Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX Goes Back to Basics

As a longtime fan of the series, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX seems to be a welcome blast from the past.

By Tomas Franzese

January 10, 2020

Whether I am playing the latest entry or arguing with others over what constitutes a generation of Pokemon, I will always be passionate about Game Freak’s classic series. Pokemon ingrained itself into my gaming library at a young age and I’ve been addicted to the series through its ups and downs ever since. Every so often, an older game in the series will get remade and we have now reached a point where that applies to the spin-offs. Game Freak kicked off Thursday’s Pokemon-focused direct by unveiling Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, which releases in less than two months and already has a demo on the Nintendo Switch eShop.

For those still out of the loop, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a remake of 2006’s Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team, which released for the GBA and DS, respectively. The available demo indicates that Rescue Team DX is an extremely faithful recreation, though there could still be some secrets up its sleeve. This remake mainly enhances the visuals and adds quality-of-life options to make the experience more accessible, much like Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. This demo was a blast from the past for me in the best way possible and I now can’t wait to try the full game in March.

“This demo was a blast from the past for me in the best way possible and I now can’t wait to try the full game in March.”

Upon booting up the remake’s demo for the first time, I was greeted with a personality test to determine what Pokemon I’d take the form of during my adventure. While players can end up choosing whatever Pokemon they want if they are unhappy with their test result, I’m glad this feature wasn’t cut from the remake as it has been missing from recent Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games. With how divisive the last couple of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games were, it will be nice to go back to basics with this remake.

I took the form of Cindaquil and proceeded to see what the remake has to offer. Immediately, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX’s new art style gripped me. Drawn like a storybook in a style not too far off from Little Dragons Cafe, this remake brings the original games to life in a way I never thought I’d see. Instead of having a top-down, distant view of the action, Rescue Team DX’s camera is at liberty to be more dynamic and breathe more life into the lengthy conversations and text the early game throws at the player.

Speaking of the game’s plot, I was soon thrust into the first dungeon after meeting my partner Psyduck, coming to terms with the fact that I was now a Cindaquil, and being asked by a Butterfree to save its baby Caterpie. I always loved how the earlier Mystery Dungeon games gave more personality to individual Pokemon. In this demo alone, I was able to see that the parent-child relationship as well as a more comedic situation where a pair of Magnemite were connected but worried because that does not yet make them a Magneton. The writing isn’t groundbreaking by any means and I do prefer Explorers of Time and Darkness’ plots more, but I’m definitely glad to be experiencing this take on the world of Pokemon again.

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Only two procedurally generated dungeons can be explored in the demo and are fairly standard as far as Mystery Dungeon games go. Players move along grid-based titles and must position themselves correctly to fight enemies and collect items. In between missions, players can wander around town to buy items, train, put money in storage, and tie moves together for ease of use in dungeons. At a glance, all of the content in the demo is fairly identical to what fans played on the GBA and DS almost 14 years ago. That being said, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX might actually cement itself as an improvement over the original with quite a few quality of life improvements.

The most notable of these improvements is that the most effective move for any given situation will now be available at the press of a button once players enter combat. While some may see this as dumbing the game down, I’m glad that we don’t have to sort through as many menus anymore outside of item management. Still, players who don’t like this can be obtuse and go through menus. The number of Pokemon that can travel with players has been increased to eight and new ways to save fainted Pokemon have also apparently been added, but I didn’t experience either of these during my time with the demo.

“I’m excited to see what else is new in Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX.”

One major problem I have with this remake is that running in dungeons simply doesn’t look good anymore. With 3D models and environments, the extremely fast movement is way too jittery. Fortunately, the final new addition to Rescue Team DX adds a nice alternative: Auto mode. This mode moves the Pokemon automatically for the playing, only stopping once combat initiates. Even though this is intended to make navigating the procedurally generated dungeons easier for new players, it can also be used just like the running mechanic to get through old dungeons more efficiently on subsequent runs.

I’m excited to see what else is new in Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX. Screenshots show moves from later generations and the trailer even shows a Mega Charizard, so I’m sure this remake still has quite a few surprises up its sleeve. Considering my mostly positive experience with the demo, I will definitely be there when it launches for Nintendo Switch on March 6.

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Tomas Franzese

Tomas Franzese is a News Editor at DualShockers, writing a variety of reviews and shedding light on upcoming games for both PC and consoles. While he has been a gamer most of his life, he began writing for DualShockers in 2016 and has almost never put his computer or a controller down since.

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