‘Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon’ game review
By Lauren Paulsen, Senior Columnist
One of the greatest successes that I have seen throughout my life has been the Pokémon franchise. I remember playing the game, watching the television series, and buying the trading cards while I was in elementary school, and even today Pokémon seems to be as popular as I remember from my childhood. It’s no wonder there are so many spinoffs of the video game. Recently, another one was released for the Nintendo 3DS: Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon.
Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon is the fifth generation of the Mystery Dungeon series for Nintendo’s handhelds. In each game, the protagonist wakes up after being changed from a human to a Pokémon. I found the concept of being a Pokémon pretty cool when the first generation of the series came out. Using a series of questions, the game will set you up with a Pokémon that matches your personality. You don’t have to stick with this Pokémon, and this installment allows you to be one of 20 different ones. However, I decided to go with whoever the game thought was my match, which this time happened to be Oshawott.
The game will also give you a partner that remains with you throughout your journey. Again, the game allows you a choice, but I went with the one that the game decided complimented my Oshawott. The game matched me with a Cyndaquil, which is strangely the same partner that I had in the first Mystery Dungeon game. As you progress through the game, you can gain more friends to help you in the dungeons.
Several things are different in Super Mystery Dungeon than in its predecessors. Usually, early on in the game you are given various request options to accept that you can fulfill in the dungeons, perhaps by finding a lost Pokémon, defeating a certain Pokémon, finding something for a Pokémon—many different types of quests. However, in this installment, the game pretty much directs you along one path for the first five chapters or so. It isn’t until later that you are allowed to choose between requests, and even then I have found the options more limited than previous generations.
This may change further into the game, as connections with Pokémon are a big theme in the series. Instead of going to look at a request board for quests, you are given a Connection Orb. You start off with one connection, and when you fulfill that request, it opens up connections to other Pokémon. As you fulfill more requests, more connections will open up, forming a kind of web. It’s a pretty high-tech gadget compared to the previous request boards.
Another difference with this game seems to be the age of your Pokémon. Although our ages are not mentioned in any of the games, I don’t remember being treated as a young child in the previous versions. A big part of your partner’s story in Super Mystery Dungeon is that their dream is to join the Expedition Society, which they can’t currently do because they are too young. Not only that, but in the last installment, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates of Infinity, you and your partner build your own house and live there. It’s not really a big deal, but it means that they actually make you go to school in the game, at least until summer break. The lessons are a way for you to learn stuff about Dungeons, and certain new features such as the Looplets, onto which you can then attach Emeras that you find to gain various effects to help you in the dungeon.
Overall, it felt like the game took some time to gain its footing, but it does eventually turn into the familiar Mystery Dungeon game that I enjoy. The new features are interesting to explore, though the Emeras seem overpowered and I have found it rather easy to clear dungeons so far. The story has mostly focused on your partner’s dream and you helping them to fulfill it, and little to do with why you are there, though I imagine that will change as I progress.
I have liked all of the previous games in this series, and I like this one too. If you have played any of the previous games, you know what you are getting into. However, for those who haven’t played any of the previous Mystery Dungeon games, you don’t have to have played them to enjoy this one.
If you like Pokémon and you like dungeon crawling, then add this to your Christmas wish list.