Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Wiiware

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Onward! Flame Explorers, Go! Storm Explorers, and Dream! Light Explorers are collectively the third entry in the Pokemon Dungeon series, which started on the Gameboy Advance and DS in 2005. This time around, they make an appearance as Wiiware games. All three games were released in Japan on August 4th, 2009 for 1,200 Wii points apiece. A U.S. release date has not yet been set.

The three versions of the games are essentially the same, although some of the Pokemon and dungeons are different. If you have more than one version of the game, you can transfer your save file from one game to another to unlock all of the Pokemon. You can also trade with friends and send S.O.S. mail via the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection. The games can be controlled with either the Wiimote and Nunchuck, the Classic controller, the GCN controller, or the DS (through download play).

Mechanics

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon is a roguelike-genre game – you go through mazes, fight enemy Pokemon, and the mazes are randomly generated. Objectives can include reaching the end of a dungeon or undertaking a mission, such as finding a certain Pokemon, item, or escorting a Pokemon. As you walk, the game creates a map of where you’ve been, but you never know what’s ahead of you, and since enemies who challenge you as you attempt to accomplish your goals re-spawn, you never really know what’s behind you either. Compound this with the fact that the mazes are randomly generated, huge, and laden with traps, getting a Pokemon through in one piece becomes a challenge.

Dungeon is a turn-based game, although the turns pass so quickly that sometimes it seems like thing are happening in real time. On each turn, the Pokemon that you directly control (the team leader) can move one tile, use an item, or attack; and every other Pokemon character in the dungeon (your computer-controlled teammates and enemies) can do the same. As turns pass, Pokemon gradually recover lost HP, but they also get hungry. When a Pokemon’s belly is completely empty, it stops recovering and begins losing HP every turn instead. So, there are two primary aspects to the game: the first is navigating mazes and fighting enemies, and the second is efficiently managing resources like time, food, and PP.

If your team leader is knocked out, the entire team is teleported out of the dungeon, sans half its money and items. Additionally, the team must start the dungeon over from the beginning.

Town

Your team has a home base that it returns to in between missions. The hub town has cosmetic differences depending on the version, but all of the key characters and landmarks are the same.

Characters

Landmarks

Pokemon Towers

Normally, your team travels in a single-file line, which leaves the first and last Pokemon vulnerable to attacks, and prevents the middle Pokemon from fighting. The Pokemon Tower formation stacks the Pokemon one on top of another, solving these problems.

To form a Pokemon Tower, you need to step on a special tile called a Mounting Ditch. From there, you’ll be able to choose which Pokemon to add to the tower. The height and order of the tower is limited by all of the Pokemon’s size, which is indicated by stars next to their names (1, 2, 3, or 4). Each Pokemon can only carry Pokemon that are its own size or smaller, and can only carry one Pokemon that’s its own size. So, a tower consisting of three 3-star Pokemon (3-3-3) is impossible, but a tower of two 2-star Pokemon and two 1-star Pokemon (2-2-1-1) is plausible. The team leader must be at the bottom of the tower, so you’ll want to set one of your bigger Pokemon as leader before entering the Mounting Ditch.

While in the tower formation, all of the Pokemon’s HP is combined, making them far more difficult to knock out, but they lose their ability to regenerate HP while walking. The leader takes complete control of the team, preventing allies from attacking and using items on their own. When the leader attacks, if it chooses a move from the Attack menu, it can also choose an assist attack for each of its allies. If the leader uses its special attack (A+B), all of the other Pokemon in the tower will automatically use their special attacks. In both instances, the Pokemon perform their moves one right after another, with the leader going first and the topmost Pokemon going last. When attacking in this way, only the leader uses PP. The assisting Pokemon do need to have PP remaining for their moves to be selectable, though.

While in tower formation, only the leader can get hungry. When the leader runs low on PP or belly, you can go to a Mounting Ditch and reorder the tower, setting a fresh Pokemon as the leader. This lets you get much more mileage out of your moves and food. Just make sure that your leader’s stats don’t fall too low before switching – if a Pokemon has 0 PP, its moves won’t be selectable as assists, and if it has less than 10 belly, its assists will only do 1 damage.

The major downside to the tower formation is that, since the leader has total control over the team, if the leader is incapacitated by Confusion, Sleep, or Paralysis, the entire team is left helpless. The team also loses some flexibility while in formation; you can’t switch leaders, you can’t send team members home, and if you have a full team, newly-recruited Pokemon must be sent home immediately – you can’t swap them with your current teammates as is normally an option. Finally, while in tower formation, the tower’s “type” is that of the leader Pokemon. So, while your Pokemon may normally be able to cover each other’s type-Weaknesses, in tower formation, the leader’s Weakness becomes a Weakness for the entire team.

