With Pokemon Mystery Dungeon DX out soon, we took a look back at both the original games and the new demo to see what's different. We'll go over some of the important changes now to keep you informed about what to expect when Mystery Dungeon DX releases soon.
Everything That's New in Mystery Dungeon DX
Though the demo covers only a few hours, what we've seen so far indicates that the remake is much more focused on changes to mechanics than the story. In fact, Mystery Dungeon DX's plot seems to be a word-for-word adaptation of Mystery Dungeon Red Team and Blue Team, with the same characters, same dialogue, same town - everything.
What's changed are gameplay details, though it is still clearly recognisable as a Mystery Dungeon game, as you move about procedurally-generated labyrinths in turn-based tile combat. For those who haven't played a Mystery Dungeon before, it's still got a lot of Pokemon in it, but with influences from games like Fire Emblem and XCOM, where positioning and movement is vital to success. We'll go over some of the changes here.
You Can Choose What Pokemon You Want to Be
The original games famously have you play as a Pokemon, not a human, set in a world where humans aren't present and only Pokemon exist. Not only that, but they start with an impromptu personality test that dictates what Pokemon you'll be, choosing from all the starters from the first three generations as well as a few wild cards like Pikachu, Eevee and Cubone (but no option to start off as a Gyarados or Arceus). You answer some hypothetical questions in this quiz, and the game determines the best Pokemon to match your personality.
That's still present in the demo, but now you have the option to choose anyway. If you're told your spirit animal is a Skitty (the ultimate insult) you can say you don't want to be that, and the game will allow you to simply pick from all the options, regardless of the answers you gave. Who said you can't be a cowardly Machop?
Your Team Knows Better Moves
In the original games you famously had whatever moves you'd expect a level five Meowth or Torchic to usually have. Scratch, Leer, maybe Ember if you were really lucky.
Not so this time. Your starter Pokemon are still low-level, but they must've fallen into a bucket of TMs at one point, because now there's a whole range of exotic and diverse techniques to pick from, designed to provide you with a type-advantage in most situations. Squirtle knows Brick Break. Bulbasaur knows Sludge. Pikachu… knows Grass Knot? And the game will also make suggestions or even take over for you if you allow it, with a new auto-mode. It's an interesting change, and it follows into another one...
Bigger Rescue Teams
Whereas the original games allowed you to take up to four team members into a dungeon, DX has doubled down and promised up to eight players in a single squad, meaning that there'll be a conga-line of plucky heroes behind you. We don't know yet how the game will be rebalanced for such a change, but the post-game content was famously difficult, so maybe it doesn't need to be made harder.
Ranged Attacks are Extended
Even in Blue and Red Team, you had ranged attacks that could hit enemies across corners or even a number of tiles away, whether it was Water Pulse covering a straight line ahead or just the overpowered Heat Wave hitting everything in the same room.
Still, ranged attacks like this used to be a big deal, something you got in the latter half of the game that allowed you to take out threats before they got too close. Now a lot of your starting moves can hit enemies multiple tiles away, such as Charmander's Flame Burst. The whole game seems to be built a little friendlier than the original, at least from what we've seen.
The Dojo in town now functions somewhat differently, paid for with tickets that allow you to boost EXP gained, and giving specialized challenges that act as tutorials for aspects of the game. You can also only bring in one Pokemon at a time, forcing you to rely on your own abilities and not your partners.
What would exploration be without the promise of treasure? Enemies can now drop treasure boxes, small chests that open only when you leave the dungeon. What's inside could be worthless or valuable, but you won't know unless you can bring it back out with you.
Swap Pixels for Pencils
The first generation of Mystery Dungeon is justly loved for its beautiful pixel art, but the new one has faithfully recreated all the same locations and characters with a new look that merges 3D models with hand-drawn pencil marks and cel-shaded watercolour textures. It reminds us a lot of Yoshi's Island, and yet it's still very recognisably Mystery Dungeon, with soft colors and scribbled cross-hatching.
Though we haven't seen them, Mystery Dungeon's demo makes reference to the existence of Shiny Pokemon, something that weren't present in the original games despite being established in the main series at the time. We'll be curious to see if all the Pokemon are oging to have Shinies or if it'll just be certain special species.
What, you thought we wouldn't mention those snazzy neckerchiefs your team gets early on? Psyduck in a cravat makes all things better.
If you want to see the reveal for Mystery Dungeon DX, you can find all the details here, or follow this link to see our review of Sword and Shield.