Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness Hands-On

We explore Nintendo's upcoming DS dungeon game featuring the whole Pokemon menagerie.

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Nintendo demoed two upcoming DS dungeon crawlers--Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness--at its recent press event in San Francisco. The two games, like the proper Pokemon games, feature the same content, but there's a different mix of Pokemon in each. The games are the sequel to 2006's Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Red and Blue, which appeared on the Game Boy Advance and DS respectively. To keep things simple, the two sequels stick to the DS and build on the basic dungeon hack-and-slash of their predecessors. We had the chance to try out work-in-progress versions of the games to see how they're shaping up.

Lots of Pokemon and tons of dungeons to explore: it's Pokemon Mystery Dungeon.
Lots of Pokemon and tons of dungeons to explore: it's Pokemon Mystery Dungeon.

You are once again cast as a human who has been turned into a Pokemon, and the specific details on the why and how are to be discovered as you go. When you first start the game, you'll be given a short personality quiz whose answers will determine just which of the 16 starting Pokemon you'll play as. Once that's sorted out, you'll kick off into the game and wake up on a beach. A few short cinematics later, you'll be on your way and adventuring. Your hub in the game will be Treasure Town, a standard role-playing game town with an assortment of important locales, such as a bank and the Wigglytuff Guild, which is where you'll pick up your quests. The guild will also contain an "outlaw" list of unsavory Pokemon you have to hunt down, bounty-hunter style.

The action is basically the same as in the previous entries in the series: You'll be exploring dungeons looking for Pokemon to help. Combat is a pseudo-turn-based system that will let you appear to move in real time but will let you take your time during attacks. The dungeons you'll explore are now randomly generated to add variety to the action. Another new feature is the ability to send out a help message to friends via an e-mail account you choose to bind in the game. These alerts will let them know to hop online and rescue you if you fall in a dungeon.

The visuals have seen some improvement since the original game and feature more detail. The Pokemon and environments we saw looked fine and showcased some nice touches of color. The audio is still pretty low-key, but it fits the action fine.

Based on what we played, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness are looking like solid follow-ups to the previous games in the series. While the games don't appear to be revolutionizing anything, they've got solid gameplay and more Pokemon than you can shake a stylus at. The online features are a neat addition to the gameplay and should please technically minded fans. The games are set to ship later this month on the DS. Look for our full review soon.

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game_buddy360

can you still battle on this game if you can im hetting it i like pokemone games where you can battle

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Smoolander

Look, there's a dead horse........and it's being flogged.

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hero242

i beat the first game in 2 weeks.i hope this new one will be longer and beter.but really the first one was kinda great.i hope this one will be awsome!!!

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vortex911

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

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skatrbub54

It looks promising. Why wouldn't Nintendo make another one? Didn't the first one sell extremely well in Japan and America?

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bluej33

Good god...I really disliked the first game and I'm not even giving the second a shot. I mean, isn't one of these games good enough? Does Nintendo really need another? I couldn't even bring myself to finish Blue, and Nintendo is really expecting this to do well? So, you add a tiny bit of new content and some very no-frills WiFi and release it -- TWICE -- as a new game for 35 bucks? Give me a break...

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Djmaster214

when will they stop beating a dead horse. Pokemon should have ended with silver and gold. I hate to see my favorite series go out like this

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u_gt_skilled

I got blue, I haven't finished it yet, but so far it's good. I'm so getting this, it's got all the new pokemon. But they should stop making more up, most are good, but some are really bad and now almost every pokemon evolves.

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mcr1000

the pokemon games have always been fun i have played all of them exsept the mystery dungeon games so im going to give the new ones a try it seems good

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ghettomani4

i hope this one has a great story line like the first one. That one was amazing

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stooge55

can you evolve?

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bmjs93

i would like 2 get all mystery dungeons

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Ike_Master

for me the original pokemon games will always be the best. These new ones are starting to get a little weird...

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omnifury

great i'm definately getting this

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hobobski

i have blue. it was fun, long, with an interesting story. Also, there was tons of stuff to do after the main storyline. I'm definitely buying this one. ort maybe explorers of time. Uh oh. big decision time. Lots of coin flipping..

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blood_dragonx

this game look good

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path_of_hope

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

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path_of_hope

oh my god, oh my god! anyone who doesnt buy this is insane!

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EvilLemon45

I never managed to do Deoxys Cave and Joyous Tower (the one that starts you on level1) on Red (I didn't have a DS then) but I found it good fun trying! I'm getting this one.

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Sins-of-Mosin

Never did finish the last game that came out but a dungeon crawler, I have to play that.

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kid_ranqe

Pokemon is great! The games are great!

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pikaby

Already own the Japanese version, loved it, gonna buy it again~

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BBlackford

Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

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_em_

I doubt I'll buy it, but it does sound cute ("Wigglytuff Guild", lol).

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hobobski

i liked blue, it was really long too (including the after story stuff) probably will buy this one too.

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newown

Looks like no improvments! I can't see any changes . same story , starter pokemons and graphics :? PM me if I am wrong , please .

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guidedtruth

well i had red last time it suck really bad well ar s yei hope it's good thi

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lasagna435

Don't bother with these.

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DJ_5

i hope this is good

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King-gamer

loved the first, can't wait for the sequel!

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mcbride69

Never got to play the others, always wanted to though!! I might pick them up when i buy another DS

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Nintendo_Man

Looks like they are much improved sequals.