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  1. Welcome to the seventy-second week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Shaymin is available via the Nintendo Network. It'll be live until July 24th. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! And hey--y'all know I'm not into it, but Pokémon GO! is officially live in North America. Have fun augmenting Pokémon into your realities, friends! -------------------------------- At Least Ampharos Is Proud of Me As of this very moment, Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon sits in my “Top 10 Most Played” list on the Activity Log of my 3DS, at just over 128 hours. I“m most of the way there, but there are still a few challenges standing between me and a team of all 720 Pokémon in the game. I“ve completed the Treasure Collection, whose endeavors reveal some of the biggest challenges and time-investments in the game. The only Legendary/Mythical Pokémon missing from my team is Arceus -- the one that unlocks after you“ve Connected with every other Pokémon. So it seems like most of my epic exploration stories are behind me. Goodness knows I“ve done some crazy stuff. I put most of my time into the game last year, but I“ve gone back every now and then -- including very recently. See: Explorers of Sky was released on the Wii U Virtual Console at the end of June. I sunk a good 30 hours into that game while I was sick with a pretty severe cold, clearing all the main story and the postgame up to the end of Shaymin Village. Going back to where the series stood in 2009, and completing almost all of Super Mystery Dungeon“s most challenging tasks, has got me thinking: Even if The Pokémon Company and Spike-Chunsoft go on to create another entry in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon spin-off series -- I“m fairly certain “Super” will be the last one I put any real time into. I“ve always wanted to 100% a game in the series -- but the obscene recruiting mechanics and luck that previous entries relied on made it feel like an impossible endeavor. I“ve seen the strengths and weaknesses of my former -- and newest -- Mystery Dungeon favorites, all in the span of a few weeks. So I“m going to devote some time to gathering all my thoughts together and giving the series a proper send-off, even if it takes more than one week to do it. I“m not likely to revisit Explorers of Sky again, and I“m definitely to the point where I can see the light at the end of a Super long tunnel. Without further ado... Beginnings I mentioned, way back in the first IV, that I took some time away from Pokémon -- before my now-fiancée helped me to accept my inevitable fate as a Pokémon Master. Red Rescue Team came around just before Diamond & Pearl, so I wasn“t exactly there on "Day One" to experience it. I don“t remember how I got word of the game, but what initially attracted me to the series was its art-style. Regardless of how much I“ve enjoyed “Super” -- I“m still rather sad that the main artistic hook that got me into the series has been abandoned in favor of fully 3D sprites. There“s something about modelling that makes the world feel somewhat less alive than its cartoon-esqe, 2D origins, in my opinion. I had no experience in the roguelike genre when I played Red Rescue Team for the first time -- but I liked the concept enough. The premise of every dungeon being unique means that it would take a combination of luck, skill and patience to persevere. My only issue with the early games in the series leading up to Explorers of Sky is how absurdly random mechanics [that shouldn“t be] are. The series tagline “Gotta catch ”em all” becomes “Gotta recruit ”em all” in the PMD games, because you are an actual Pokémon. But recruitment was entirely luck-based in the Game Boy Advance/DS games -- you“d often have to explore the same dungeon a few hundred times to get the Pokémon you wanted, especially if it was a Legendary or starter. It“s like they gave the most popular Pokémon the lowest recruitment percentage rates. Still, even if I had more gripes than compliments at first, I really liked the narrative (along with almost every aspect of the game“s presentation). I didn“t play through ”til the end, since I was borrowing a friend“s copy at the time... but I figured this wouldn“t be the “first but last” Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game, and I“d do the next one proper justice after I“d gotten back into the main games. Then came Explorers of Time & Darkness, and Sky. I“m going to hold myself back on discussing the narrative of both those games and “Super” until next week (heck, I“ll even put out an advance spoiler-warning; I“m not holding back!), but there is one story-related tangent I can discuss that“s specific to Sky. “Special Episodes” are