Certain enemy moves, like Roar, can cause your tower formation to collapse. Explosion Traps, Chestnut Traps, and weather changes also destroy the tower. If the leader runs out of PP in all of its moves, this will also cause the tower to collapse. If you want to break formation on your own, you can do so by going to the Team menu and either commanding a specific Pokemon to leave the tower or having the leader drop all of the Pokemon. Sometimes it’s necessary to break formation, either to let your Pokemon heal or to switch leaders. However, it’s almost always better to be in tower formation than out of it, since a lone Pokemon can’t do much against an enemy Pokemon Tower, and the vast majority of the enemies in this game travel in tower formation.

There’s an inverse Pokemon Tower that can be built by using a Mounting Step tile. In this version of the tower formation, the leader Pokemon rides on top of an ally, and the CPU makes all of the decisions. You can set general strategies for the CPU (go after foes, find the staircase) and enable/disable its ability to use items and particular attacks. The inverse Pokemon Tower is useful if you’re replaying a low-level dungeon, and don’t feel like giving the game your full attention.

Evolution

All of the Pokemon in this game are capable of evolving right from the outset, assuming they meet the evolution requirements. If a Pokemon levels up while fighting, it can evolve in the middle of the fight. You can decline to evolve a Pokemon; in fact, this is the default option when the evolution prompt comes up.

Sometimes evolution will cause a Pokemon to become too big for your Pokemon Tower, and the Pokemon will fall out of formation. If you have a 3-3-1-1 formation and the topmost Pokemon evolves,(making the formation 3-3-1-2), it’s no big deal – the topmost Pokemon will fall out of formation, but as soon as you find another Mounting Ditch, you can reorder the tower so it’s 3-3-2-1. If you have a 3-3-2-2 formation and one of the 2-star Pokemon Evolves, you’ll be left with a 3-3-2 formation and a useless 3-star Pokemon that can’t rejoin the tower for the rest of the mission. In a case like this, it’s probably better not to evolve.

Enemy Pokemon always evolve after knocking out one of your Pokemon. This can snowball quickly, so be careful. If an enemy in a Pokemon Tower causes a knock out, only the Pokemon that actually delivered the hit will evolve.

Bad Weather

Dungeons often have naturally bad weather, and when they don’t, there’s usually a Pokemon on the floor with a weather-inducing move.

When bad weather comes into effect, whether it’s with a move or by entering a stormy floor, all Pokemon Towers in play collapse. However, if a Pokemon in the tower has an affinity for the bad weather, it prevents this effect. For example, as long as a tower has at least one Water-type in it, that tower won’t collapse during Rain, and as long as a tower has at least one Ice-type in it, that tower won’t collapse during Snow or Hail.

Egg Moves

There is no day care center in this game, so it is impossible to hatch Pokemon. In spite of this, Pokemon can still learn their special egg moves! Simply place the Pokemon that’s to learn the egg move in a Pokemon Tower with a Pokemon that already knows the move. After seeing the egg move performed several times by its teammate, the Pokemon will learn the move. TM moves can also be passed in this way.

Panic

When a Pokemon with the Run Away ability (Rattata, Raticate, Ponyta, Rapidash, Doduo, Dodrio, Eevee, Sentret, Furret, Aipom, Dunsparce, Snubbull, Poochyena, Pachirisu, Buneary) is low on health, it becomes Panic stricken. In the case of a wild Pokemon, the Panicked Pokemon will run from battle and form a Pokemon Tower with the nearest wild Pokemon. In the case of an ally Pokemon, the Panicked Pokemon will hop on top of the leader and cower there, refusing to get down, attack, or even return to base. Although the leader can drop the Panicked Pokemon, it will immediately jump back up. The Panic condition does not go away until the Panicked Pokemon’s HP is restored.

Panic can be truly devastating, because it prevents you from manipulating your towers. Depending on the size of the Panicked Pokemon, you may find yourself stuck with a 3-1 tower of just the leader and the Panicked Pokemon, with your other team members permanently locked out of formation. Not only are 3/4 of your Pokemon dead weight in this situation, but you’re also hindered by all of the downsides of tower formation–neither the leader nor the Panicked Pokemon can heal while walking, and you can’t change leaders. To avoid this situation, make sure you have a stock of Oran Berries on hand any time you’re training a Pokemon with Run Away.

Dungeons

Each game has seven dungeons that are unlocked during the course of normal play, and eight dungeons that are unlocked after completing the game.

Mystery Dungeon: Flame

Mystery Dungeon: Storm

Mystery Dungeon: Light

Recruitment

Every Pokemon that appears in the game can be recruited – even fully evolved Pokemon like Jolteon and Charizard. Your chances of recruiting a Pokemon depend on a variety of factors: the level of your leader, the species of the opposing Pokemon, whether or not you have a Friend Bow equipped. Kecleon always has a 0.1% chance of being recruited, and “bosses” like Lugia and Groudon have a 100% recruitment rate.

