Hi, We Need To Talk About ‘Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX’

If you’ve been seeing more Pokémon on your TL than usual lately, or seen more Skitty in your feed than normal (the normal amount being zero, fuck Skitty), it’s because there’s a new Pokémon game out. 

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a new turn-based dungeon crawling roleplaying game (RPG) for the Nintendo Switch.

As rescue adventurers, you explore dungeons, make Poké-friends and resolve town folks’ queries and quests, from a lost Caterpie in the woods to the secret behind an erupting volcano that could destroy the planet, all while wearing an adorable little handkerchief. Chic. 

It’s a pretty infectiously cute concept and has some really charming writing with pocket monsters straight from your childhood, but one thing in the game’s demo kept me up all night… In fact, it’s so bad that I refuse to play it.

But, before we get into that, what exactly *is* Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX?

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a remake of the original Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team, which first released in 2005 on the Nintendo DS and GameBoy Advance respectively.

Unlike mainline games in the series like Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon is developed by Spike Chunsoft, a studio best known for complex murder game Japanese visual novels like the Danganronpa series, Steins;Gate and Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

One day, you awake to find yourself beached on an island and to a crying Pokémon looking for a partner to form a rescue team. 

Oh yeah, and one small thing: you’re a Pokémon, too. 

Riddled with amnesia, you accept their request with only one thing certain: you were once human.

Destined to find out what’s happened to you, you join the rescue service community and begin taking on quests. From there, you recruit Pokémon, explore dungeons and solve everyday Pokémon’s problems, including the reason behind the cataclysmic natural disasters happening around the world (and behind your new adorable identity). Ya know, normal stuff.

How does it play?

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon DX is a turn-based dungeon crawler. Mechanically, what that means is that after taking on a quest from the notice board in town (where you can also purchase items and meet some of your home’s loveable neighbours, cute af), you explore procedurally generated floors of a dungeon. 

Similar to Pokémon battles in the main games, you take turns making moves but can also move around the map, so there’s an extra layer of strategy found in environmental and long and short distance combat.

Essentially, for every move you take, every Pokémon on that floor (even those unbeknownst to you at the time) moves. 

You can also recruit other Pokémon by progressing through the game’s story, side quests and, on rare occasion, by defeating a wild Pokémon, but need specific campsites for them to chill in from the Wigglytuff back in town.

Oh, and did we mention that this remake has an adorable and beautiful artstyle, almost as if it were an oil-painting or something out of Winnie the Pooh?

Seriously y’all, look at how your Pokémon look with these little rescue scarves. The level of detail and variety in their expressions makes my little heart go pitter-patter. 

Look at my boys. Look. At. Them. 

So why do I refuse to play it?

Months before the game’s release, Nintendo released a demo for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX. In it, you help a worried Butterfree mother find her Caterpie son (don’t talk to me or my useless Catepie son ever again) who’s lost in a nearby forest. 

Before you even begin that quest, however, you have to do a personality quiz to determine which Pokémon you are.

And, according to Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, I’m a fucking *Machop*. A Machop. “You appear to be the Pokémon Machop. Is that correct?”

“Is it,” I asked myself, falling deeper and deeper into a sea of lost consciousness, recollections of my memories replaced with burly grey beefcakes and probably the most cursed and offensively horny Pokémon designs.

According to Pokémon Sword’s PokéDex, Machop’s whole entire body is composed of muscles. He’s 19.5kg and only 0.8m tall.

He really is out here as a tiny little man who can lift 100 adult men, and while that is quite impressive, I don’t need that in my life.

All I wanted from this game was for it to tell me I’m Growlithe so I can eventually evolve into an Arcanine and be a fucking cute dog. Is that so much to ask, Nintendo? Is it?

And before you ask, yes, I rebooted the demo and tried the quiz again. And what did I get this time? Machop. Again. 

Therefore, I refuse to play this game. 

If, like me, you were assigned the wrong Pokémon, you can choose your own starter. Even then, this experience means that I have to continue on with my life knowing that in another plane of existence, I could be a tiny gross buff man instead of a Charizard or Eeveelution. And that’s gonna take some weeks getting over. 

At least Animal Crossing is out soon.

Julian Rizzo-Smith is a writer and producer. He also claims to be a vine historian, avid connoisseur of low-fi beats, indie hip hop and Kermit memes. In a perfect world, he’d be married to Tyler the Creator, own an Arcanine and a Lapras, and don his own Sailor Scouts uniform. He tweets @GayWeebDisaster, which is also, coincidentally, how one might describe him.

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