Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness

Common Sense Media says

Become a Pokemon and explore random dungeons.

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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).

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

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

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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 (Nintendo DS)

This review of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byUxie Trixie Usa... May 1, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

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. That being said, this story is complex and more violent then GameFreak (or Nintendo) has done to Pokemon before, I don't understand why the game ranking people gave Pokemon Rumble E10 but this (and the older mystery dungeon games and also ones yet come, most likely) snuck though with an E, you have to save a baby kidnapped by an implied pedophile (it's not an optional sidequest, it's actually quite plot-relevent), here some of the enemies want to kill you and your partner, there's an insane god, you're actually an amnesiac terrorist, and you fade into nothingness as the partner watches. But the partner, Wigglytuff, and the rest of guild are all great role models, the partner is so kind and sweet that it's actually an important plot point, and forgiveness is something that there's a large emphasis on. But this is still really scary at times. You might want to read a summary of the plot first, just to get a good picture of the game, though.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Kid, 11 years old August 27, 2011
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

perfect for all ages

not bad at all all it has is litte pokemon battling. it also has great rolle models. great for any age!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written bypuppylover 101 July 10, 2009
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

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 third mission is just a little noob-shire battle and a bunch of talking On-Topic: Best Game of the year its like Heaven on a D.S. And for 30 Dolloers its a Buy for yuor kids and even girls play this!!!!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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