As we wait for X and Y, Gates to Infinity redefines the Mystery Dungeon formula. However, there are a few speed bumps...

User Rating: 7 | Pokemon no Fushigi no Dungeon: Magnagate to Mugendai Meikyuu 3DS

The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series is normally one of my favorite Spinoff titles for the Pokemon Franchise. With the recent jump from the DS to the 3DS, the Mystery Dungeon formula has gotten some changes. However, can too many changes improve the gameplay or make things worse?

The Story

If you've played any of the previous PMD games, the story is pretty much the same as Red/Blue Rescue Team and Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky. The player is a human who somehow became a Pokémon. However, instead of getting complete amnesia like the past game, you are specifically asked by some unknown source to save the world. After getting a Partner Pokémon, you travel through Mystery Dungeons, mysterious places that contain treasure, Pokémon in danger, and answers to saving this Pokémon World from some sort of crisis.

When players first start up the game, I should note that they don't have to do a Personality Quiz to decide who their Starter Pokémon will be. In the past, this was one of my few complaints for this series and I'm glad that they finally fixed this. However, the downside to this is that you only have 5 choices of Pokémon to choose from: Pikachu, Axew, or the Unova Starters. Compared to past PMD games, where you could choose from any Gen's starters to a couple fan favorites, this is kind of a letdown.

Mystery Dungeons

After watching some cutscenes, you will enter your first Mystery Dungeon. While the dungeons are now in 3D, they still play in the same as before. Normally, players travel along the floors of each dungeon while trying to get to the Stairs and get to the next floor. You can move the Team Leader Pokémon while the other members follow behind it. You still can't control your teammates directly but you can choose which moves they use and what they do through "Team Tactics". If an enemy Pokémon appears, you and your teammates move first before they do. If you can defeat an enemy Pokemon in battle, you gain experience, any items the enemy Pokemon were holding, and sometimes enemy Pokemon may ask to join your team. However, if your Leader Pokemon or Partner Pokemon's HP goes to zero in the dungeon, you will "White Out" and be sent back to base (unless you have some Reviver Seeds). In past PMD games, this also means losing half your money and items but this has been altered in "Gates to Infinity" to only affect your money until later dungeons. You could also get a friend to come help you out, which will allow you to continue from where you got defeated. Unfortunately, instead of sending out an SOS using a Wi-Fi Connection, and having your friend go into the same dungeon and climb up to the point where you got defeated, in Gates to Infinity, you have to use StreetPass and hope that the other player put "Reviver Seeds" in their Mailbox for you to use.

Post Town

"Post Town" is this game's Shopping District and one part of the Hub, where you can get items and talk to the NPC Pokemon who live in the town for news and tips. There is a "Deposit Box" that replaces the formally known "Kanganstan Storage" and banks from past games, where players can store their items and money. There's still a Kecleon that owns a shop but now works alone. He can sell you health items, Orbs, and sometimes TMs. Rampardos can open any "Treasure Chests" you find, which are sometimes dropped by enemies in the dungeons. There are different kinds of treasure chests that have different kinds of items. In Gates to Infinity, there are 3 New Shop Businesses in this game:

-At "Cinccino's Gift Shop" you can create "Gifts", which are items that can make it easier to recruit enemy Pokemon into your team. However, you need specific items to make certain Gifts.

-At "Glorious Gold", you can trade any "Gold Bars" you find in dungeons or get from Treasure Chests for money or rare items.

-The last shop is randomized and is normally an area you can create in the "Pokemon Paradise."

