A great start to an entertaining, fun, engrossing, (but somewhat simplistic) spin off series.

User Rating: 7.5 | Pokemon Fushigi no Dungeon: Ao no Kyuujotai DS
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon is an over looked and underrated spin off series. The first entry is an experience which provides an interesting story, fun game play (even if it is on the simplistic side), a great atmosphere and is just a charming expirience to sit through.

The story is that you have been called to the Pokemon world and are transformed into a Pokemon with no memory of anything other than that you were once a human. The World's Balance is upset and as a result natural calamities are occuring causing some Pokemon to turn vicious. Complete with plot twists, character development and genuinly touching and entertaining moments of dialogue.
It all might seem slow paced and uninteresting for the first few hours of gameplay, but it does pick up and become very entertaining.

When the game first starts you are given a personality test and depending on what answers you give will determine which Pokemon you turn into. Once your character is set, you can pick a partner Pokemon. Partner characters feautured are; Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, Chikorita, Totodile, Cyndaquil, Treeco, Mudkip, Torchic, Pikachu.
Playar characters you may get from the quiz are all of the aformentioned Pokemon and Eevee, Machop, Cubone, Meowth, Psyduck and Skitty. Although there are some restrictions. Say if your quiz puts you as a fire type, you can't have a fire type partner.

Gameplay is somewhat simplistic and can be considered a watered down version of the main stream Pokemon games. You and your partner explore randomly generated Mystery Dungeons collecting items and battling various Pokemon on the way. In the dungeons have to find the stairs to advance to the next floor until you reach the end of the dungeon to advance the story. There are also Rescue Missions which sometimes need to be completed to complete the story and get some treasures. These missions normally involve finding one Pokemon on one floor, but can also involve item delivery and escorting other pokemon.

You can have a total of four moves learned at once and can equip one of them for easy access. Moves are from the regular pokemon games, but their power and effects are different. Some moves can only attack when an enemy is right next to you. Others have a longer range, for example Quick attack can reach upto two tiles away. Some moves can cut corners, such as ember, so you can attack an enemy round a corner. You learn moves as you level up, but your Pokemon can't evolve until completing the main story. However, you can re learn old moves by visiting the Gulpin Link Shop in Town Square. Move linking is also a feature, where you can use two moves back to back. Two moves have to be set for a link at the Gulpin Link Shop. Additionally you have a standard melee attack which has no PP limit and can throw objects such as rocks.

Proper use of items is essential to do well at this game. For one thing, the game has a hunger mechaninc, where if you get too hungry you will faint. So you have to carry food around with you. The bag's space is limited to only 20 items, so you carefully have to decide how much food you should take, how many healing items, PP restorers excetera. You can store items in storage and I reccomend doing this alot. There appears to be a shortage of items like Oran berried to restore health and reviver seeds which revive you if you faint. So you will want to store these. Be very sparing with your reviver seeds. There are also Orbs you can use to your advantage, and you can equip items to enhance your stats or give healing items to your partner so they can throw them to you for use when you're in a pinch.

You can add Pokemon to your team. Sometimes in battle you earn their respect and they ask to join you. The Artificial Intelligance can be a bit dumb sometimes and it can cost you. You can try to make them more useful such as setting certain moves so they won't use useless or not very effective ones. And you can tell them to run away, wait in one place etc.

If you or your partner die (but not any additional Pokemon you recruit) it counts as a game over and you loose alot of money and items. You're better off turning the game off, then turning it back on when you get defeated. Leveling up isn't really an issue, if you feel you are too low leveled you can exploit the fact that enemy AI isn't too smart either and does do daft things.
the game can become frustrating at times though.

Graphics aren't really that impressive. It's all simplistic sprites. Music on the other hand - there are some genuinly good peices in the game which really add to the atmosphere and story of the game. It sets the stage for the experience.

Now this game had two versions. Blue rescue on the DS, and Red Rescue on the GBA. From what I've heard the only difference is some of the Pokemon you can recruit are different.Obviously the sprite work on the DS version is slightly more detailed. And the music, well some sounds better on the DS and some sound better on the GBA.

Pokemon Mystery Dunegon really shines in terms of creating a really nice story with plot twists and turns and you really do feel for the characters as you play through. The gameplay, although simple and at times frustrating, is fun! Overall Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Blue Rescue Team is a charming experience and one that Poke fans should check out!

Milesprower2k9 original reviews