unique to that game, and are brief 1-2 hour long “Chapters” that dismiss the player characters for a while in favor of helping to develop other major and minor characters in the “Explorers” world. For example: You get to play as Guildmaster Wigglytuff when he was an itty bitty Igglybuff, to learn how and why he first became an explorer. That kind of approach will probably be the only way to get me to experience another Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game, after I finish “Super”: 1-2 hour “Episodes” where the focal point is more narrative-based than anything else. I wonder if it“s too late to hope for Downloadable Content for Super Mystery Dungeon that accomplishes something like that. Probably! Revisiting Sky on the Wii U Virtual Console has shown me how much both Gates to Infinity and “Super” have made the mechanics much easier to bear on the player. You can switch teammates on the fly in the 3DS games; you can“t in the originals. Moves like “Flamethrower” phase through your allies to hit enemies behind them in the 3DS games; they just smack your allies in the original (without proper “IQ Skills” -- whew, you wanna talk about a series concept that needed to be reinvented in a big hurry). Your allies in the early games start out dumb as bricks, collectively. You“d be more likely to waste Reviver Seeds on your allied characters than you would actually fending for yourself, in dungeons. But ultimately, I was willing to tolerate the more methodical aspects of the early PMD games because their narrative was worthwhile -- or in the case of “Explorers”: really freaking great. Having tools like these that let you modify the kinds of jobs you could take was a big help for reducing some of the grindy aspects, too. But Gates to Infinity marked the beginning of a few gameplay evolutions, while taking a few steps backward in terms of both narrative and the entire “Job List” system. I was ready to give the PMD spin-off series one last chance with “Super”, before I considered Sky the exception and not the rule. Man, am I glad I did. And Now You“ve read my review of Super Mystery Dungeon, I hope. I don“t have to reiterate how involving the Connection Orb in recruitment helped kill my single biggest concern with the series, but I will. While I wrote that up before really sinking my teeth into the postgame [as described above], my words still ring true. This game is tough as nails -- I tried getting Holly into it, but it ultimately proved too much of a chore for her. I can“t imagine many who aren“t used to adapting quickly and needing to power through high-pressure battle situations will get very far into the main game, nor will they last too long in the postgame at all. As someone who just got done praising the main series for its increased inclusiveness -- SMD“s biggest flaw is definitely that it“s the biggest challenge of the series, by far. But, near the end of my adventures, I can say it“s done enough to not be "impossible." The Explorers games had you fight Dialga at one point, then Palkia much later on. SMD has you fight Dialga, Palkia and Mega Rayquaza back to back in the same dungeon. I took on Reshiram and Zekrom at the same time. The “boss” Mewtwo you fight spams Recover and heals 998 HP, just when you think you“ve gotten the upperhand. If you manage to kill the first form... it freaking Mega Evolves right after that. And hey, who can forget an entire 15 floor dungeon filled with nothing but Deoxys forms, and another with Genesects? Calling this game “the Dark Souls of Pokémon” would not be a stretch. I“ve absolutely earned my victories/accomplishments in this game. And I can“t run around and call them “impossible” either -- because concepts like Alliances and Looplets help give any given team an upper-hand as they explore. I even compared stats between my Partner Pokémon -- Pikachu -- and a Raichu I recruited at some point during the game. They were the exact same across the board. So, a major plus is that -- barring the obvious Legendary and Mythical “deity Pokémon” with extreme stats across the board -- no one Pokémon outdoes another, in terms of stats. You don“t have to evolve to win; you just have to pick the best team to fit the circumstances you“re presented with. And I have. I“ve described how the presentation, characters and world-building helped me get into the series -- and how brand new mechanics and genuine (not entirely luck-based) challenges helped me stay with Super Mystery Dungeon ”til (close to) the end. But there“s still so much more to elaborate on before I feel comfortable saying “goodbye” to talking about these games. So I“ll see you next week, to spoil the heck out of the things that make both Super Mystery Dungeon and the Explorers games so great -- their characters and world.
