Today’s Pokémon Direct gave us a gift five years in the making!
During today’s Pokémon Direct, a new Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game was confirmed for the Nintendo Switch. This game is a remake of the original Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Blue and Red Rescue Team games which were released on the GameBoy Advance and Nintendo DS in 2006, called Pokémon Mystery Dungeon DX. Currently, a demo is available on the Nintendo eShop and the full game is set to release on March 6, 2020.
As a remaster of the original games, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon DX has a fresh coat of paint and several updated features. First, the personality quiz has returned in all its glory. It has updated graphics and a remaster of the original music, but it still has all the classic questions on the test, including the infamous “a human hand extends out of a toilet” question. One major difference from the original is that it appears the results of the quiz are no longer determined by gender, meaning a male Eevee or a female Machop player character are now a possibility! In addition, continued from Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, if you are not satisfied with the results of your quiz, you are able to select your character from the pool of results. The game still uses the same choices for hero and partner characters as the originals, meaning Mewoth, Psyduck, Machop, and Cubone all return as possibilities for your team.
Once you’ve chosen your hero and partner, you’re ready to jump back into the game. The game takes on a new storybook style aesthetic for the backgrounds while the characters themselves have 3D models with similar style textures. Overall, it looks very pretty, with the 3D models being similar enough that they match the aesthetic but not so much that they don’t blend into the background. It’s a great glow-up compared to the original games. In terms of mechanics, the controls are largely the same to those in Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, with pushing, hunger, and using L for the moves menu (albeit this has been reassigned to the ZL button) all making their return. In addition, certain gameplay aspects like the physical special split, new moves like Flame Burst, and the fairy type, which did not previously exist during the time of the original games, have been added. However, instead of the A button functioning as a “regular attack” as with past games, if you are standing within range of an enemy, pressing A will now use the best suited move from your moveset to battle that opponent. If there is no opponent in range though, pressing A will still do a regular attack that does no damage that allows you to use your turn without moving. In the demo, Hero and Partner characters start with multiple egg moves, for example Pikachu gets Grass Knot, Electro Ball, Iron Tail, and Fake Out, while Squirtle gets Brick Break, Water Gun, Bite, and Tackle.
Pokémon Square and all the surrounding areas also got a facelift plus some mechanical changes. All of your favorite NPCs have returned including Kecleon, Persian, Snubbull, Makuhita, and more. While they do not make an appearance in the demo, we can expect to see Team Meanies, Team ACT, and more in the full version of the game. One interesting difference as compared to the original games is that Makuhita’s Dojo and Whiscash’s Pond are no longer separate areas. Rather, the camera changes position to allow panning to those areas of Pokémon Square. The Pelipper Post Office is still a separate area, but after visiting it, a tunnel will become available that allows players to travel there directly from their base rather than having to travel through Pokémon Square. The shops are all the same as they were in the originals, though with minor changes such as Persian giving you items when you store money at Felicity Bank and the TMs at Purple Kecleon’s shop having a shimmering icon if one of your active team members is able to learn the move on the TM. Friend Areas also make a return; however, they are now known as “Rescue Team Camps”. As Wigglytuff’s Friend Area shop is unable to be accessed until after players clear the Mt. Steel mission, and the demo ends before the Mt. Steel mission, it is unclear if this functions largely the same, or if there will be changes to this system like the Makuhita Dojo.
While this game is largely a remaster of the original Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Red and Blue games, there are some new features that this game includes. For example, as shown in the trailer below, it appears Mega Evolution is making a return after it first appeared in Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon. It is unclear how this will function, as Emeras do not appear to be returning as a mechanic, though this may change once the full game is released. In addition, while the cast appears to be largely the same, limiting the available pokémon to those available in the Kanto, Johto, and Hoenn regions, a Lucario is visible in the trailer, leading to some speculation that a select few additional pokémon will be available in the game. Items in the Kecleon shop also now have official art that displays when the players mouses over it, as well as updated descriptions. One notable description comes on the Friend Bow, which mentions that wearing it makes pokémon more likely to join your team, and “Shiny Pokémon will want to join you, too.” This is the first mention of shiny pokémon in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon franchise, with the sole exception of Pink Celebi in the Time, Darkness, Sky, and Super installments.
One of the major changes for one of Pokémon Square’s residents comes in the form of how the Makuhita Dojo functions. Previously, you were able to challenge the Dojo as much as you wanted, bringing along your entire team of up to four members to mazes of specific types where you battled until you either beat the maze by clearing all three floors or were defeated. Instead, players must now use Dojo Tickets in order to take part in the dojo. These can come as rewards for missions as well as gifts as part of the Pokémon News. There are three types of tickets available: Bronze, Silver, and Gold, which allow you to access different types of mazes. While the extent of the dojo cannot be fully explored in the demo, it appears that the name of the maze no longer correlates with the type of enemies in the maze, rather the type of the pokémon entering the maze. For example, the maze Pikachu enters is the Electric Maze, but it contains water type Pokémon like Surskit, Marill, and Crawdaunt. In addition, the maze now functions as a free for all, with players fighting as many enemies as they can under a certain time limit and gaining all the EXP they can until time runs out. Even if the player faints while in the maze, they will automatically be revived and able to continue so long as there is time. The higher quality the ticket the more EXP there is to be gained. The Makuhita Dojo also has a “Tricks of the Trade” set of courses that act as tutorials to teach players how to Dash, use items, etc. and reward the players with Apples, a Gold Ribbon, and other items for every course completed.
There is lots more to uncover once the full game is released in March, but until then just enjoy the demo and teaser trailer. Special thanks to Penpeaches and NobleJanobii for letting us use their screenshots for this article. See more photos and the trailer below!