Game Review: Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon

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Of the many spinoffs that the “Pokémon” series has produced, one of the most popular is a side series known as the “Mystery Dungeon” series. The newest such title, “Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon” is the best title of the series so far and is an ideal way to start playing them even if one wasn’t impressed by previous games in the series.

The game, much like others in the series, is in the “roguelike” subgenre of role-playing games (RPGs). Each time you play, the layout of the dungeons you travel through is different. While this concept may seem intimidating and has an admitted learning curve for those familiar with the mainline “Pokémon” games, it also provides a unique experience that has boundless potential for replay value and new scenarios every time you start the game.

After taking a brief personality test, you can choose a Pokémon to play as, as well as another to become your friend and partner through your journey. That’s right: rather than merely training your Pokémon, you become one as you venture through environments such as dark caves and perilous mountains. Even though not every Pokémon is a playable character, it is still possible to bond with many of the monsters that were introduced up to “Pokémon X and Y.”

The graphics are also high-quality for the series’ pedigree. The towns you travel through are filled with great attention to detail; the Pokémon are rendered in a colorful fashion that remains faithful to Ken Sugimori’s original designs.

The flaws are minor at best, since the game is definitely not for casual players. Much like its namesake, the game may be easy to pick up and play, but it’s far from a cakewalk. Many dungeons can be very daunting to even experienced players, not helped by the fact that you lose your items and money if you’re defeated. There’s also an occasional disconnect between the dialogue of the non-player characters (NPCs) and what’s shown in gameplay. Still, it’s one of the most unique titles to bear the “Pokémon” name outside the main series.

If you’re fan of the “Pokémon” series and RPGs that can’t wait for “Pokémon Sun and Moon,” then “Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon” is highly recommended. Boasting a distinct gameplay style and endless possibilities for replay value, it’s easily the best “Mystery Dungeon” yet.

Review by Steven Pryor

At a glance:

Publisher: Nintendo/The Pokémon Company

Developer: Spike Chunsoft

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

ESRB Rating: E

My Rating: *****/5