Pokemon Paradise

The "Pokemon Paradise" is the main area of the game's hub. The best way to describe the "Pokemon Paradise" is that it is a combination of the "Friend Areas" from Red/Blue Rescue Team and the "Join Avenue" from Black 2/White 2. After a certain point in the game, you can do missions that reward you with "Materials" and increase your "Paradise Rank". After collecting certain "Materials" and saving money, you can transform the wasteland surrounding your Team Base into areas for your team members to live and have Gurdurr create special places within these areas. Later on, you can even customize and upgrade areas with different Materials. Here's what you can have in your Paradise:

  • -Specialty Shops: You can create shops that provide different items for you to buy, sell, or trade. Some even provide special services and minigames
  • -Fields: Want more Berries and Seeds? You can create fields where you can grow and plant them, giving you more items and saving you money
  • -Dojos: Want to improve the power of your moves? You can now create your own Dojos to train specific Pokemon-type moves
  • -There is also mention of a dungeon possibly being in the "Pokemon Paradise" but I haven't discovered this yet.

Outside of the "Pokemon Paradise" are default areas:

  • -The Mission Board can be found in the "Pokemon Paradise". In "Gates to Infinity", you can now hold on to up to 16 Missions at a time instead of just 8 like in past games. When you're ready to go on a Mission, talk to Azumarill at the "Request Counter" to open the "Request Gate". However, once the "Request Gate" is open, you can't go into the Friend Area parts of "Pokemon Paradise" or go to "Post Town" unless you talk to Azumarill again.
  • -At "Quagsire's Assembly", you can change your Team Members. Like the past games, you can only have 4 Pokemon on your Team at a time. Quagsire also has his own shop similar to Kecleon's.
  • -At "Scraggy's Savvy Moves", you can have your Pokemon forget and remember old moves like the Move Relearner in the main games.

New Mechanics and Changes

Now that's I've covered the basics, let's go over some of the major changes in the game.

"Move Growth": After your team becomes official and gets their Team Badges, you'll be able to do activate "Move Growth". As your Pokemon Team uses Physical and Special Attacks, each individual move will grow in Level. For example, if Pikachu and any of its teammates use Thunderbolt multiple times, eventually Thunderbolt will level up and become Thunderbolt Level 2, increasing its Power, Accuracy, and PP usage. Regardless of who knows the move, all Pokemon's moves are at the same level. For example, since Pikachu's Thunderbolt is now Thunderbolt Level 2, Emolga and Blitzle's Thunderbolt are now Thunderbolt Level 2. Also, "Move Growth" does not go down, so you can delete "moves" and not have to worry about moves going back to Level 1.

"Team Attack": After your team becomes official and gets their Team Badges, you'll be able to do a Team Attack, which is a powerful technique that your entire team can use to attack all enemy Pokemon in a room regardless of position. Even if it doesn't defeat enemy Pokemon, it can cause status effects to suspend them, giving you time to plan your next move. As powerful as it is, it does takes time to charge up depending on the amount of Pokemon you have on your team in a dungeon.

"Team Skills:" The IQ system has been changed into "Team Skills". In the past, Pokemon could eat a Gummi, specific to their Type, to increase their IQ and unlock special skills that could help in different ways. In "Gates to Infinity", you can now unlock "Team Skills" which are skills that can help your entire team and not just 1 individual Pokemon. "Team Skills" can be found in treasure chests.

"V-Wave:" The "V-Wave" is a special upgrade that changes everyday and affects a specific type of Pokemon for that day.

"Companion Mode:" Need a break from the game's Story? In "Companion Mode" you can play as your teammates instead of just your Starter and Partner Pokemon. This is also a Multiplayer segment, although at the time of writing this I have not experienced multiplayer first hand yet.

Experience: Each time you go into a dungeon with a Pokemon that hasn't been on missions in a while, ALL of the experience points that have been collected by your Starter and Partner will go into the Pokemon after taking 1 step.

Evolving: As soon as your teammates are ready, they can evolve after reaching certain conditions. Of course, you still have to beat the game to evolve your Starter and Partner Pokemon. In some dungeons if an enemy Pokemon defeats your teammates and gain experience, they can evolve as well so watch out!

Bosses: When you reach the end of some dungeons, you may have to fight a Boss Battle. Like in Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky, you will have to fight 2 or more enemy Pokemon in a majority of the story dungeon boss battles. The only difference is now you can use Orbs in Outlaw and Boss Battles, which can make things a little easier.

