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Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon

Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon

Written by Russell Archey on 12/17/2015 for 3DS  
More On: Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon

A while back I had the opportunity to review Pokemon Mystey Dungeon: Gates to Infinity for the Nintendo 3DS.  Even though I had no prior experience with any Mystery Dungeon games, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game though I did find it a little on the easy side.  Now I have the chance to review the latest entry in the series, Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon.  With a title like that and boasting every Pokemon in the franchise included, one would think it’s bigger and better than the previous game, seeing as how it has the word “Super” in the title.  Well let’s dive on into the world of Pokemon once again to find out.

As in the previous games, Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon starts out with you playing a human that is turned into a Pokemon, only the opening story is a bit different.  This time around we start off with Deoxys outside of the planet’s atmosphere noticing that Rayquaza is upset about something.  That’s about all you get at the start as the main story unfolds as the game progresses, but you soon pick up your part of the story as you’re being chased by a group of Beheeyem until a Nuzleaf comes to your rescue.  He takes you into his home in Serene Village where the bulk of the game begins (though along the way to Serene Village you do go through a mystery dungeon and learn the basics of how the game works).

When you begin you take a bit of a survey that helps determine which of the twenty available Pokemon you should pick as your character and partner, but you can override that decision and choose whomever you wish.  Once you’ve done that the bulk of the game begins…sort of.  The game’s tutorial of sorts is basically you going to school and meeting a few other children of the village.  The first several chapters are learning how the mechanics of the game works.  It’s an interesting way of doing things, but at times it just seems to drag out a bit too much.  You do get the occasional reference to the Beheeyem you were trying to escape from, but that’s about it until you get a bit further in.

Once you begin exploring the dungeons, it’s very similar to Gates to Infinity to the point that outside of a new mechanic and some new items, veterans of the series should feel right at home.  Each dungeon is randomly generated when you enter it including the layout, items, and enemies.  The goal is to progress through the dungeon by finding a set of stairs on each floor that’ll take you to the next.  If you’re working on a mission that has you looking for something or someone, it’ll be noted when you hit the required floor that whatever you’re looking for is there somewhere.  When you find your target if there is one, you’ll be asked if you want to teleport out of the dungeon.  Otherwise the goal is to just make it to the end of the dungeon.


Replacing the request board from Gates to Infinity is the Connection Orb which you obtain several hours in.  The Connection Orb functions the same way, but you can now accept multiple requests at once and when you complete a request, you connect with that Pokemon, add them to your group of possible teammates for dungeon exploring, and open up more connections and requests.  While it kind of takes away the “gotta catch ‘em all” formula of the series, at least it’s no longer random when a Pokemon will join your group.  It’s also nice that you can complete multiple requests at once if they’re in the same dungeon (you can still only explore one dungeon per “day”).  Also given that the game boasts every Pokemon in the series is included, there should be no shortage of Pokemon to explore with.

Super Mystery Dungeon introduces a new mechanic; the belly meter, for lack of better term.  Each Pokemon now has a meter that shows how full they are and it’ll go down bit by bit over time.  You can refill this, normally by eating an apple, but if it ever reaches zero you’ll begin to lose health bit by bit.  Finding apples in dungeons isn’t all that difficult and I’ve rarely had instances where my belly meter got dangerously low.  Plus if you eat an apple while the meter is full it’ll increase the max by 10.   In other words, I tended to save up an abundance of apples in my Deposit Box and only had to use maybe one or two per dungeon, so I’m curious as to why that mechanic was thrown in at all.

The difficulty was another thing I noticed that had been changed from Gates to Infinity, but in both a good way and bad way.  I found Gates to Infinity to be rather easy in difficulty, rarely finding myself in any danger except maybe boss fights.  Suffice to say that the difficulty in Super Mystery has been turned up a bit, but sometimes it can be rather imbalanced.  You can be running through a dungeon with no issues and just trampling everything in your path with little effort.  Then you see the message “Heliolisk used Razor Wind”.  If you’re in the room when you see that, you’re likely taking a ton of damage after your next move (it takes two “moves” to use Razor Wind).  The fact that your stats don’t go up very quickly when you gain a level and also that Razor Wind has a high crit chance, there’s a good chance that your entire party can get wiped out rather quickly if you’re not prepared.


