Pokemon Mystery Dungeon’s Lost Japan-Only Games | Monstalgia

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon’s Lost Japan-Only Games | Monstalgia


The recent release of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon
Rescue Team DX on the Switch has had me reminiscing about the dozens upon dozens of hours I put
into the original Blue Rescue Team that I loved so much back on the DS. Hours felt like minutes as I tried repeatedly
to recruit legendary Pokemon and build out my ideal rescue coalition. Since enjoying that game so much, I would
pick up each subsequent game in the series and poke around in them hoping to recapture
that magic. At least…I thought I had sampled every one,
but I had actually missed not just 1, but 3 entire games in the series. And chances are, you missed them too. Enter Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Keep Going! Blazing Adventure Squad, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon:
Let’s Go! Stormy Adventure Squad, and Pokemon Mystery
Dungeon: Go For It! Light Adventure Squad. Phew, that was a lot. These 3 games were released exclusively for
the Japanese WiiWare service in August of 2009. And as you’ve probably noticed already,
they use the character models and overall visual style introduced in Pokemon Ranch…but
that style is probably more known as the Pokemon Rumble style, which still continues to this
day on smartphones. But it makes sense that it utilizes this pared
down style, since WiiWare titles were limited to FORTY MegaBytes. That’s not a lot! I’m not the biggest fan of it, some Pokemon
look pretty natural in it, and others just look odd. It also results in this weird swaggering strut
with some Pokemon, that…okay, actually, maybe this style is brilliant. Before we hop in though, in case you need
a refresher on how the Mystery Dungeon series works, essentially you take a team of up to
four Pokemon into dungeons that have a set number of randomized floors within them. You’re often tasked with either just getting
to the end, or rescuing a Pokemon that’s stuck on a specific floor, or bringing another
Pokemon to that Pokemon, or even just bringing a specific item to a critter. Much like the main series, each Pokemon in
your party can have up to 4 specialized moves with limited uses. Each also has a standard attack with unlimited
uses but is much weaker by comparison, ignoring all of the type advantages and disadvantages
the game brings over from the main Pokemon series. On top of it all, you have a hunger meter
that depletes with each step you take in the dungeon. See, you’re on an invisible tile grid the
entire time. Each tile you move into constitutes a turn,
and on each turn your partner Pokemon and enemy Pokemon on the floor get to move around. So with each turn you take, you’re chipping
away at your hunter meter. Which means you either need to prepare ahead
by buying food and healing items in the village, or taking a risk and hoping you’ll find
what you need lying around in the dungeon before you faint of starvation. It’s a very repetitive, grindy sort of game
that’s not for everyone. I don’t say that negatively, those aren’t
inherently bad qualities. You just need to be the sort who finds comfort
in monotonous tasks and watching numbers go up to get the most out of these Pokemon spin-offs
in the gameplay department. Generally though, what helps to elevate the
series beyond its gameplay loop is its story and characters. So, speaking of… Depending on which version you’re playing
the game opens with a quarrel between Farfetch’d and either Floatzel, Grumpig, or Sneasel,
in either a beach, a village, or garden dependent on the game. Aside from some basic UI elements and possible
nicknames, there’s no English to be found here as you’ve likely already noticed. And for me the only thing worse than my English
is my Japanese, but thankfully things are basic enough here that it’s easy enough
to deduce what’s going on. The village’s elder, Slowking, comes down
to break up the fight between the two Pokemon, who reveal to him that they know about a Shuckle
who needs rescued in a nearby dungeon. It’s at this point that these 3 titles eschew
one of the most memorable things about any Mystery Dungeon intro; the personality quiz. In those original entries, the Pokemon you
played as would be determined by answering esoteric questions and assigning you a personality
that lines up with one out of a dozen or so Pokemon. Here, a group of them just line up and you
pick your preferred choice, and a partner to venture with you. The ones you don’t pick can be added to
your exploring party by talking to Slowking at any time after the first dungeon, so there’s
really no major point in who you wind up choosing as they’re all selectable. On paper it’s probably more sound to just
let the player pick who they want to play, but it’s missing that key ingredient I mentioned
earlier that makes the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon subseries so memorable…the charm. That quiz is more roundabout but absolutely
is more memorable, and causes you to think about some things you wouldn’t really expect
to have to mull over when starting up a Pokemon game. The lack of a quiz is representative of my
disappointment with these 3 titles, though. There’s just not much charm to be found. The story is barebones and there isn’t much
character or anything memorable here, really. Even the usual crux of you being a human turned
into a Pokemon is gone here. You’re just playing a good Pokemon who’s
doing good work for the sake of being good. It’s really all about the gameplay here,
and while I like that gameplay well enough, it really helps me to be driving toward something
