Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX review: A poorly-aged Switch port

As a franchise, Pokémon has spread so far and wide that it’s almost impossible to find a form of entertainment that hasn’t seen these little pocket monsters get their hands on.

Video games are always going to be at the heart of that expansive media empire, with mainline games and spin-offs galore bulking out the IP. If you’ve got the hankering to play a Pokémon game, there’s always something for you.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a procedurally generated dungeon crawler that left me feeling like I’d rather spend my time doing something else.

Mystery Dungeon games have taken many forms, tackling a slew of different franchises, but the most well known will be Pokémon.

A fresh coat of paint and a new home isn’t enough to save the repetitive and sterile gameplay at the heart of Rescue Team DX.

What might have passed as exciting gameplay back in 2005 hasn’t stood the test of time. The characters in this game have a certain charm to them, so in the few moments you’re not in the dungeons, there’s a bit of sparkle.

When you’ve got a brilliant franchise like Pokémon to work with, it’s a shame that more couldn’t be done with the moment-to-moment gameplay.

“The gotta catch ’em all” element is present, but you’ll be asking yourself “why am I bothering?”

The story of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX isn’t too shabby.

Waking up, you find yourself inhabiting the body of a Pokémon. You’re in an unknown world and quickly make a friend and begin your adventures as a rescue team; saving those in peril by traversing dungeons that continually change.

Unlike the mainline games, these Pokémon have real personalities, and you’re able to understand the conversations between them.

It adds a new dimension to the usual Pokémon dynamic, and as your story progresses you’ll meet all manner of interesting characters.

The story that unravels about how you find yourself to be inhabiting the body of a Pokémon. Though the narrative starts strong, the gameplay deflated any enthusiasm I had, and I lost interest.

The loop of taking on objectives to complete in the Dungeons, exploring, obtaining new Pokémon and then doing the whole thing over and over again is the majority of what you do.

The issues come with how basic that core gameplay loop ends up being.

Building a team that works for you is exciting and allows for limitless customisation in who you use as your rescue team.

Taking the time to recruit these members, levelling them up and combining varied combinations is the most fun I had.

It was in dungeons themselves where the formula started to fall apart. Each location has its own visual style, but other than that, they all feel very bland: a bunch of rooms that need to be explored until you find your way to the next floor, occasionally coming up against enemies or items repeats until it all feels tedious.

The battles have almost no strategy to them, you just spam a button until your enemies are no longer in your way.

If that wasn’t simple enough for you, you can also press a button that will have your team explore for you, leaving you more as a spectator than anything else.

Luckily if you do end up feeling like a spectator, at least the visuals are compelling.

By using a stylised paint-effect filter, the developer provides a form to the Pokémon which gives them a new life.

When traversing the local town, the details in the buildings and its inhabitants is impressive.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX VERDICT – 2/5

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX’s gameplay is tedious and bland.

Its repetitive nature shows itself off very early on and doesn’t as the game goes on.

A visually appealing Pokémon title held back by its lack of variety, the unique storytelling and visuals aren’t enough to take away from the failings of Rescue Team DX.

There are better Pokémon games to play on Nintendo Switch.

Pros:
• Visually appealing
• Unique narrative

Cons
• Repetitive gameplay
• Bland dungeons
• Fails to develop past its initial premise

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