I recently had a chance to sit down with Nintendo and try out the upcoming Pokémon title: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team for the Nintendo DS. I am one of those people who like random dungeon crawlers, so this was right up my alley.
This was the full version of the game, so I was able to spend a few hours exploring what the game had to offer. First off, the game started with a personality quiz. The results of the quiz decided which Pokémon you became. I was, apparently, a fun loving Squirtle. I'm not exactly sure that it matched my personality as well as I thought, but I may have also been trying too hard to get Pikachu. Since I failed at this, I selected the electric mouse for my partner instead.
"This game is a refreshing change"
With almost no other instructions, Pikachu and I headed off to the first dungeon. It was a short four floor dungeon where other Pokémon attacked us on sight. Having seen countless movies and anime episodes where Pokémon get along made this a little awkward, but the story says the Pokémon are agitated by all the earthquakes that have been happening. For the point of the game, it's something that just has to be accepted.
Another change that just has to be accepted is in the elemental weakness aspect of the battle system. Because of the limited amount of Pokémon available at a time in the game, the "has no effect" condition was removed. It will still be "not very effective", but it has to do some damage or the game could become impossible on certain floors.
After finishing the first mission to save the lost Pokémon, Pikachu tells me we should form a rescue team and help out anyone in need. This sounded like a fine idea. Then another mission came in, and there's a new dungeon to explore. Once that mission was completed, the option to go to town appears, and the game opens up a bit more.
In town, there are the typical things to find, such as shops to buy and sell items and TM's. There are two banks to store any items and Poké, because all money and items are lost if the team faints in a dungeon. Most importantly, there is the bulletin board where new jobs are posted. The rescue team must take and complete these jobs to earn money, gain new members, and gain status as a team. As the team's status grows, more difficult jobs become available with greater rewards. From time to time, the team must complete a certain number of random jobs before the next story event will take place.
I was able to do enough random missions for a Bronze rank, and opened up five different dungeons. There is much more to open up, but I ran out of time for the day. I only managed to gain a single member to my team, making team selection obvious. Once someone has many Pokémon to choose from, the strategy of the game will really come around. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team is a unique look into the world of Pokémon. After ten years of the same gameplay in the Pokémon series, this game is a refreshing change.