  2. Jonathan Higgins

    Review: Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon

    Developer: Spike Chunsoft Publisher: Nintendo, The Pokémon Company Platform: Nintendo 3DS Release Date: November 20th, 2015 ESRB: E for Everyone Official Site It“s been almost ten years since the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon spin-off arrived in North America. I“ve played every game since the beginning. And I“ve remained attached to it -- despite the previous 3DS entree, Gates to Infinity, being less than stellar. Despite a love for the series, I“ve been apprehensive. After the previous game let me down hard, I“ve become critical... even cynical of the series. Is this new game really worth it? To be honest, Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon has managed to exceed my expectations in every way imaginable. Spike Chunsoft are certainly no strangers to the roguelike genre, or even injecting Pokémon“s mechanics and charm into it. But I daresay their latest endeavor has introduced enough sweeping changes to the decade-old formula established in Red Rescue Team that folks who dismissed the series should come back for this one, and newcomers could feel welcome as well. I“ve absorbed every last drop of story this world has to offer over the past week or so (sitting at just over 33 hours), and I still have a long way to go before my journey to obtain all 720 Pokémon (yes - -they“re all playable!) is done. Without further ado: The Mystery Dungeon spin-off series dismisses the world that humans and Pokémon share in favor of a world that consists of only Pokémon, where humans are often left to myths and legends. Every game in the series has you play as a human that“s turned into a Pokémon, with no memories of how it happened, who you are, or why you“re there. Near the beginning of your journey, you meet a partner Pokémon who you share your adventures with. The plots of each of these games rely heavily upon the bonds a player will establish with the partner Pokémon. Super Mystery Dungeon has the largest cast of protagonist and partner Pokémon to choose from that includes every known starter Pokémon, as well as popular ones like Pikachu and Riolu. If you“d rather not choose and leave destiny up to the personality quiz that“s often been a series staple, that“s up to you! I went with my same choices from Explorers of Sky: Charmander and Pikachu. The story of Super Mystery Dungeon starts out simple. Charmander is thrust upon the Pokémon world with no memory of how it got there, and winds up enrolling in the Pokémon School at Serene village, a peaceful paradise far-off and disconnected from the rest of civilization. It“s there that Charmander meets Pikachu, whose dream is to become a member of the Pokémon Expedition Society and help create to a map of the world. For the first few hours, as the game introduces new and returning mechanics, the story sticks to Serene Village and the colorful cast of characters living there. Eventually, though, Charmander and Pikachu will leave Serene Village and investigate the mystery of why Legendary Pokémon have been turning to stone. Their adventure spans multiple continents, features plenty of powerful Pokémon, and has a wide variety of emotionally powerful moments, too. The story carries plenty of weight on its own, but many of the dungeons you“ll explore as a part of the main story are really cool! There“s more than one instance in the story where you could be exploring a dungeon with a full party of five, six or seven powerful allies. There are so many things Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon does that no game in the series has attempted before -- and most of the time, you“ll be pleased with how well the developers pull it all off. The story is definitely not the only thing Super Mystery Dungeon does well. The visuals are great; they build upon Gates to Infinity“s 3D approach to deliver much more vibrant environments than that game did. I still miss the adorable sprites from the series“ 2D beginnings, but I think this is definitely the game to make old school fans appreciate the new graphical style. Everything looks beautiful. But it sounds freaking incredible. The soundtrack confidently stands with elite contemporaries like Fire Emblem: Awakening and Kid Icarus: Uprising. There are over 150 tracks in the game that cover a wide variety of environment types and moods. Some remix old classics from the series, and some are the old classics themselves! From a presentation standpoint -- this is without a doubt the best of the entire series. The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series introduced Pokémon moves, types and mechanics to the roguelike genre. But “catching them all” -- even when every known species was available like in Explorers of Sky -- has always been an impossible endeavor. Recruiting allies was mostly left up to chance as you encountered them in dungeons -- and the more popular or powerful Pokémon had an incredibly low recruitment chance. Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon has introduced the single biggest change to the series: the Connection Orb. Rather than potentially turning enemy Pokémon into friends while you explore dungeons on missions for Pokémon clients, or during the story -- your clients become your allies at the end of every single mission. These missions vary: there are ones where you help your client find its lost pal, find one“s treasure, defeat one looking for a challenge, and more. You can also recruit Pokémon (both Legendary and non-Legendary) by simply talking to them in the game“s many towns, or randomly traveling in dungeons. For example: I“ve run into Victini just chilling in the game“s cafe where you can pick up your rewards for completing missions. This approach encourages you to fully explore all the game“s towns once per in-game day, as you gain access to them. You“ll find new Pokémon allies and missions to do more often than not! There are many more brand new elements introduced in the game, but this one is definitely the most welcome. (Those orange dots are Pokémon you've not yet encountered before. There are new ones each time you play!) Previous entries assigned missions by way of a bulletin board. They were random, sometimes useless depending on how far you were in the games, and in Gates to Infinity you could only do one at a time. Since Super Mystery Dungeon's missions are tied directly to the Connection Orb, you can accept a limitless number of tasks from Pokémon you encounter in town. They“re all kept track of for you, and each mission is only ever assigned and completed once. Handling non-story missions by way of the Connection Orb really does streamline the process; it makes playing the game for completion“s sake seem like so much less of a chore. What“s more -- every single Pokémon you recruit shares experience with the team currently exploring a dungeon, so no one will be stuck at Lv5 if you don“t ever get around to using them. There“s even a “motivation” system that challenges you to go on adventures as certain team members to be rewarded with double experience for your entire squad. With all the positives in mind: I think the biggest flaw of my experience was several difficulty spikes, at times. Charmander and Pikachu“s levels are kept rather low throughout the main story -- I finished the main game around Lv30 or so. The game makes allowances to make non-story missions easier on the player, but those story-based ones are rather tough! I think the reason the game allows a squad of six to accompany you at times is because you need those powerhouses surrounding your weaker main characters to survive the battles. It“s an interesting approach, but it may take newcomers some getting used to. The biggest point I should stress when it comes to Super Mystery Dungeon is its scope. It“s truly worthy of the word “Super” in its title. It doesn“t just want you to explore a handful of dungeons on a single continent; it wants you to explore an entire world. You“ll meet allies via the Connection Orb that you may recognize as being from other games in the series, even! All the continents share thinly veiled similarities with other games“ hub worlds. Even the “Rescuing” component that allows you to save other players who“ve fallen in dungeons takes you to a completely different part of the game that functions as a sort of free-play. Helper Pokémon from your rescues can even join you in the main story by way of StreetPass and SpotPass elements. It really does seem like the entire team went all out, to make Super Mystery Dungeon the finest -- and possibly final -- hour of the series. The developers shoved everything they possibly could into this experience, marrying old and new elements to create the ideal Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game. I used to say “If you can only play one game in the series -- make it Explorers of Sky.” That“s certainly changed. Super Mystery Dungeon isn“t revolutionary. But it certainly is the new personal best of The Pokémon Company and Spike Chunsoft“s combined efforts. Pros: + All 720 Pokémon are playable in this game. No Legendary or popular favorite is left behind! + The new Connection Orb makes recruiting said Pokémon easier and more intuitive than any previous entree in the series. + The story is suited for all ages. There are as many whimsical characters as there are powerful moments. + The game's world is huge. Everything opens up to the player relatively early on, so he or she can make non-story missions as easy or as difficult as desired. Cons: - This is definitely not an easy game. You may retry or need to be rescued more than necessary, if you're not careful. Newcomers who don't know the nuances of the genre may feel overwhelmed, sometimes - Are you one of those people who dislikes Nintendo America's sense of humor? You may be turned off by some of the script. The phrase "scaredy cat" becomes "scaredy Delcatty," for example. Overall Score: 9 (out of 10) Fantastic Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon feels like the finest hour of the series. The game is so chocked full of content that "Super" almost feels like it's not a good enough word to do it justice. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using a copy of the game purchased by the author.
