Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky
Explorers of the Sky proves one thing: Pokemon's a fantastic classic RPG, but it still doesn't work as a dungeon crawler.
- Interesting-yet-hokey stories, tonnes of Pokemon, gorgeous graphics...
- ...until you get to the dungeons (which are bland, confusing, and maddeningly repetitive)
Seriously, it's like slaving through the dungeons in Legend of Zelda, except all the levels look exactly the same and you don't know where anything is.
Price$ 69.95 (AUD)
When it comes to video games, spin-offs are almost never as good as the original material. Pokemon, on the other hand, has actually been pretty damn lucky with the polish and high-quality gameplay of titles like Pokemon Snap, Pokemon Puzzle League and the lesser-known Pokemon Trading Card Game for the Game Boy Advance. Heck, even the Pokemon Ranger series isn't all that bad. That's why I continue to be surprised at the lackluster Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series, the Jan Brady of the Pokemon Family. It's not as successful as the rest of its siblings, and any fan can tell it tries really hard to stand out. Maybe one day, it'll grow into its place, but Explorers of Sky is just a reminder that day hasn't come yet.
For people who don't know, Mystery Dungeon is the series with the following plot: "I've lost my memory and turned into a Pokemon!" Moreover, Explorers of the Sky is the remake of the second round of games in this series, Explorers of Time & Darkness. After you take an introductory personality test to determine what Pokemon you'll awaken as, you begin a journey as part of a Pokemon guild, which is exactly what it sounds like: you embark on epic adventures to help fellow Pokemon, seek out treasures, and battle other Pocket Monster trouble makers over hours and hours of semi-addictive dungeon crawling. People make a lot of comparisons between this and Shiren: The Wanderer, but I prefer to think of it as Final Fantasy XII's Monster Hunts -- with Pikachus instead of Chocobos. But the question is, as a Pokemon fan, is Explorers of Sky even worth your time?
Well, that depends on the type of Pokemon fan you are. Explorers of Sky does bring a few new game elements into play that weren't present in the last two titles, like new starter types, a bigger roster of playable Pokemon, more plotlines involving different characters, tweaked difficulty, and adjusted gameplay rules (for example, you no longer lose all your loot if you crash and burn in a dungeon romp). But in the end, these are all minor improvements and add-ons that don't address the real problem of Mystery Dungeon -- it's just not a compelling dungeon experience. In fact, the main problem I had with the last few Mystery Dungeons is that the core gimmick -- the actual dungeons -- are the worst part of the game. If you're the kind of player that draws Pokemon fan art and prints out the characters on computer paper for your scrapbooks, I'm sure that you're probably not going to mind the bland dungeons, cookie-cutter missions and repetitive combat.
For what it's worth, I actually really like the concept of being able to recruit so many different types of Pokemon, micro-managing their movesets, and assigning stylized teams to tackle certain missions. That alone just barely echoes the appeal of customizing your own Pokemon Team in D/P and Platinum, but it's still not as good as the real deal. If only you didn't have to send in extra teams to rescue your fallen comrades (it's easier to just restart the game), I'd definitely enjoy the dungeons a lot more.
However, if you're the Pokemon fan who mainly dabbles in the core series, Explorers of Sky will frustrate and annoy you enough that you won't care how interesting the main story arc gets. Usually, I can get through 10 to 15 hours of a Mystery Dungeon title before it loses my interest. Explorers of Sky did that in less than six. If you own Explorers of Darkness/Time, you're probably better off saving your cash for Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver, which I'm sure is going to be freaking awesome. But don't worry, Jan: I'm sure you'll get better at this when you're just a little bit older.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 2 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 3 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 4 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 5 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Watch us play Vanquish on PC
- Tannenberg expands Verdun's World War I horrors to the Eastern front
- MSI Wins Computex Best Choice Award 2017 for a Record-Breaking 5 Products
- Destiny 2: The 5 key things PC gamers need to know
- The Windows 10 Game Bar: What PC gamers need to know
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- FTLearning & Development Consultant, Wealth ManagementNSW
- FTData Analyst/ Reporting AnalystQLD
- CCWintel Server EngineerNSW
- FTSystems EngineerNSW
- CCSQL Analyst DeveloperNSW
- FTScrum Master - TechnicalNSW
- TPWeb Developer - Front End focusQLD
- TPSenior Project Manager - Digital Application CX TransformationNSW
- FTx3 Field EngineersVIC
- FTGraphics Designer / UI DesignerQLD
- FTChange ManagerQLD
- FT.Net DeveloperNSW
- CCTesting Manager - Energy sectorVIC
- CCJava DeveloperACT
- FTSolution ArchitectNSW
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- CCState-wide Business Transition Lead - BrisbaneVIC
- CCFront End DeveloperNSW
- FTDealing Room Support Analyst - IPC voiceNSW
- FTAutomation Anywhere/Robotics EngineerQLD
- CCXML DeveloperVIC
- TPTechnical Business AnalystQLD
- FTAccounts and Office AdministratorNSW
- CCSenior Business Analyst (Data Analytics & Systems) - Contract - SydneyNSW