Another issue with the leveling system is noticeable early on.  I’ll do my best not to go into spoilers, but several chapters in once you’ve acquired the Connection Orb you’ll eventually come across a very powerful Pokemon.  You must defeat this Pokemon to continue (ie. It’s not an optional request) and doing so will let you use him when going through dungeons.  That’s all fine and dandy until you realize that the game gives you an incredibly high level Pokemon barely a third of the way into the game that’s over thirty levels above yourself.  A lot of the Pokemon that join you are anywhere from a couple levels below you to several levels above you, so imagine my surprise when I got a Pokemon that’s about three times my level very early on.  However, it’s not like you can just trample through the rest of the game at this point.

When exploring a dungeon once you start taking requests you can typically only take in three Pokemon, with the requester occasionally joining you, and something I’m still trying to understand is that once you use a Pokemon a couple of times, they won’t be available for a certain period of time.  That high level Pokemon I mentioned?  I used him in one or two dungeons and he became unavailable for a few dungeons.  On the flip side I used a Sylveon in a couple of dungeons, then she became unavailable for a bit, and then I’ve been using her ever since.  In other words, I’m not sure what determines how many dungeons you can use them for.  Even if I could use that high leveled Pokemon for multiple dungeons in a row it doesn’t help with this game’s leveling system.  That high level Pokemon can still get two-shotted by Heliolisk’s Razor Wind…and keep in mind that Heliolisk is probably at least twenty to twenty-five levels below it (and I’m giving Heliolisk the benefit of the doubt here).

Finally there’s Pelipper Island which can be accessed through the main menu.  This basically lets you perform a couple of tasks, mainly taking a group of Pokemon you’ve connected with (aside from your main character and partner) and take them through a mystery dungeon that you’ve already been through to collect items and experience, but more importantly it allows you to send out Pokemon via Street Pass to help other players when their team gets KO’ed.  It’s an interesting concept but one I haven’t had much need for outside of the forced tutorial for it, mainly because since you can save right before going into a dungeon, unless you’re on a long story mission you aren’t losing much progress if you get wiped out.  Still, the fact that it’s there is a nice inclusion should you ever need it, but be warned your team can only get rescued a certain number of times per dungeon before you’re forced to restart.


Overall I’m having a lot of fun with Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon, but it’s not without its frustrations either, mainly due to the leveling and imbalances it brings early on.  The fact that a lot of the early game is tutorials plus the fact that you can get high level Pokemon several hours in while you’re still in your teens, and then add in Heliolisk and its Razor Wind attack and it can make for some frustrating times.  However, the game itself is still fun and fans of the series will likely enjoy it, but it’s not without its issues.  Between the two 3DS games I like Super Mystery Dungeon better due to the increased difficulty, but I’d still put it almost on par with Gates to Infinity due to other frustrations.  Bottom line, once you get past the game’s shortcomings you’ll still find a fun Mystery Dungeon experience.

Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon is a fun game, but it still has its frustrating moments.  The tutorials seem to drag on forever, the leveling system is kind of imbalanced, and the difficulty can go from normal to frustrating depending on who you encounter where.  However, if you can get past those shortcomings you’ll find a pretty fun game and a fairly solid entry into the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series.

Rating: 7.4 Above Average

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

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About Author

I began my lifelong love of gaming at an early age with my parent's Atari 2600.  Living in the small town that I did, arcades were pretty much non-existent so I had to settle for the less than stellar ports on the Atari 2600.  For a young kid my age it was the perfect past time and gave me something to do before Boy Scout meetings, after school, whenever I had the time and my parents weren't watching anything on TV.  I recall seeing Super Mario Bros. played on the NES at that young age and it was something I really wanted.  Come Christmas of 1988 (if I recall) Santa brought the family an NES with Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt and I've been hooked ever since.

Over 35 years from the first time I picked up an Atari joystick and I'm more hooked on gaming than I ever have been.  If you name a system, classics to moderns, there's a good chance I've not only played it, but own it.  My collection of systems spans multiple decades, from the Odyssey 2, Atari 2600, and Colecovision, to the NES, Sega Genesis, and Panasonic 3DO, to more modern systems such as the Xbox One and PS4, and multiple systems in between as well as multiple handhelds.  As much as I consider myself a gamer I'm also a game collector.  I love collecting the older systems not only to collect but to play (I even own and still play a Virtual Boy from time to time).  I hope to bring those multiple decades of gaming experience to my time here at Gaming Nexus in some fashion.
These days when I'm not working my day job in the fun filled world of retail, I'm typically working on my backlog of games collecting dust on my bookshelf or trying to teach myself C# programming, as well as working on some projects over on YouTube and streaming on Twitch.  I've been playing games from multiple generations for over 35 years and I don't see that slowing down any time soon.
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