Magnagate Dungeons

Don't want to play in Story Mode or Companion Mode? Try out the Magnagate Dungeons which are completely random, down to the Pokemon you get to use to explore the dungeon. To open a Magnagate, find a well lit, circular object in real life and hold up your 3DS in front of it. If it works out, you will enter the dungeon with a random Pokemon Team.

Other Information about Magnagates:

  • -Magnagate Dungeons normally are the best to get free TMs.
  • -Magnagate Dungeons vary in length and difficulty
  • -enemy Pokemon are randomized. I'm not even sure if you can recruit them
  • -the objective of the Magnagate Dungeons is to go through all of the floors and defeat the Boss Pokemon waiting at the end
  • -after clearing a Magnagate, all items and money go into the Deposit Box and the Pokemon you used can be used again when you revisit Magnagates you've cleared or attempted


You can download more dungeons for this game to get certain Pokemon (like the Unova Starters and Pikachu), some cool items, and some extra challenges.


While I welcomed some of the changes to the Mystery Dungeon formula with open arms, some of the design decisions are questionable and ruin the experience for me.

One them is the "Gridless Floors", which are areas of a Mystery Dungeon where your Leader Pokémon and Teammates can walk in any direction, like in "Post Town", "Pokemon Paradise", or Rest Stops. However, if your Leader Pokémon or Teammates touch an enemy Pokémon, the field will turn into the regular Grid Layout. Once the battle is over, the Grid disappears again. While this may seem cool, there some problems. First off, "Gridless Floors" are extremely easy to get through. Sure you have to watch out for enemy Pokémon but only 2 to 4 enemies appear and the areas are so wide, you can easily bypass them. Not to mention sometimes enemy Pokemon are asleep and are stationary. Another problem is that "Gridless Floors" make the dungeons shorter. Each area takes up at least 1 floor of a dungeon, or in some cages, split dungeons up into mini sections. One dungeon, if you take out the "Gridless Floors" only has 3 Floors. Finally, even though the "Gridless Floors" have puzzles, they're ridiculously easy. From pressing a switch to knocking down logs to form bridges, you shouldn't have trouble during any "Gridless Floors". When revisiting old dungeons during missions, "Gridless Floors" can ruin the flow of the game.

Remember how I said you can hold up to 16 missions instead 8 now? Well, you only choose to go on 1 mission at a time, even if multiple missions take place at the same dungeon. This is a major setback because choosing how many missions you can do on 1 trip was part of the challenge of the past games.

Speaking of missions, their only purpose is to supply you with "Materials" and money. I'm not sure if you can get new recruits anymore by clearing missions, which is another letdown.

A big thing that's a lot of people have discussed about this game is the Pokemon Selection. IIRC, there are 151 Pokemon, out of the currently known 649 (not counting anything from the upcoming X and Y games), in this game. Most of them come from Unova, with the rest being small portions of non legendary Pokemon from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh. Normally, the Pokemon Spinoff games only have 200 known Pokemon or more but Pokemon Mystery Dungeon was the exception because it had every Pokemon plus easter eggs of upcoming new Pokemon.

Another problem is that the "Post Game's Story" is shorter than the past games. Red/Blue Rescue Team had multiple story related things you could do after beating the game while Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky had an entire 2nd arc set up for the post game. "Gates to Infinity" does something new but it's extremely short compared to the last games.


Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity is still a fun and addictive game but I feel like they overdid changes to the formula and should have added more Pokemon.

My final score for this game is a C or 7 out of 10.

If you've never played a Pokemon Spinoff before, I would recommend this game.

If you've only played Red/Blue Rescue Team, I would recommend getting Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky or rent a copy of this game.

If you're like me and have played all of the previous installments, I would also recommend renting this game.

There is a demo of the game at retailers and the Nintendo E Shop. The E Shop demo allows you to play through the story past the first 2 dungeons, access to Magnagate Dungeons, and allows you to use your Demo Data to continue where you left off if you actually buy the game.