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Pokémon World / Pocket World (2008)
It's always great to get new Pokémon games, but the hardcore fans among you will say that these aren't 'proper Pokémon games'. Well, they'll do for now...
GameSpy (Apr 23, 2008)
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon is a lot of fun, in that it provides countless hours of classic dungeon-crawling gameplay in an ultra-accessible, user-friendly environment. Sure, Nethack die-hards will scoff at the idea of being able to keep your experience points after failing to clear a dungeon, but there are already games out there that cater to this masochistic base. If you've wanted to play Rogue-like games in the past, but found them to be a bit too unforgiving, this is an exceedingly good alternative to look into. If you're a Pokemon fan looking for something to tide you over until the next full-fledged RPG, you may be pleasantly surprised by something altogether different than you're used to. Either way, these latest Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games are worth checking out.
GameZone (May 27, 2008)
Explorers of Time doesn’t provide the intense challenge or genuine sense of accomplishment that some of the other Mystery Dungeon titles are known for, and adult players might find the whole thing a little cutesy. Still, it’s the perfect way to introduce the next generation of roguelike fans to this obscure, hardcore, but very entertaining genre — as well as a perfectly serviceable, if a little underwhelming, addition to the DS’s growing RPG library.
Cheat Code Central (Apr, 2008)
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!
JeuxVideoPC.com (Jul 02, 2008)
Si la série Donjon Mystère se démarque de la saga principale, le fond reste assez similaire. Le système de combat est remanié, le décor change mais le titre consiste toujours à faire évoluer ses Pokémon. Reste un titre de qualité et carré. Il devrait rassasier les amateurs de donjon-RPG qui ne se décourageront pas devant l’univers des Pokémon.
RPGFan (May 15, 2008)
Triumph or train wreck, it's always interesting to see an established series take a detour and try something different. The Mystery Dungeon games are definitely a different direction for the Pokémon series, but they're more "fender bender" than they are "winning the Indy 500." There's fun to be had, and there's nothing particularly broken in the game, but there are many better games available on the DS. Those who liked the first installment will enjoy this one as well, and will appreciate the improvements brought about by the second screen, but weighing in at only 30-40 hours of mediocrity, it's probably a better rental than purchase.
Gameswelt (Aug 01, 2008)
So wirklich kann mich auch die neueste Fassung von ’Pokémon Mystery Dungeon’ nicht begeistern. Es fehlt einfach der schlichte Charme der früheren ’Pokémon’-Episoden. Die Story ist aber nicht daran schuld, die ist nämlich richtig gut. Vielmehr krankt der Titel an den katastrophal öden Dungeons, dem durchwachsenen Kampfsystem und der veralteten Technik. Wer noch nicht müde ist, Hunderte Pokémon-Wesen aufzuspüren und zu sammeln, der kann sich aber durchaus dem Rettungsteam Zeit beziehungsweise dem Rettungsteam Dunkelheit anschließen. Viel Neues darf man aber nicht erwarten.
GamePro (US) (May 02, 2008)
How hardcore is hardcore? If you like the idea of recruiting hundreds of Pokemon (including newbies from Diamond and Pearl) to a pool from which to draw your four-mon team, and can handle a flavor of hardcore this friendly and cute, then maybe pick this one up. If you played Shiren, however, you may find Pokemon to be too forgiving for your dungeon-hacking skills.
Eurogamer.net (UK) (Jul 04, 2008)
"Ironically," I concluded the last time, "it's a game that'll probably be criticised for not being the same game as before. But actually that's one of its strengths." Not any more it's not. This is exactly the same game as before, and that is its biggest weakness. If you've never played a Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game, or if you're a fully paid-up member of the cult of Pokémon, then by all means buy this game and enjoy it. But for anyone who has already played either of the last two games, you can probably safely deduct about five points from the score below and just carry on with the old ones.
Gamezone (Germany) (Jul 28, 2008)
Der Sammelaspekt tritt bei diesem Spiel auch nicht so stark hervor wie sonst, aber Pokémon-Fans könnten trotzdem auf ihre Kosten kommen. Dennoch ist es im Vergleich zu den sonst sehr starken GameBoy Auftritten der Taschenmonster als Ausrutscher zu bezeichnen. Und das auch noch als zweiter in Folge! Für den dritten Teil sollte man sich endlich wieder etwas Neues einfallen lassen und das Gameplay stark überarbeiten.
Explorers of Time does very little to expand upon the original entry into the series, and relies too heavily on the Pokémon brand. As a dungeon crawler, it succeeds in delivering a solid level-grinding experience, though it’s a bit on the easy side. As with any RPG, the narrative is crucial, and once it picks up, the story is fairly rewarding. Fanatics, or those who enjoy the grind, will find a passable experience, but for everyone else, stick with the classic Pokemon releases.
IGN (Apr 22, 2008)
But even though I believe that Pokemon Mystery Dungeon is a better Mystery Dungeon doesn't mean I think Pokemon Mystery Dungeon is a great game, because I don't. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon might have some charm in its story, but the gameplay -- while having some bouts of fun -- is still sluggishly paced, tedious, and repetitive. And even with the randomly constructed dungeons they all end up looking and feeling the same. There are two versions of this game, but it feels incredibly forced since there's almost no differences between them. It made sense in the first game in the series since Chunsoft made a GBA version and a DS version, but in the sequel there are two versions on the same system that play identically and only offer up a hidden character or two.
GameSpot (Apr 29, 2008)
In any event, one version of this Pokemon Mystery Dungeon entry should suffice. You'll get more than 20 hours of gameplay from front to back, and that doesn't include the extra hours that you'll spend leveling up or restarting after a game-over screen. There are plenty of optional missions to embark on as well, even after you've completed the story. If you found the previous Pokemon Mystery Dungeon game disappointing and would rather just catch 'em all as a Pokemon trainer, then this won't likely change your mind. Chunsoft's Mystery Dungeon formula is showing its age with jittery combat and bland dungeons, but these games still offer a decent balance of challenge, story, tactics, and Wi-Fi innovations to keep patient players entertained.
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time isn't a lazy game, it's just that the template it's based upon is far too antiquated to meet the needs of today's gaming audience, yet not enough to satisfy dungeon hack enthusiasts. Those after a traditionally challenging dungeon crawler would be better served by Chunsoft's Siren, weighing in at ten notes lighter, while those who are new to all this Pokémon lark will find hours of delight in Pokémon Diamond & Pearl, an unadulterated slice of RPG-heaven. Everyone else would be best advised to save their pennies, hoping that the inevitable third offering clears up some of the game's shortcomings. It's safe to say there's a lot of Poké-love out there, it's just a shame that Explorers of Time doesn't quite cater to it…
Cubed3 (Aug 03, 2008)
Chunsoft did a brave thing with Explorers of Darkness (and its sibling/predecessors) by attempting to meld the fun-for-everyone, gotta catch 'em all world of Pokémon with the unforgiving nature of the roguelike genre. Unfortunately, the result is a game that cannot compete with the likes of Shiren the Wanderer because it doesn't offer the same sense of accomplishment, nor does it sufficiently reward players for opting to play strategically instead of simply level-grinding. Younger players might get a kick out seeing their favourite Pokémon in a new light, but others should probably stick to 'purer' roguelikes like Shiren, or more standard RPGs like the core Pokémon titles.
Gameplayer (Australia) (Jun 12, 2008)
PMDEOT is a depressingly average Pokemon game that fails to rekindle the kleptomanic, ‘gotta-locate-and-subjugate-them-all’ antics that made the original titles so fun and addictive. Also, the game doesn’t make very good use of the DS’ capabilities and the touchscreen is used so ordinarily you’ll opt to use the D-pad instead. Not that it means much, because whichever control style you choose the gameplay will still manage to be sluggishly paced, tiresome, and repetitive. It’s a shame to say it, but this one is strictly for the ‘hardcore, hardcore’ Pokenuts only.
