A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while this is a Pokemon game, it doesn't offer the polish, quality, and depth of gameplay fans have come to expect from the Pokemon series. Instead of finding, raising, and training a Pokemon from scratch, and then earning more Pokemon, this game is about combat and exploration only. One nice thing: For the first time, young gamers can play as a Pokemon. However, that novelty is not enough to overcome the repetitive gameplay. And while the game generates random game environments to explore, the game quickly became tedious.
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What's it about?
POKEMON MYSTERY DUNGEON: RED RESCUE TEAM comes from ChunSoft and is basically a Pokemon-themed version of their long-running series of Mystery Dungeon games.
The game begins by having players answer a series of questions to determine what kind of Pokemon monster they will become. From there, the task is to search the virtual world for fellow Pokemon to challenge, befriend, and then take with you to clear countless and randomly generated dungeons. The dungeons make up the play world of this game and they are filled with treasures to collect and monsters to defeat. The combat is turn-based and not very tactical, although players can link moves in one turn. The objective is to make it through a dungeon by finding the staircase to the next dungeon.
Is it any good?
Pokemon is still a gaming phenomenon, despite the fact that it's been around for over a decade now. The reasons for this longevity are simple: solid gameplay and a hook that's irresistible to most children: once you start, you "Gotta catch them all!" Regardless of this marketing ploy, the Pokemon games (both card and video games) have generally been superb -- until now.
This newest episode, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team, seems contrived. The developers have crammed the Pocket Monsters into a game environment that's not a good fit for them. While the action is nonstop and the random generation of the dungeon's configuration offer lots of replayability, the challenge is low. Playing through the game becomes a chore rather than a joy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it's like to play the role of a battling Pokemon monster. Which Pokemon do they like to be? What is it like to find and recruit friends, solve puzzles, conquer dungeons, and save the day in a magical pretend world? Do you like this format as much as the earlier Pokemon games?
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