  3. Welcome to the twenty-sixth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday morning. -------------------------------- All's Quiet...For Now! I think Yo-Kai Watch is the reason we didn“t see much Pokémon presence at E3 this year, and why we probably won“t hear anything about new games (outside of Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon) until after its intended Holiday release. Given the recent news that Disney“s grabbing the Yo-Kai Watch anime and Hasbro“s got its toys... I“d say Nintendo and Level-5 are out to market this title big time; they don“t want any “megaton” Pokémon announcements cannibalizing sales. After seeing Yo-Kai Watch take up some screen-time during the Digital Event, while Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon“s new trailer had to wait until after... well, I think Pokémon news in the west is going to slow to a crawl. There are still some smaller things happening, though. Mere weeks after I mention both of my Dragonites being competitively obsolete because they don“t have their Hidden Ability, Multiscale — Nintendo have partnered with GameStop to...give away Multiscale Dragonites from now until July 12th. Haha. Hoopa will soon be available in Japan. If you“re lucky enough to obtain it from a friend prior to the U.S. release, you can head into any PokéMart to grab the necessary item to make Hoopa transform into Hoopa Unbound. It comes with Nasty Plot, Psychic and Astonish, as well as its signature move Hyperspace Hole. There“s no word on Hoopa“s release outside of Japan just yet, but I“ll keep you updated. And last but not least, I“ll update you on the new Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon bits from the new trailer and during E3 last week. First and foremost, we have confirmation that the Personality Testa series staple that skipped Gates to Infinity — makes its triumphant return in this game. The Pokémon you become will be determined by how you answer the questions the game asks you. We also get our first glimpse of the game“s story. Something is turning Legendary Pokémon into stone, and it threatens to overtake the entire planet. It sounds eerily similar to Explorers of Sky“s plot concerning the planet“s paralysis... but hey, I“ll take it! We even see from the game“s box art that Mega Evolutions are confirmed for the game. It“s going to be interesting to see what news comes from Japan; its release there is much closer than ours. Beyond those noteworthy bits, and the continued support of the free-to-start spin-off titles Pokémon Shuffle and Pokémon Rumble World, I think things will remain pretty quiet on the Pokémon front until the holiday season, at least. But don“t worry! I still have a few things planned for Individual Values going forward. And, as always, I welcome your comments and feedback below.
  4. Welcome to the twenty-fifth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday morning. -------------------------------- Use Foresight to Predict E3 2015 Surprises Hard to believe that by this time next week, E3 2015 will be over and I“ll be on a plane back to my home from the West Coast. I suppose a lot can happen in seven days. Regardless of how you feel about press conferences, all the hype, and the fact that a few people will all get together inside a convention center for a few hours each day... E3 could be the epicenter of several paradigm shifts for the industry, Nintendo, and Pokémon. Or not. Right on the cusp of some of our E3 Predictions, it“s time for us to figure out what specific Pokémon-related things, games and announcements could be revealed in Los Angeles! Here are my educated guesses. Maybe I“ll throw in an off-the-wall suggestion along the way. Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon will be playable Since it“s coming out in Japan in just a few months (and in the United States by Winter, and in Europe during the first part of 2016), I have to assume the game is far along in development. Hopefully we“ll get a definitive release date during the Nintendo Digital Event, but I won“t hold my breath. Regardless, I am officially on the PSMD hype train, especially after seeing the game“s debut trailer. It may follow the same formula as Gates to Infinity, but it certainly seems to have a lot more content! Speaking of which, have you read my Pokémon Mystery Dungeon-focused IV piece yet? The next mainline Pokémon game... could be announced, but it probably won“t be playable, and it probably isn“t coming this year. We“ve had a bunch of side content coming from the franchise lately. Between Shuffle, Rumble World, and now PSMD... I“m quite certain there are a number of distractions out there to keep fans busy until the next great adventure, which is probably farther off than some are hoping. What could it be, though? Does anyone have any ideas? I reaffirm that I think we“re getting a “third game” that blends elements of both Pokémon ORAS (Zinnia) and Pokémon X&Y (Zygarde) together — Pokémon Z! But speaking of distractions...there“s a game I haven“t brought up for a while hitting arcades in Japan this July. Have you forgotten? Pokkén Tournament will be announced during the Nintendo Digital Event as coming to Wii U worldwide in Q1 2016 I really hope it“s playable. And I also hope Nintendo has a decent-sized portion of its booth devoted to versus matches among attendees like they did for Smash Bros. and Splatoon last year. The unique arcade stick all but confirms a console variant is on the way. Pokémon Social Media here in the states and in Europe haven“t exactly been quiet about the game this whole time. Why not choose E3 to announce it, especially if there“s no mainline game coming until late next year? Will Pokémon amiibos be announced? I doubt any of it“s true, but sleuths have certainly seen rumors to that effect. I“m scared, y“all. I“m so, so scared (here“s an earlier IV that explains why). Okay, here“s an off-the-wall-one to wrap us up! What if...Pokémon Snap 2? Pokémon Stadium U?! I would backflip for either one. If The Pokémon Company has dispatched secret Alakazams or Gardevoirs to this location to read my mind... can either one of these please happen?? Pokémon Snap would be phenomenal to experience on Wii U. You could post photos of Pokémon seamlessly to the Miiverse... use the Wii U Gamepad“s gyro-scopic controls to move around freely in all directions (assuming the game continued the on-rails nature of its predecessor). Heck, why not make the Gamepad the camera itself and have the game be first-person and off-rails? The possibilities are endless. ...And listen, I know battling in Pokémon has become more seamless than ever, and we don“t need to see all 720 known creatures in stunning high-definition because they“re already 3D on our handhelds. But a guy can dream, can“t he?! I just want to see again. That“s all for me this week. Maybe I“ll have time enough to compile a “Greatest Bits of Pokémon at E3 2015” while I“m in Los Angeles. If not, I still have a cool side thing for next Friday“s Individual Values! What are your Pokémon-related E3 predictions?! Are mine right on the money, or do you think I couldn“t be more wrong? Be sure to let me know!
  5. Nintendo of America decided to follow Japan“s lead yesterday by revealing a surprise Nintendo Direct Micro just moments ago. It“s best to just watch the presentation to see everything for yourself (including English variants of some of the trailers I mentioned yesterday, like Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon). But for those who don“t have seventeen minutes to spare, here“s a quick recap: Chibi Robo: Zip Lash, the new Chibi Robo game I mentioned yesterday that comes with a brand new Chibi Robo amiibo, is coming to North America this October. The amiibo will be packaged in an exclusive Chibi Robo: Zip Lash bundle. Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure is a brand new Dr. Mario game for Nintendo 3DS. It has plenty of new gameplay options to make multiplayer modes more interesting than ever before. It“s coming on June 11th, 2015. You can pre-purchase it right now! As aforementioned, the first trailer for Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon has an English variant now. You can choose from twenty starter Pokémon to be, and to be your partner. And all known Pokémon are indeed in the game. Trinen called it “the ultimate version of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series” and said “there will always be an adventure waiting for you every time you play”. He again confirmed the game for a Winter release in North America. Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games was announced after that. For the first time in 112 years, Golf has been reintroduced as an olympic sport. Wonder who has the longer drive between Mario and Sonic. Next up: the NES Zapper, seen in pamphlets since the game“s release, is coming to Splatoon. Along with it comes a new multiplayer map and Rankled Battles. The best part? That“s all coming tonight, at 7 PM PT, 10 PM ET. Art Academy: Home Studio was announced after that. You can do stuff like upload a time-lapsed video of your art“s creation on YouTube. It“s available for pre-purchase now, and will be out on June 25th. Project Treasure“s debut trailer is….right here! So, remember the Nintendo World Championships 2015? They“re still happening. But more noteworthy: Bill Trinen said one of the games involved in the competition is...a secret to everybody. That“s a Zelda reference. I“m guessing we“ll either see Zelda Wii U at the event, or a brand new Zelda game that somehow involves competitive play? Who knows, but I guess we“ll find out on June 14th! Little Battlers Experience was announced, too. It“s coming on August 21st, 2015. New content was announced for Puzzle & Dragons Z + Super Mario Bros. Edition after that. Check here for more. And last, but certainly not least? Remember that trademark from earlier? Bravely Second is now officially confirmed for the West--both North America and Europe, mind you--in 2016. That's a wrap! Here's the full presentation! Plenty of surprises this morning. Which announcement from this Nintendo Direct Micro has you the most excited? Be sure to let us know!
