The most recent Nintendo Direct had two surprises for us. The first one was a DLC pack for Pokémon Sword and Shield, replacing the usual ‘third version’ we’re used to. Even more shocking, though, was the reveal of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX for the Nintendo Switch. I was ecstatic, but I also found myself worrying. When I was younger, Red Rescue Team was my favourite game, and now they’ve remade it in a completely different style.
The most glaring and obvious change in Rescue Team DX is the graphics. We all love the classic sprite art, but there’s no going back now. The 3DS titles had a soulless art style. It seems as if the developers set out to create the safest and most generic Pokémon art style they could.
Rescue Team DX completely flips this lame approach on its head. I can’t say that I’m in love with it, but there’s no doubt that this blows Gates to Infinity and Super Mystery Dungeon out of the water. Rescue Team DX chooses to imitate the art of the classic Pokémon Mystery Dungeon artwork. It’s a charming approach, and an acceptable replacement to the masterful sprite-art.
Rescue Team DX makes a few questionable changes in gameplay that I don’t personally agree with. These are differences that have almost certainly been made to make the overall experience easier, as we often see with remakes in the modern generation. The first change I noticed was my default moveset. In the demo, I was a Chikorita, who originally started out with Tackle and Growl in Red and Blue Rescue Team. In Rescue Team DX, I instead started with Ancient Power, Razor Leaf, Grass Knot, and Tackle. This is a disappointment, as one of the most exciting things about the original game was the progression of your Pokémon. I’m all for expanding the learnsets, but starting off with powerful moves to dumb down the difficulty sucks.
Secondly, Rescue Team DX changes how the dungeon map works. In the original games, you can see all enemies and items in the same room. In the remakes, you can see all enemies and items no matter where you are, even if you haven’t explored yet. This takes away one of the key draws of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, which is the exploration. Walking into a room with rare items was exciting before, but now you always know when items are coming. In the GameBoy Advance and Nintendo DS titles, an item existed called the ‘X-Ray Specs’: a rare item that revealed hidden items on the map. There was no reason to make this a built-in ability.
Rescue Team DX adopts some quality of life features from the 3DS titles. Instead of needing to ‘set’ a move from the menu screen, you can hold ZL to select a move using the face buttons. You can push other Pokémon on your team to put them in a more favourable position, and your partner actively seeks out items and money to pick up. I’ve also seen a few items from the 3DS titles make an appearance, such as the ‘Tiny Reviver Seed’.
Other smaller changes include the addition of the Fairy type, a rehaul of the Makuhita Dojo, and most oddly, the removal of IQ. By eating ‘Gummis’ in the original game, you could earn helpful new skills, most of which were passive. You were unlikely to max-out your IQ during a standard playthrough, so I don’t think it’s too big a deal. IQ seems to have been replaced with ‘Rare Qualities’, as mentioned in the description for the new ‘Rainbow Gummi’ item. We don’t quite know what this entails yet, but I can’t wait to find out.
More changes to come for Rescue Team DX?
We already know that they’re adding Lucario to Rescue Team DX, thanks to a short snippet in the trailer. Lucario is perhaps the least useful Pokémon at giving us a clue though. Lucario is occasionally referenced in the originals, along with other Generation IV Pokémon like Munchlax and Bonsly. Keep in mind, the Rescue Team games came out during Generation III, and included every Pokémon up to that point. I don’t think we’ll see every Pokémon, but it’s hard to imagine they won’t be adding some new favourites in this title.
We already know they’re adding Mega-Evolutions, thanks to the appearance of Mega Charizard X in the reveal, but we don’t know how many will be added. They could add all of them, as they did in Super Mystery Dungeon. I am concerned about the balancing of starter mega-evolutions. Out of the 16 Pokémon available, only the Kanto and Hoenn starters have the ability to mega-evolve.
In the original titles, there are 12 spaces for boss-fights on the load screen. In Rescue Team DX, there are 6 extra spaces, potentially hinting at some extra content. Take this with a grain of salt, though, as they could just be adding spaces for the more minor bosses.
Final Opinions on Rescue Team DX
Overall, I’m looking forward to Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX. It seems to be staying true to the original titles in terms of story, with a modern spin on the gameplay. I don’t agree with all of the changes, but I’ll be thrilled if it attracts newcomers to the series. We’ll have to have another look when the full title is released, but for now, I’m excited to play.