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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    Avatar image for game_buddy360
    game_buddy360

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

    Avatar image for Smoolander
    Smoolander

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

    Avatar image for hero242
    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!!!

    Avatar image for vortex911
    vortex911

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

    Avatar image for skatrbub54
    skatrbub54

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

    Avatar image for bluej33
    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...

    Avatar image for Djmaster214
    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

    Avatar image for u_gt_skilled
    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.

    Avatar image for mcr1000
    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

    Avatar image for ghettomani4
    ghettomani4

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

    Avatar image for stooge55
    stooge55

    can you evolve?

    Avatar image for bmjs93
    bmjs93

    i would like 2 get all mystery dungeons

    Avatar image for Ike_Master
    Ike_Master

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

    Avatar image for omnifury
    omnifury

    great i'm definately getting this

    Avatar image for hobobski
    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..

    Avatar image for blood_dragonx
    blood_dragonx

    this game look good

    Avatar image for path_of_hope
    path_of_hope

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

    Avatar image for path_of_hope
    path_of_hope

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

    Avatar image for EvilLemon45
    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.

    Avatar image for Sins-of-Mosin
    Sins-of-Mosin

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

    Avatar image for kid_ranqe
    kid_ranqe

    Pokemon is great! The games are great!

    Avatar image for pikaby
    pikaby

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

    Avatar image for BBlackford
    BBlackford

    Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

    Avatar image for _em_
    _em_

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

    Avatar image for hobobski
    hobobski

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

    Avatar image for newown
    newown

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

    Avatar image for guidedtruth
    guidedtruth

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

    Avatar image for lasagna435
    lasagna435

    Don't bother with these.

    Avatar image for DJ_5
    DJ_5

    i hope this is good

    Avatar image for King-gamer
    King-gamer

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

    Avatar image for mcbride69
    mcbride69

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

    Avatar image for Nintendo_Man
    Nintendo_Man

    Looks like they are much improved sequals.