To recruit a Pokemon, simply defeat it in battle. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a message: “Hooray! You can make (Pokemon) a teammate! Will you make (Pokemon) a teammate?” If you say yes, the Pokemon will join your active party, and if your party is full, you’ll have the option of sending either the new Pokemon or one of your current party members back home. (If all four party members are in a Pokemon Tower, the newly-recruited Pokemon must be sent home.) When the prompt for recruitment appears, the Pokemon’s name will be orange if it’s a species you’ve already recruited, and blue if it’s a new species or a new Unown form.

There is an odd quirk with recruitment and Pokemon Towers. If a new Pokemon joins your team while you’re performing an assist attack, even if the new Pokemon is sent home, your team will immediately break off the attack. For example, if you command all four Pokemon to use Earthquake in order to clear out a Monster House, and an enemy joins your team after the first hit, the other three Earthquakes won’t go off. If you decline the enemy’s request to join, the attacks will proceed as usual.

Legendary Pokemon

Story / Walkthrough

The game starts with an old Slowking musing about how his town (Pokemon Village, Beach, or Garden in Flame, Storm, and Light version, respectively) is peaceful and beautiful. He’s soon interrupted by Aron and Swinub, who are worried because their friend Shuckle went into a dungeon and hasn’t returned. As Slowking worries about why Shuckle hasn’t come back, a group of nine Pokemon appears: Charmander, Cyndaquil, Torchic, Chimchar, Vulpix, Growlithe, Eevee, Teddiursa, and Buneary in Flame version, Squirtle, Totodile, Mudkip, Piplup, Wooper, Azurill, Phanpy, Riolu, and Wynaut in Storm version, and Pichu, Pikachu, Shinx, Pachirisu, Elekid, Mareep, Psyduck, Togepi, and Meowth in Light version. Slowking is happy to see them, because they’re seasoned adventurers, and it will be no problem for them to retrieve Shuckle from the dungeon. He asks two of the adventurers to go after Shuckle, meaning it’s time to start building a team. Regardless of which two Pokemon you pick here, the remaining Pokemon will remain available for use, and you can also change your team leader at any point, so this isn’t a critical choice.

The two Pokemon go after Shuckle in a tutorial mission which explains the basic in-dungeon commands, how to use items, how to attack, etc. Shuckle is saved and brought back to town, where he admits that he went into the dungeon after hearing a rumor that there was delicious food to be found there, and he’s scolded for being a glutton. Slowking thanks the nine adventurers, then mentions that the town bulletin board is covered with posts from villagers in need of assistance, and asks the adventures to form a Rescue Team to help village.

After Slowking gives his speech, the second dungeon is unlocked. At this point, you can build a team of up to four Pokemon using any of the nine starters, and tackle missions in either of the unlocked dungeons. Enemy Pokemon will randomly ask to join your team after you defeat them, giving you even more options for your team.

After completing a couple of missions, Slowking will teach you about Pokemon Towers. Then, the third dungeon opens. After completing a mission in the third dungeon, the Gastrodon shop opens. After obtaining Bronze Rank, Slaking’s shop opens. The fourth and fifth dungeons also open.

In completing a few more missions, Farfetch’d tells the town about a dungeon rumored to hold incredible chocolate, corroborating Shuckle’s story. The Rescue Team decides to go to the new dungeon and bring back the chocolate for Shuckle.

When the Rescue Team returns with the chocolate, they give it to Shuckle. However, the other Pokemon in the town, who were quietly lusting after the chocolate themselves, begin to fight over it. By the next day, everyone in town hates each other. Shuckle, Aron, and Swinub feel responsible for the whole incident, and ask Slowking if there’s anything that can bring the town back together. Slowking says that there’s an item that can restore everyone’s spirits, and the Rescue Team agrees to hunt for it. A seventh dungeon opens.

At the end of the seventh dungeon, the team finds a treasure box containing consideration cookies. At first the Pokemon in the town fight over the cookies, but when they realize that everyone wants the cookies equally, they become empathetic and decide to share. Slowking reasons that the Pokemon wanted to apologize to each other for the incident with the chocolate, but didn’t know how, and the cookies helped spur them to action. The town becomes peaceful and friendly once more.

The End

After beating the first part of the game, the Rescue Team is upgraded to Silver Rank. A legendary beast (Raikou in Light, Entei in Flame, Suicune in Storm) appears in town and offers to join the team. All of the post-game dungeons, with the exception of the Unown and Legendary dungeon, open.

The Unown Garden / Village / Resort opens after obtaining Platinum Rank. The Legendary Volcanic Island / Wetlands / Mountain opens after obtaining Super Rank.

