Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team

Instant Review: You’ll Never Believe…

I just started playing this game an hour ago (sleepless nights FTL), not knowing in advance what kind of game it is. Much to my astonishment and delight… …it’s a roguelike!

Okay, so it’s not quite Nethack DS, but it’s definitely a turn-based dungeon exploration game. It even has a minimap that looks just like a game of Nethack superimposed on the screen when you’re in a dungeon.

Currently, instead of a samurai, I’m a pikachu named Poirot. Instead of a little dog, I have a mudkip named Hastings. (Sadly, those are not the defaults, but names I chose… I mean, it is Mystery Dungeon after all.) Instead of grid bugs, I’m fighting pidgies and sunkerns. And instead of the Amulet of Yendor, I’m looking for a baby caterpie at the moment. I’m pretty happy with this, since I like Pokemon, and I love Nethack… and I’ve had a hard time taking roguelikes on the road since I loaded a DOS binary of Rogue on my (now mostly-defunct) Poqet PC in 1999. (The Palm versions just don’t do it for me — they’re too hard to control efficiently. I’ve been playing the all-text version in xterm and Windows for all of recent memory.) On a sad note, the GameSpot review dismisses the game on the grounds that:

Nintendo and ChunSoft have simply taken a dungeon hack that ChunSoft has produced for numerous other publishers in the past and integrated the Pokemon franchise’s characters and a few of its key concepts into it. The real kicker, though, is that ChunSoft’s game wasn’t that good to begin with, and the injection of Pokemon elements hasn’t done a thing to change that. (emphasis mine)

I guess if you don’t like Rogue (although I’ll admit that it’s a pretty simplistic roguelike), and you don’t like Pokemon, you shouldn’t touch this game… but given that the user reviews (8.5) outstrip the GameSpot (5.2) and other sites’ (6.7) reviews, the people who are playing this game don’t fit that description. On the other hand, maybe I’m just hoping that we can use this game as a gateway to get kids to play Nethack. ;)

Well, whether or not Frank Provo liked it, I’m planning to enjoy it. I’ll let you know if my opinion turns sour. update 2006.10.12 @04:22
Holy Smoke
I was starting to think that maybe the game was accidentally roguelike, after seeing some of the GameSpot review… then I tried moving while holding the B button. The movement pattern is the same as HJKL vs hjkl…

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