The Mystery Dungeon series of games have a long running history in Japan and even here in the US, too! Also called Rogue-likes (because they’re a lot like an old PC title by the same name), these games have you exploring randomly generated dungeon mazes with tricks, traps, and enemies every step of the way. It’s your job to nab as many useful treasures as you can and make it to the exit alive so you can keep your stash. Many Mystery Dungeon titles use popular characters from other games, like Torneko and Yangus from Dragon Quest, Pokemon, and even an old Namco arcade game called The Tower of Druaga! My brother Jeff loved The Nightmare of Druaga so much as a kid that he even asked for a birthday cake of it (I do have a picture of that). So since Jeff loves Mystery Dungeon games AND Pokemon, I thought he’d be a perfect fit for this review.
The latest in the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series, Gates to Infinity once again has the player exploring dungeons with their favorite Pokemon. The game starts with the player choosing from a list of Pokemon to play to help out the troubled Pokemon world. After meeting their chosen companion, the player sets off to help their newfound friend create their perfect paradise on the land they just bought. To find supplies and other friends to help in their adventures the player must venture into town and several “mystery dungeons” and face the wrongs of the world caused by an evil force the player felt before he came to this world.
The “mystery dungeons” are mystical dungeons with floors of mazes that change with every visit. Exploring these dungeons plays the same as just about any Mystery Dungeon game, with almost turn-based movements on a grid and simple combat. Easy to pick up and play, this game is great for all ages but may lack the difficulty some more experienced players may desire.
The 3D graphics work really well and makes the game a bit more immersive but it was still fine played on the 2D setting as well. The game also uses StreetPass as a way for players to help each other if they are defeated. “Reviver Seeds” placed in the Passerby Post are used by downed players that are also using StreetPass. You can also use the camera on the 3DS to find new mystery dungeons by taking pictures of round shapes. –Jeff Orth
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Cartoon Violence. While you do battle Pokemon in turn based fashion, the only indicator of damage taken is the Pokemon will blink, or there might be an explosion or other basic animation. Reading skill is a must, and while the Pokemon Mystery Dungeons tend to be easier than others in the series, the game is still challenging enough that it’s probably best for older kid gamers who have already mastered the ways of the regular Pokemon titles. (Kid Factor by Cary Woodham)
PS: Here’s a picture of Jeff’s Tower of Druaga cake he had as a kid: