Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Sky Explorers

I love a good roguelike. And I definitely love Mystery Dungeon Games. For those who don’t know, the Mystery Dungeon moniker is actually its own meta-franchise. I address this point in my review of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DXa remake of the first generation in the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon derivative series.

The second part of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon (PMD) the series came in pairs, much like the main franchise Pokemon securities. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness were released in North America for the Nintendo DS in 2008. Additionally, like many franchise titles, this PMARYLAND slice received a third game. Similar to Yellow, emeraldWhere Platinum in the main line Pokemon series, this third Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers The game brought together aspects of the previous two while adding its own charm to form a semi-definitive wrap-up experience. This game, released at the end of 2009, is Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Sky Explorers.

Coming into this experience 13 years late gave me a unique perspective on this title, especially after playing the polished DX Rescue Team for Nintendo Switch. In his heart, sky explorers is very similar to its original counterparts. To that end, I refer readers to John Tucker’s 2008 review of Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness, as it captures so much of the game experience, and I agree with most of John’s opinions on this. I particularly agree with its high graphics score. The artistic style has aged well and the attention to detail cannot be overlooked. Whether on DS or on the Wii U Virtual Console, the second generation of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon looks great.

I would pay top dollar for a framed poster of this and many other unique art assets to this game.

sky explorers stands out for improvements and bonus content. For starters, even though no soundtrack was ever released for these games, sky explorers features an unlockable sound test menu where players are free to listen to the entire soundtrack at their leisure. That’s over 100 songs! Players can now enjoy music even more. As for the quality of the music itself, I must mention 8-Bit Music Theory video showcasing the use of leitmotif in these games. The main idea of ​​this video essay is that there are three related patterns that we can think of as “Time”, “Darkness” and “Sky” patterns. Playing the game and listening carefully throughout makes the experience of playing this game more and more interesting.

The biggest additions to Explorers of Sky are five standalone “Special Episodes” unlocked during the main game. You can access it by saving the game, returning to the title screen, and choosing to play the special episode from a separate menu. Special Episodes start the player at a set level with virtually no inventory unless you reach a Kangaskhan Statue. These allow players to pull items from their main game’s Kangaskhan storage.

The story and character development in these special episodes justifies the significant increase in my story subscore from that of John Tucker’s review on time and darkness. Some players may consider one or more of these stories disposable. Still, I doubt anyone can deny that Episode 2 (focusing on Guildmaster Wigglytuff’s origin story) and Episode 5 (too spoiler-worthy for me to even describe) are irrelevant or badly written. These stories flesh out the experience wonderfully and bring so much personality to the Pokemon characters in the game that I feel like the main story is pretty much incomplete without these excellent additional materials.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Sky Explorers screenshot showing Igglybuff very excited about a secret base in a singing voice.
Before he was the mighty, eccentric leader of his own Explorers Guild, he was an eccentric little Igglybuff looking for adventure.

The post-match experience, like many Mystery Dungeon games, is packed with content that is arguably more fun and expansive than the main storyline. Unlike my experience with DXI found sky explorers challenging from start to finish and beyond. That said, sky explorers offers less punishment for failure than time and darknessand it contains more post-game content (such as Shaymin’s Village) with more items, skills, and features to make conquering the full post-game more manageable.

Whether you are interested in this game because you like either Pokemon Where Mystery Dungeon-roguelike style, sky explorers is a great way to scratch that itch. Access to this game, however, is an issue as of 2022. Copies of the original DS cartridge are prohibitively expensive, regularly exceeding $100 (USD) for used copies in good condition. Also, while it was listed for Wii U Virtual Console, all purchase features stopped working as of August 2022. If you have already purchased this game for Wii U VC, you may want to boot up your console and make sure you have downloaded it, as digital download services from the Wii U eShop will completely cease in March 2023. Fans have speculated that Wii U Virtual Console titles could be brought to Nintendo Switch, but there is no guarantee. Even though some DS ports are made available on Switch, sky explorers may or may not make the cut. So, if you want to soar to the sky from this unique Pokemon title, your best options now are to pay big bucks for a used copy or hope for another port in the near future!