It’s here! The new installment of the Mystery Dungeon series is a must for the true Pokémon fan. The story is the same: Save the Pokémon!
|POKÉMON MYSTERY DUNGEON: EXPLORERS OF SKY
Nintendo for DS
Replay Value: 8.0
Overall Score: 7.0
Pros: Five new Pokémon to play as; WiFi offers many features; many Pokémon stories.
Cons: Too much like the previous games; gameplay graphics aren’t detailed enough; needs even more new Pokémon.
To a big Pokémon fan, this new game is like a road trip and heroic adventure combined. But it might be more interesting for the new Mystery Dungeon fan because of the similarities in gameplay to the last two games. For instance, remember the beginnings of Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness? You’re thrown into darkness. Then you see lightning and rocks that look like a wolf baring his scary teeth. It’s exactly the same in Explorers of Sky.
As in the other games, you have to take a personality test before you can play. You’ll answer questions such as whether you like karaoke and day-old cake and if you consider yourself to be a pushy person. To figure out your aura, it then asks you to press your finger on the touchscreen gently. (Actually, you’d better press hard or it won’t register.)
My aura was deep green, my favorite color. It was determined that I was brave type with a strong sense of justice and that I won’t turn away from someone in trouble. But I might be too pushy. I became the Electric Pokémon, Pikachu, and chose as my partner a Chimchar, a kind of monkey.
When the actual game begins, you’re washed on shore to meet your cowardly cohort, a Pokémon of your choosing. No matter which Pokémon you choose, he’ll start out as a wimp. And, as in the other games, you’ll start quests by retrieving your shy Pokémon’s stolen treasure.
As you go down, down, down into the deep Beach Caves, you’ll level up and become stronger quickly. Just remember to keep an eye on your health when you find the baddies who took that treasure and called your partner a wimp. Otherwise, you’ll faint and have to start all over again. One way to fend off fainting is to eat berries and apples when your HP meter is low. Keep an eye on that meter and eat often!
If you faint later in the game, you’re returned to your base of operation, Wigglytuff’s Guild. The penalty here is the loss of half of your money and some of the items you’ve been carrying.
Throughout the game, you’ll enjoy Special Episodes, including one with beaver-like creatures called Bibarels, hanging around outside a huge lodge they’ve built in a river. I have beavers near my house, which are sometimes annoying and sometimes cute. So it was a lot of fun to see something like them in a Pokémon game.
You can access the Special Episodes before you finish the main adventure, but you can only play one at a time.
You can play as five new Pokémon characters, including Phanpy, Rioly, Shinx, Eevee and Vulpix. With his long nose and elephant-like look, Phanpy might be the coolest. He’s certainly the only Ground Type available in the game.
You’ll also learn the back stories of a few characters such as Wigglytuff and why he decided to become an adventurer and how Bidoff was inducted into the Guild.
One of the coolest parts of the game comes when you meet the new Pokémon, Shaymin. He’ll become your pal and guide to the very top of Sky Peak. Climbing all the way up is a thrilling trip.
You can play the game either with the stylus and touchscreen or with the D-pad and buttons. This adds a little variety to the game. I like to switch between the two. But I do like the three ways of tapping an enemy to fight against him. One tap throws ammo at the enemy. A Double Tap uses a move you predetermine against your foe. And holding after tapping begins your normal attack.
GET A JOB
Along the way, you’ll take several jobs to save the Pokémon. Sometimes, you’ll find a bottle on the shore with a message inside that’s actually a new job. And sometimes, you’ll see a job posting in the Guild. Then you’ll have to fight an evil Pokémon.
Not too long into the game, a feature called Chimecho Assembly becomes available. At that point, you’ll be able to recruit defeated Pokémon to join your exploration team. Some won’t want to join, but many will.
In Treasure Town, you’ll find that new shops keep opening up. There’s a juice bar, a storage facility and Marowak Dojo, where your team battles wild Pokémon. Chansey’s Day Care is where eggs you have won as gifts for finishing jobs will go. Chansey helps hatch small Pokémon in just a few days.
SOME OF THE SAME
Many dungeons can feel the same because the graphics don’t really change. However, the layout of the dungeons changes every time you enter, making each excursion somewhat of a new experience. But it’s not quite new enough.
There are WiFi features from the other games. If your team faints during battle, you can call on a friend to rescue you. Before your pal gets to the rescue point, he’ll have to defeat a bunch of tough foes. Also, when you’re using the WiFi features, look for the Wonder S Mail Service. Here, you can download special jobs that are otherwise unavailable in the game. Finally, you can trade your team for a friend’s team via WiFi.
If you’re picky about your Pokémon, you might find that this game is too much like the other games. However, the diehard Pokémon fan will discover hours of exploration. Through reading, you’ll learn new tales about creatures that are pretty entertaining. But if money is a little tight this year, think about renting the game to see if it’s different enough for you before buying it.