As part of my ongoing effort to get fired for being a completely useless vestigial appendage at 1UP, I’ve reviewed Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time & Darkness, sort of. Mostly this write-up is a discussion of how the fundamental concepts of “Pokémon” and “Mystery Dungeon” make for an uneasy combination that Chun Soft never quite reconciles. I almost briefly touch on the game mechanics, but not really. Join us next week when I critique Metal Gear Solid 4 in the context of its groundbreaking work in empowering the elderly and never actually mention how it plays.
Not that Pokémon fans care what I have to say anyway. They’re all waving their hands (claws) in the air, blowing carefree bubbles. Or something. Still, my advice would be not to pick up this game unless you absolutely have to own everything related to this curiously enduring children’s franchise. (Or, less likely, if you are obsessed with roguelikes.) If you would like a good introduction to the roguelike niche, I’d say hold out for Izuna 2 or Chocobo’s Dungeon, both arriving next month. When did roguelikes get so popular, anyway? Or are they really not popular and publishers are simply deluding themselves in hoping they will be? It is a mystery. (Dungeon.)
In other news of dungeon crawling, we’ve also posted an interview with the director of Etrian Odyssey II. My name is on this, but Andrew Fitch also threw in several questions on the second page. In any case, it is about as good as you can expect for an interview conducted by email with someone who speaks a different language and lives in a different culture. Apparently the game arrives next week (!), having been pushed forward a bit in the confidence that it will seriously crush MGS4. Man, is Konami in for a nasty surprise.
Edit: OK, someone lied to me. Etrian II ships a week later. Lucky break for Konami if there was one. Guess they’ll be able to make that first-day million sales target after all.