March 6th and there's a demo available now, but given the kind of game it is, you probably already know if you'll love or hate it. Me, I've already swapped a Switch Game Voucher for its torturously unplayable little icon on my home screen. Mystery Dungeon is going to rule my life and I can't wait. I can only hope that the opening personality test accurately declares me a Snorlax. A particularly fat, stupid Snorlax.