So do you all remember when the Pikachu 3DSes started appearing in the wild on March 24th? I managed to catch one through diligence, timing and, well, mostly sheer luck that a Toys R Us worker was opening a box of them the moment I walked in. (Nintendo trolled the stores, only sending them 3-4 copies each!) There was also a game sale, thus I also acquired the freshly released Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity.
It was probably my best impulse buy, ever.
The Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series has been going strong since 2005. This is the 9th installment and first of the series to launch on the 3DS. The addition of three-dimensional graphics to the game has given it some seriously stunning visuals. The colors are delightful– very easy on the eyes! The Pokemon are beautifully rendered and now show their reactions on the screen and not just via avatar square. But what really hooked me was the storyline. The dialogue is fresh and meaningful enough to appeal to all ages in the Pokemon fandom. It may even hit a little close to home when they start going on about the sorry state of the world and its Poke-citizens. For a kid’s game, it gets pretty deep.
You are magically transformed into a Pokemon (you can choose between Pikachu, Oshawatt, Snivy, Tepig and Axew) and, for reasons, you fall into the Pokemon world. But the despite the happy-go-lucky cuteness and colors, you soon discover that darkness lurks. It seems that the Pokemon world has become riddled with hostility, strife and deceit. Here is a direct quote from Gurdurr:
“This world we live in… it’s all about who’s doing the lying and who’s being lied to. Honest folks just look like fools. In a world like this, you’re the ones who get blamed for being tricked.”
Like I said. Deep, man. At least they are honest with the kids, right?
Frustrated by it all, your newly introduced bff (Oshawott for me) asks you to help him build “Paradise” so his friends can have a safe, peaceful place to live and play in. You’ll find he’s a very noble little fellow who probably won’t manage get on your nerves. You are introduced to other Pokemon (mostly 5th generation) who will join your cause and assist you in your adventures.
When you aren’t dungeon crawling for glory and prizes, the game has a sort of Animal Crossing feel to it, giving you a sense of pride as you slowly improve your Pokemon Paradise.
Gates to Infinity isn’t terribly difficult overall, but there are some noticeable challenges later on that you may find frustrating. There are extra dungeons that can be downloaded from Nintendo for a small fee, too. Multiplayer options are there, but pretty limited. You can team up with another player, but that person must have a copy of the game and be in the same place as you.
All in all, I have found the game to be engrossing, endearing and oddly entertaining. If you are a Pokemon fan, especially a Mystery Dungeon player, this is not a game you should miss. You will get your money’s worth and hours upon hours of mobile entertainment.
Also, here is a ridiculously adorable animated trailer of the game!