Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness

Game review by
Erin Bell, Common Sense Media
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness Game Poster Image
Become a Pokemon and explore random dungeons.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

You are a human who has been transformed into a Pokemon, and while solving the mystery of your transformation, you also go on quests to do good things.

Violence & Scariness

Cartoon violence depicting very basic attacks (essentially, one pokemon moves into the other).


Pokemon is a well-established franchise that includes video games, playing cards, clothing, plush toys and other merchandise.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this game features plenty of combat by pitting the Pokemon on the player's team against various renegade Pokemon. Conflict isn't graphic, and the Pokemon retain well-known special moves from other Pokemon games, like Bulbasaur's Leech Seed move – so, a prior knowledge of the Pokemon universe is an asset. Through Wi-Fi, you can "rescue" fallen friends and exchange items and Pokemon teams with another player. You can choose to connect with either friends that you've exchanged friend codes with, or "anyone." You can write personalized messages to friends, but can only send pre-written stock messages to recipients marked "anyone." A second version of the game, subtitled EXPLORERS OF TIME, is virtually the same experience with a handful of different Pokemon and items.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byGirlLegend6 May 9, 2015

Great messages!

This game is all about adventure, friendship, and teamwork, all while you interact with your favorite Pokémon! It will teach kids to try their best, and to be a... Continue reading
Adult Written bySpoonfullofpasta April 18, 2009

Worst Pokemon Game

I am a huge fan of pokemon,but tis game is completely horrible. First of all, i still can't beat the third level of it (and im good at video games in gener... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byUxie Trixie Usa... May 1, 2013

They weren't kidding when they named it "Darkness"

I don't think this is a good game for little kids, but it's great play if you don't get scared easily, love good plots, and are a decent gamer. T... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bypuppylover 101 July 10, 2009

Good for all!!!

Spoonfullofpasta Seems like you dont know the controls and you might not know how to play this wonderfully made game. To go fast while moving press b and the th... Continue reading

What's it about?

After the rather shaky Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team, the follow-up POKEMON MYSTERY DUNGEON: EXPLORERS OF DARKNESS boasts more depth. The game is another attempt to graft a Pokemon theme onto the format of the long-running Mystery Dungeon series, unique for its randomly-generated dungeons (maze-type environments) and harsh penalties for defeat. A second version of the game, subtitled EXPLORERS OF TIME, is virtually the same experience with a handful of different Pokemon and items.

In a twist, you're actually a human who wakes up transformed into a Pokemon and with amnesia. You then select a companion from another set of Pokemon, who will trail behind you and attack automatically. You join an adventurer's guild, earning fame and fortune exploring mystery dungeons while also investigating the mystery of the human's identity and the reason for strange rifts in time that are occurring.

Is it any good?

Explorers of Darkness is heavier on role-play than simply random exploration. Basic gameplay consists of taking on quests at the guild, such as exploring dungeons to hunt down outlaw Pokemon or find missing Pokemon or items. There are also scripted events that occur regularly as your party advances in guild rank. Also, you don't necessarily have to make it to the end of a dungeon to win but can warp back to the guild after completing a mission. Through Wi-Fi you can "rescue" fallen friends and exchange items and Pokemon teams with another player.

Still, the game is still super-frustrating if your party gets defeated – and it will happen a lot. Not only will you lose all gold and some of your items, but any quest you had completed (without warping back immediately) will be reset for you to do all over again. It's this harshness that takes some of the fun out of Explorers of Darkness. Also, you'll have to endure the same unskippable eating and sleeping cutscenes each day, and production values still more closely resemble a Game Boy Advance game than a Nintendo DS title.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the random dungeon format is different from typically linear Point A-to-Point B experience of past Pokemon games. Which format do players prefer?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS
  • Price: $34.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release date: April 20, 2008
  • Genre: Role-Playing
  • ESRB rating: E for Mild Cartoon Violence
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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