Pokemon Mystery Dungeon

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There are many Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games, one (Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team) for the Gameboy Advance, four for the Nintendo DS (Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky, and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time), and three for the Wii that have yet to acquire official English names. The Rescue Team games are very similar to each other, as are the Explorers games. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games do not feature permadeath, but instead cripple a player by removing almost all of their items, potentially causing the loss of some very valuable equips.

Interface

These are commercial graphical games without keyboard input, and have plots, but otherwise are roguelike. Most of the game is played in Mystery Dungeons, which are randomly laid out, with a few rooms per level and long corridors, much like the Rogue dungeon. The Mystery Dungeons have a fixed number of levels, and vary in difficulty, as well as in type of Pokemon encountered and loot found. The dungeons do not allow free switching between floors; rather, a player must only progress in one direction and cannot go back to get potentially rare items. However, once the dungeon is completed for storyline, one may go through dungeons as much as one could want.

Each game has an overall plot, in which the world is doomed, and the player character must undertake a series of missions to save it. Alternatively, the player can select missions from an in-game bulletin board, and go to the proper dungeon to execute them, rather like random quests. If the player really wants to avoid the plot, the player can just go through dungeons as he or she pleases, although this gives fewer advancement opportunities.

Player Development

The player needs to manage inventory, combat skills (called "moves"), and non-player teammates that will be acquired along the way. The player character and teammates will go up in levels, increasing character statistics and gaining more powerful skills. There are also intelligence-based skills, such as knowing where stairs are immediately upon entering a floor, being able to traverse any terrain without penalty, and more intelligent AI for teamates. Intelligence is raised by eating a special food known as Gummis. The characters will also find increasingly powerful items by going to more dangerous dungeons, and the player character will pick up possible teammates in the dungeons.

Very unique to roguelikes is a very low limit to the number of moves a player or team mate can know at once. You may only know four moves at any given time, and must forget a move to learn a new one once you learn a new move. In addition, moves have limited uses, and are not restored until a dungeon or mission is complete or upon consumption of a special item known as the elixir. To offset this, the elixir is not very rare, especially in the mid level dungeons (beginner dungeons are too easy to merit common spawning of the elixir, and very difficult ones intentionally do not have them.) A player may also link together moves in order to use them all at once; this however leads to much faster starvation to the player. This is valuable because speed is not a factor in this game; first the player goes, then his/her allies, then the enemies.

Equally odd within roguelikes is the even more limiting equipment ability. A player may only equip one item and a throwing weapon. This item is usually very useful though, giving a large boost to stats or allowing you to be exempt from hunger. Throwing weapons vary greatly, from only traveling in straight lines to being able to be throw over obstacles.


Town

The town is the hub of all activity in this game, one can story money and items as much as you want, can relearn moves for a small fee, can buy and sell goods (though the wares are random), and can take missions through dungeons, typically to retrieve a lost pokemon or item.

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