Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time

Common Sense Media says

Experience what it is like to be a Pokemon.





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).

Not applicable

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 Darkness, 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 TIME 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 Darkness, 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 Time 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 Time. 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 why would release two versions of same game. When you own both, you can find over 490 Pokemon. Is that enough to motivate you to own both, even though the gameplay is almost identical? Do you like the random dungeon format versus the typical linear Point A-to-Point B experience of past Pokemon games. Which format do players prefer?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo DS
Available online?Not available online
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 Time was written by

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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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, okay 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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Kid, 7 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Kid, 9 years old February 2, 2010


I adored this game! And I have been reading this reviews, and what NO ONE seems to notice is how deep the storyline is. The hero leaves the partner for a while, and its just too sad. BUT YAY SAD STORYLINES MAKE ME HAPPY! :D (that sounded akward) Anyways, its a very dramatic storyline, but a wonderful game
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old November 13, 2009

Great Game! May be a Little Scary for Younger Players.

I was really surprised when I started this game. It grabs you in from the start, starting with you being transformed into a pokemon. And just a little while after, you and your friend are on a quest to get back a stolen Relic Fragment! Its a great start, and a great game. Its very emotional, and suspenseful. However, it can be hard to get past certain points in the game. The only element of violence and scariness is: 1. You posses a special ability to see things in the past or future-- your first experience is hearing a piercing cry for help, which is foreboding and may be frightening. 2. Your friend gets kidnapped and threatened, and you must save him. 3. You get threatened by many pokemon, such as Luxray, who is leader of the Luxio Tribe, and many other more intense threats. 4. On an expedition, you are sent to explore Fogbound lake. A scary legendary pokemon tries to fight you. To progress you must beat it. 5. The first half of the game centers around catching Grovyle, a pokemon who is stealing the Time Gears, which keep time running. If he succeds in finding all of them, he will stop time (Which isn't a great thought) 6. At one point you, you're friend, and a villan are tied up to stone pillars, and you have no idea why. A character you trusted before is planning to "get rid of you" in other words, kill you. You and your friend don't know why, and the then the Sableye attack you (They use claws, and you can see the claws slash against the ropes. It is clear their aim is to claw you to death). However, it ends well when the rope breaks and you all escape. 8. It is later revealed that all pokemon from a certain time will "disappear" (In other words, die) from the Earth if an important task to save time is completed. You, the main characer, are one of them. You choose to complete the task anyways, and one of your close friends disappears, as well as you, and your other friend is visibly in tears. Afterwards, Dialga brings you back to the Earth because he can't bear to see your friend so sad. There's more to the story after that. I just reached a part where another character tries to make you "disappear". But all through the game, the word, "dissappear" is used, and no mention of death other than "get rid of". I loved it. Its a great, everlasting story of courage, sacrifice, emotion. I am still playing it to this day.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models


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