  6. Did you catch the Nintendo Direct that aired in Japan earlier this morning? One of many games talked about during the broadcast was Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, first announced late last week. The game carries on the aesthetics from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, but already seems to have much more content compared to the previous game. Few details were revealed, but: you can choose from among twenty starter Pokémon to play as (and presumably to be your partner as well) including Pikachu, Riolu, and the major starters from each generation. And it“s been confirmed that every single known Pokémon will be in the game, including Mythical and Legendary beasts. The game will release on September 17th, 2015 in Japan, later this year in the United States, and early 2016 in Europe. View the trailer below! Have you checked out my Individual Values piece devoted to the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series yet? I am officially on the Super Mystery Dungeon hype train! Are you excited to hear more about Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon? Be sure to let us know!
  7. Welcome to the twenty-second week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday morning. -------------------------------- Explore the Sky, Infinity and Beyond Next year will mark ten years since the release of the first Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game(s). Red Rescue Team was released for the Game Boy Advance, and Blue Rescue Team was released for the handful of people intrepid enough to own the Nintendo DS during its initial launch. For those unfamiliar with the PMD series, who have managed to miss out until yesterday“s announcement of Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, here“s the groundwork: In each of the PMD games, you play as a human turned into a Pokémon. The first and second group of games in the series really wanted to make the player and protagonist relate to one another, so they had you take a personality test that more or less determined what Pokémon you turned into. It“s clever, thinking back, because a lot of the personality types were the same as the Natures from the main series of Pokémon games. After taking your test, you were able to pick from a list of popular Pokémon and make that one your partner in the game. For example: my journey through Red Rescue Team almost ten years ago was the story of Squirtle and Bulbasaur. For the next games, Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky, it was of Pikachu and Charmander. The gameplay is reminiscent of any roguelike you've ever played. Explore randomly generated dungeon. Fight stuff. Get to the end. Except the games have a Pokémon twist, where you can use your moves (like Ember or Thundershock) from the games, and recruit any Pokémon to join your team. Each of the games until Gates to Infinity had almost every known species at the time obtainable, so there was always a ton of content, and rich environments to explore while you enjoyed neat music and the general ambiance of a game where you played as Pokémon in a world of Pokémon. Not to mention, each game had elements that let you involve other players. Red/Blue Rescue Team, since it came well before the Nintendo Wi-Fi“s boon, had you entering passwords to rescue your (real-life) friends when they died in a dungeon, to prevent them from losing their items. Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky had you go online to rescue strangers and friends alike. Infinity had some StreetPass elements. This is a series that was heavily involved in actually helping others. Each of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games had a rich world with plenty of environments that all feel cohesive with one another. And the story of the first game was simple, because it was trying to introduce players to this concept. I could say the same for Gates to Infinity, the recent 3DS game that felt scaled down, in order to perhaps introduce a new generation of Pokémon fans to this spin-off series. But… Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky has the single best story the Pokémon company has ever produced, and that includes the main series of games. I said it in a previous IV, but let me reiterate once again: That game is one of the only times to ever make me think, "Holy Toledo—this story is way too emotional/dark for ten year-olds." I“m hoping, now that the introductory-feeling Gates to Infinity has been released, that the new Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon will return to form in the sense that the second iteration of games is meant for both newcomers and veterans alike, and will have similar story themes and much more to do. My problem with Gates to Infinity wasn't that it was a bad game. It just had so much less content, less story, and less attainable Pokémon than the Explorers games that came before it. I“m hoping that Spike Chunsoft has spent some time creating an experience that will rival the second group of games. I“m genuinely excited about the next entry in the series—but I“m also keeping my expectations low, for now. If you haven“t tried the PMD games yet? I honestly recommend playing Explorers of Sky over any of the other games, if you don“t feel like waiting until Winter 2015/Spring 2016. You won“t regret it, if you“re a Pokémon fan. I was surprised to see that even one of my favorite developers played through that game and seemed to enjoy it as much as I did. Is anyone else super familiar with this series, and as in love with PMD:EoS as I am? Please do let me know! And, of course, I“ll offer more information on Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon as it comes closer to release.