|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Chunsoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: April 20, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Despite the phenomenal connectivity, there is still no co-op gameplay like we thought there would be. What's up with that? How difficult could it be to reward players with multiplayer support? Thankfully, Friend Rescues are still pretty cool. Rescues turn out to be absolutely crucial in Explorers.
If you should fall in battle, which will happen frequently as the game is quite challenging, you can call upon the power of a distress call. By sending out a Friend Rescue you are asking someone to come and find you mid-dungeon and resurrect your character. Why not just accept failure? Because you'll have to start the dungeon from scratch while losing all your hard-earned funds and nearly all the important items you found. This is simply an unacceptable situation, especially in the later levels. It will most likely cost you a pretty Gummi to get strangers from forums to come bail you out. As a result, look for Friend Rescues to drive this title. In addition, you can also exchange teams for Marowak Dojo workouts as well as send and receive Wonder Mail. Wonder Mail simply allows players to exchange jobs for a friend to beat.
Visuals are somewhat improved over Blue Rescue Team. They are still very simplistic, yet they're more vibrant and engaging. The Pokémon are very well depicted, especially in PiP close-ups. The environments, including Treasure Town, the Guild quarters, the world map, and the dungeons are all very pleasing to the eye. An additional treat are the upbeat and catchy tunes that change with every new dungeon and section of town. The sounds of the rain, the ocean, and the effects that accompany plot changes are pleasant and appropriate.
Disappointingly, controls have not been improved over the last iteration. Don't get me wrong; the controls are decent, but by no means are they great. The stylus-based controls are actually foiled by the markedly more efficient D-pad / button scheme. The only caveat to this is the diagonal attacks. It's a lot easier to whip out a double tap with the stylus to attack a foe on the diagonal. All in all, the technical presentation is good and will satisfy the faithful.
When it's all said and done, this is a very good game that I expect will fly off the shelves. That being said, the dungeon crawl mechanic is monotonous, and there isn't enough new material to warrant purchasing the game if you already own Blue Rescue Team. I know that those words will fall on deaf-Pokémon-fan-ears, but I had to slip it in there anyway. Personally, I would demand a lot more innovation before spending my hobby cash on something I already own, but I guess the inclusion of 490 Pokémon spanning all the way through fourth generation is enough to satisfy the masses.
Don't worry too much about which copy of Explorers you get. The only real difference between the two is the Pokémon exclusivity: Mewtwo is in Darkness and Celebi is in Time. If you have never played the Mystery Dungeon series or are a fan of Pokémon, then know that Mystery Dungeon Explorers of Time / Darkness is a complex and challenging dungeon crawler that has a lot to offer. Even though the dungeon crawling aspect is very repetitive, the connectivity features, the vast number and variety of Pokémon, Wonder Mail, hours of gameplay, difficulty, etc. makes this pure kiddy-crack!
CCC Lead Contributor / News Director