I have never been a fan of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, and so I wasn't looking forward to covering the new 3DS game Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Magnagate and the Infinite Labyrinth for my website Serebii.net. After spending a week with the game following its Japanese release, I have been pleasantly surprised.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Magnagate & The Infinite Labyrinth is the first Pokemon Mystery Dungeon game to be released in the UK since Explorers of Sky came out in 2009. As such, many Pokemon fans have high expectations for this game and it certainly boasts some cool features for them to enjoy.
I'm not going to spoil the story, but it has the same twists and turns you'd come to expect from the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games, some which even stunned me.
As usual, you play as a human who has been turned into a Pokemon but unlike past games, you get to choose both the Pokemon as well as your partner. This time though, options are limited to the Pokemon Black and White Starters plus Pikachu and Axew.
The first thing you'll notice is that the game is in 3D and it features the same 3D models of the Pokemon that were in Pokedex 3D Pro.
This results in great cutscenes featuring a range of emotions that would be completely impossible with sprites. An example is a brilliant cinematic when a Pokemon comes to rescue you and your partner and flies away with you both.
The rest of the game is pretty much the same as before - going through dungeons, battling Pokemon and rescuing any if you're on a mission, but there are a few changes.
Firstly, the Hunger feature has been removed for the majority of the dungeons, so you'll never have to worry about feeding your Pokemon.
Secondly, as you progress through the story, you'll encounter dungeons where you actually have to go outside. Here, the randomised dungeon mechanics are dropped as you solve puzzles. You can also avoid Pokemon here but should you interact with them, the battle will commence. I personally love this bit of the game.
However, the features that keep bringing me back are the new special missions, which include Legendary boss battles, and the Pokemon Paradise.
The Pokemon Paradise works similar to Join Avenue in Pokemon Black And White 2, but without the connectivity. Here, you can customise the various stores, upgrade them when they've done well and build up the area how you please. Not only that, but you can see all the Pokemon you've recruited dotted around the area.
The bad thing about this game is that it seems that not all the Pokemon are in the game, which does affect the variety of the dungeons somewhat, but the sheer amount of features added to the game makes up for it.
If the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon spin-off series continues on this path, then I'd definitely be willing to give the spin-offs another shot rather than shuddering whenever they're announced. It's a good sign for the future.