GameDaily (Apr 25, 2008)
No matter what we say, Pokemon fans will surely take delight in both Explorers of Darkness and Explorers of Time. However, it just feels like the same go-around we went through with the previous Mystery Dungeon games, rather than something groundbreaking.
Gamekult (Jul 07, 2008)
La formule de ce nouveau Pokémon : Donjon Mystère n'a pas changé d'un poil de Pikachu depuis Equipe de Secours Rouge et Equipe de Secours Bleue. Un scénario proche, un game design identique, des graphismes similaires et des musiques analogues. Tout au plus remarque-t-on l'ajout des monstres de la quatrième génération, soit ceux débarqués avec Pokémon Diamant et Perle. Le titre bénéficie toujours de sa durée de vie très conséquente, mais sa répétitivité et son manque d'originalité risquent d'en rebuter plus d'un malgré les petites touches d'humour. Un concept old school qui ne séduira que les joueurs motivés, voire acharnés, et qui n'ont pas eu l'occasion d'essayer le premier volet.
GamesRadar (Apr 30, 2008)
The newest Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games are perfect for players that adore Pokemon, love the grinding gameplay of dungeon crawling games, but would prefer a watered down version. If you're not one of the 37 people that meet all three of those criteria, Explorers of Darkness/Time is a rental at best. Pokemon fans are better served by playing more Diamond/Pearl while waiting for the next Pokemon Ranger game. Dungeon crawling aficionados should play Shiren the Wanderer, Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja, Etrian Odyssey, or several other games that offer deeper, better, and more challenging takes on this style of gameplay.
Pocket Gamer UK (Jun 13, 2008)
Chunsoft fanatics will probably balk at the idea of shelling out money for yet another entry in the series (especially when it's so clearly inferior to the likes of the recently published Shiren) and poké-manics will be bitterly disappointed to discover that the collecting and training aspects that make their favourite franchise so compelling are all but absent. Alas, this appears to be one craze that is dangerously close to running out of steam.
PAL Gaming Network (PALGN) (Jul 10, 2008)
Perhaps the most telling sign of the depth to be found in Explorers of Time is the marketing of the game. As is the norm with the Pokémon franchise, the separate version of the latest Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games contain a slightly different, yet minuscule range of exclusive Pokémon available for enlisting in your exploration team. Of course, this negligible exclusivity has already been made all for naught by community discoveries. Choosing one version of the game over the other should therefore be as contemplative as deciding which cover art is the more attractive. And Explorers of Time does have a timid Turtwig on the front, after all. Just don't be expecting anything more than the endearing pictures within.
NintendoWorldReport (May 19, 2008)
James, I think I speak for us both when I say that Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Explorers of Darkness will only appeal to Pokémaniacs who enjoy incredibly repetitive gameplay, practically GBA-level graphics and sound, and computer partner A.I. that’s so dumb you’ll want to stab yourself in the eye. If you don’t count yourself among this select group, you’ll want to spend the twenty hours that James and I can never get back on something more rewarding!
1UP (Jun 04, 2008)
If you want a good dungeon crawl, play the punishing-but-oh-so-satisfying Shiren the Wanderer. If you just want to collect 500 cute little guys and power-level the hell out of them, you can't go wrong with Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. Just be sure to keep them separate. Sometimes, a team-up really is less than the sum of its parts.
Gaming Age (May 23, 2008)
The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games definitely have an audience. If you liked the last ones in the series or have an affinity to other dungeon-crawling games you will probably find enjoyment here. It takes a certain kind of person to really enjoy these types of games, and unfortunately I'm not one of them. I do love RPGs, some of my favorites are Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and Chrono Trigger. The Pokémon games have always been fun and addicting as well, but these two games definitely play differently from the Pokémon we all grew to love. Bottom line for Pokémon fans is: try before you buy. You'll either love it or hate it