After obtaining the highest rank, Slowking Certification, an additional batch of legendary Pokemon becomes obtainable: Latias, Latios, and Mesprit and in Flame, Deoxys, Azelf, and Phione in Storm, Uxie, Cresselia, and Shaymin in Light. To encounter these Pokemon, you must also have the Enigma Part or Secret Slate in your inventory.

Game Connectivity

The Wii can hold four Mystery Dungeon save files. An icon next to each save file shows which games have been accessed with that file. Another icon on the continue screen shows which games have been cleared with the file.

When you transfer your save from one game to another, your team name, Pokemon, money, items, and rank are all carried over. Adventure progress is not carried over, so even if you’ve completed the story and unlocked all of the dungeons in one version, you’ll have to do it again in the other versions. (This is probably why the story is so short, if it was as long as a typical Mystery Dungeon story, completing the game three times would be unbelievably tedious.) Of course, if you play through one game and then transfer your save, your progress in the original game will be retained, it’s just that unlocking a dungeon in one game doesn’t unlock the corresponding dungeons in the other games.

Although all of your Pokemon are carried over from game to game, any Pokemon that are part of your active party in one game will be inaccessible in the other games. If you want to use a Pokemon from your active party, have Slowking dismiss it from the party before changing games.

In addition to letting you capture more Pokemon, having multiple games increases your storage space. If you have one game, you can have a maximum of 176 Pokemon and 320 items in storage. If you have two games, these numbers increase to 352 and 640, and if you have all three games, you can have 552 Pokemon and 1000 items.

Friend Passwords

You can obtain special Pokemon by using codes from the official Pokemon site. Enter the code on the main menu, then select your save file and start the game as usual. Your new Pokemon will be waiting by Slowking.

Wiiconnect24

If you have Wiiconnect24 enabled, you’ll be able to participate in Nintendo events, which let you encounter Pokemon that are not normally available in-game. When a Nintendo event is active, two things will happen: First, Nintendo will send you a Wii-mail to inform you of the event, its duration, which Pokemon will be appearing, and in which dungeon. Second, when you start your game, Farfetch’d will be running around in the town square, and if you talk to him, he’ll tell you the specific floor of the dungeon where the event Pokemon can be found.

As with all wild Pokemon, the event Pokemon has a small chance of joining your party after you defeat it. If it doesn’t join the first time you encounter it, you can try again on another trip to the dungeon. The event Pokemon will continue to appear in the designated place until you recruit it, at which point the event will end, and Farfetch’d will reassume his normal post beside the Gastrodon shop. You can only complete each event once per save file, so if you recruit Mew on Chocolate Island, for example, you can’t recruit a second Mew on Chocolate Mountain.

Wonder Mail

By selecting this option, you can log onto the Nintendo server and download special missions.

The first such mission, “A Challenge From Arceus”, went live on August 20th. To complete the mission, you must travel to floor 29 of the Final Sacred Mountain / Solitary Island / Cave. The “Final” dungeon is this game’s equivalent of Purity Forest from the first game and Zero Isle from the second: Only one Pokemon can enter the dungeon, that Pokemon is temporarily reduced to level 1, and all items are deleted from the inventory upon entry. The good news is that you don’t have to do anything special to prepare for this mission, but it has its own set of challenges.

S.O.S. Mail

As in previous Dungeon games, this game allows you to interact with other players through S.O.S. Mail. If you’re knocked out in a dungeon, you have the option of sending out an S.O.S. Mail. If another team rescues you, your team will be revived, retain all of its items and money, and be permitted to continue from where you left off. There are two kinds of S.O.S. Mail, public and private. If you send a public S.O.S., your mission will be posted on the Nintendo server for anyone to take. If you send a private S.O.S., only the people on your Friends List will be able to take the request. You can also generate a password for the mission, in the event that you don’t have wi-fi.

You can accept S.O.S. Mail in the same manner, publicly, privately, or through passwords. After accepting a mission, instead of choosing Continue, choose Go Rescue. You’ll be taken to Pelipper’s Island, where you can prepare for the mission: Slowking, Kangaskhan, Kecleon, and Duskull are all there to help you. You enter the island with nothing in your inventory, and when you leave the island everything that you’re holding disappears, so make sure you stock up on items before missions and store everything before exiting.

After completing a mission, go back to the Friend Rescue menu and send an A-OK Mail to the team that you rescued. You can attach an item and a Pokemon to the letter if you’d like (the Pokemon is a clone, so don’t worry that you’re giving away your strongest fighters). If you’re on the receiving end of a rescue, remember to send a Thank You Mail to your benefactor!

Menu

Here’s a quick rundown of the in-dungeon menu:

Controls



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