Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness

Everyone knows the score here, so we shouldn't have to spend too much time explaining the inner workings of the newest Pokemon dungeon crawler to battle its way out of Japan. You play as a Pokemon, recruit 492 others to your party and then dispense raw Poke-justice in countless randomized dungeons. Each is themed to a Pokemon type (fire, grass etc) so you do need to consider which friends you bring along, but outside of that it's a whole lot of poking around ever-changing rooms.

Your beginning Pokemon is decided after a thorough personality quiz. Once you're done, you "become" one of 16 starter Pokemon (Turtwig in this case) and set out on your quest in a Poke-world untouched by human hands. Dusclops runs the banks, which is a bit weird, but Electivire's move-combining service is actually quite helpful - he'll let you string moves together that act as one turn in the dungeons. So, you could have a STR UP attack, DEF DOWN attack to your enemy and then a special move all take place in one turn instead of three. That's wildly different from the main RPGs.

In those games your opponent is always right in front of you - in Time/Darkness you move via grid so you could still have several steps to go before encountering your foe, even though you can clearly see him on the map. That's where the items come into play, like sleep seeds or Graveler rocks. They can travel farther than one square away, letting you deal damage before your Poke-enemy can get close.

The last game used a dense password system to execute "rescue missions," a means by which another player could save you from a particularly rough dungeon. Now that feature is on the WFC, so you can now interrupt friends' dinner and personal lives with "OMG URGENT NOSEPASS DOWN HALP!!1!1!" by way of email, txt or possibly brain implant.

Explorers of Time/Darkness is out on the 20th of this very month. If you've been waiting, continue, but only for five more days.

Apr 15, 2008