emotionally with the Mystery Dungeon games and that just isn’t here. So without a core emotional drive and without
much specific charm, what do they bring to the table that other games in the series don’t? To be frank, there isn’t much new. Aside from the delivery method of the games
themselves, the main addition here is a situational Tower mechanic. In doing so your Pokemon can stack up vertically,
with larger Pokemon acting as a base, and any Pokemon of its size or smaller going on
top of it. By doing this they can sometimes learn weird
moves they couldn’t otherwise, and attack enemy Pokemon all at once, who can also stack
up. It’s not that exciting, but it’s cute
I guess? However, what did excite me was another small
change.. If an enemy Pokemon in a dungeon knocks out
one of your party members, that enemy Pokemon evolves on the spot. I actually love this addition as it makes
already tense situations all the more harrowing. Each time it happened it really raised my
heart rate and made me worry about each decision I made. I freaked out when it happened as I was already
in a tough spot. Another thing that made me freak out, I didn’t
really have anywhere else to fit this into the video but I actually ran into a Shiny
Hoppip near immediately? It’s kind of bothersome as I’ve been trying
to get a Shiny Ponyta in Let’s Go Eevee for a while, and I’m always on the hunt
for them in Pokemon Go, so finding one just a couple hours into one of these titles was
kind of a monkey paw scenario. Anyway, sorry, just had to mention that. So the 3 version split here is kind of interesting
even if it’s typical Pokemon stuff. Each version has its own lineup of exclusive
Pokemon and starting locations, but the NPCs in each town in each version are the same. It feels like a bit of a missed opportunity,
but it really cements that you would probably have only needed to buy 1 of these games unless
you were just desperate for more content. See, if you would have bought all 3 you could
load saves from each version and unlock more available Pokemon. Gotta buy them all, my friends. Each of the 3 games also has about 15 dungeons,
which is less than a usual Mystery Dungeon release, but all combined they have 45 which
is more in line with something like Blue Rescue Team. The interesting point here to me though is
that each of the 3 games cost about 1200 Wii Points, which would be about $12 per. Altogether that’s about $36, or whatever
that shakes out to in Yen. That puts the value proposition into the forefront
here, as for just about $4 more you could purchase one of the mainline releases, have
it playable on the go with the DS, and have a more cohesive package with more depth to
it. The only real advantage to buying these games
would have been to finally have Pokemon Mystery Dungeon on a home console, so if you didn’t
have a DS it might be more appealing, but. Looking at it in this light, it starts to
become a bit clearer why we never received these titles outside of Japan. I also personally speculate that the other
Pokemon WiiWare releases, such as Pokemon Ranch and Pokemon Rumble, probably didn’t
sell too well at the time. So while these games did receive 2 English
trademarks per each title, I have to imagine The Pokemon Company probably just looked at
the costs of localizing them and the expected revenue, and just decided against it entirely. It’s sort of a shame as I don’t feel these
games are without any merit, but on the other hand they’re almost more interesting with
the way things shook out. Nintendo shut down Wii servers in January
of 2019, so even if you live in Japan you have no way to legally purchase these games
now. On the bright side thanks to less than legal
means they’re preserved for history’s record as I highly doubt we’ll ever see
these games made available again going forward. So that concludes today’s look at these
interesting parts of the Pokemon series here on Monstalgia. At the end of the day the core gameplay is
still addictive to me so I’m glad I put the time in, but I’m even more glad I looked
into them and finally cured my curiosity on them and could share my findings with you. If you enjoyed this video, please feel free
to subscribe, or if you’re not yet convinced maybe go check out my review of Disc Creatures
to hear me talk even more about monster raising games. Either way, thank you very much for watching,
and thank you to my patrons for making this video possible. I’d like to shout out capric0rnus, TheLegendOfGroose,
PotateJello, Goldie Gold GoldStorm07, Patrick Thompson, Jeet, CalicoPlus, and TheCrazyEven. Thank you.

9 thoughts on “Pokemon Mystery Dungeon’s Lost Japan-Only Games | Monstalgia”

  1. In case you’re curious; Disc Creatures is a game that pays homage to 90's Game Boy monster raising titles like Pokemon and Dragon Quest Monsters. You can see my review of it here: https://youtu.be/ZJTBtaXbFWY

  2. I think I remember blurbs about this on Serebii from years back, never looked into them since, obviously, they never came out here. I do like that every Pokemon is round.

  3. That evolve mechanic would be a perfect fit in the rest of the series, I don't know if they added that into the later games that I didn't get around to playing but I'd love to see that in a "proper" PMD

  4. Let's go shuckles

    Hold on, these are the only mystery dungeon games to have shuckle integrated into the plot and they weren't released outside of Japan?

  5. "the only thing worse than my English is my Japanese" lol. I don't know I barely understood a word of your English.

  6. A Pokemon video?! I thought I was watching MykonosFan, not…

    reads cue card

    The JofWitts!

    Great video though, hearing Pokemon Ranch brought me back to 2009. I played so much of that.

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