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About the product
- Be a Pokémon and experience the world in a whole different way. Enter into a spectacular adventure to save the Pokémon world.
- Uncover new adventures in the immersive Pokémon Mystery Dungeon storyline by playing new Special Episodes.
- Play as one of 19 different Pokémon (including five additional starter Pokémon). Find out which one you will become. Interact with more than 490 Pokémon as you explore.
- Trade items with your friends via a local wireless connection. Also, you can trade with Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness and see what happens.
- With a wireless broadband Internet connection, access Special Missions or rescue fallen friends over Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
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Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky is the newest installment in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon video game series. The game expands on the fun found in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness. Players become a Pokémon and team up with a partner Pokémon. Together the two set out on an adventure of exploration and discovery, ultimately saving the world from destruction. With additional Pokémon to become, new "Special Episodes" and enhanced communication features, this is a grand adventure with a moving story and stunning finale. This game is a great starting point for players to enter the world of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon and for returning players to discover even more secrets.
Continue the adventure of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series in an exciting new game that builds on the fun of Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness. In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky, you'll have the chance to become a Pokémon and team up with an additional Pokémon to confront thrilling new challenges. Will your efforts be enough to save the entire world from destruction?
Key Game Features:
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Now, first and foremost: what's different between this game and Explorers of Time/Darkness?
"Explorers of Sky" is what a fan would call a "third version game": it's essentially the same game as Explorers of Time/Darkness, but included within are some extensions to the gameplay and the story. Like the previous games, you begin by answering a series of questions that will determine which Pokemon you'll play as, and then you'll pick a partner. They've added a few more characters to play as in this game: Riolu, Vulpix, Phanphy, and Shinx, with the re-inclusion of Eevee. After that, you begin your adventure -- and that's where the story kicks in.
Here's the rundown: over Time/Darkness, Explorers of the Sky extends the game in the following ways:
> It has about a half dozen new dungeons to explore.
> It has included new locations such as Spinda's Juice Bar, Wynaut's Recycle Shop, and the Secret Bazaar, not to mention a few secrets here and there, all which become accessible as you play the main game.
> It has introduced a few new items, including the ever-amusing "Look-a-like" items. Watch out for Reviser Seeds!
> Some communication extensions, but it's probably not worth mentioning. Really, there's not enough to talk about.
> The good stuff: this game provides five "special" episodes, which become accessible through the main menu screen, and a couple additional "after-credits" side-episodes.
> The Sky Jukebox, which allows you to access the many, MANY awesome tunes this game provides.
> Finally, a few tweaks to the graphics and dialogue, a couple of gameplay changes, and a revamp on the explorer ranking system (there are different degrees of Master Rank now).
So, that's the basic list of upgrades from Time/Darkness. Now, a few categorized details about the game itself:
This is by far the biggest promotion point in playing this game. The story is long, epic, engaging, and thought-provoking - and it's surprisingly lacking in the common clichés that tend to crop up in video games/movies. This game heralds the most in-depth plot of all Pokemon games to date, and it's almost a shame that Nintendo wouldn't make this game into a full spin-off anime series.
Now, the main story is essentially the same from Time/Darkness. The special episodes are the key differences from the previous games. Depending on how much you "care" about the characters and the Mystery Dungeon universe, you may or may not be satisfied with these additions. Regardless, all of these episodes are unlocked as you play through the main game, and you can access them through the main menu: therefore, you can play them at any time.
There are five total:
> You've got "Bidoof's Wish," which, according to a certain IGN reviewer, is about "Bidoof's self-esteem issues." It's a cute story, but depending how much you actually care about Bidoof, who is after all a minor character, you may find this episode a bit of an unnecessary annoyance.
> You'll eventually get "Igglybuff the Prodigy," which relates Guildmaster Wigglytuff's humble beginnings. Again, it depends on how much you care about the Guildmaster as a character - which may be a bit easier, since Guildmaster Wigglytuff is AWESOME. Enough said.
> Soon comes the episode "Today's `Oh-My-Gosh'," featuring Sunflora. Just like the previous two, your enjoyment lingers on what you think of Sunflora as a character. Now, I don't about Sunflora as a character, but I can say that she's pretty terrible in surviving any of this episode's dungeons. Seriously, this may be my least favorite special episode, because Sunflora's moves and stats make the game frustratingly difficult. Especially since the dungeons are mostly fire-based.
> "Here Comes Team Charm!" I love this episode because, for some reason, Team Charm makes me think of a Pokemon-version of Charlie's Angels. Can't beat that theme music either--kind of like a super-cool, super-agent sort of theme, like Austin Powers.
> "In the Future of Darkness" is by far the best episode, because obviously you veterans of Time/Darkness want to know what happened to Grovyle in the previous game. Well, don't you? Of course you do. It's very satisfying, and that's all I'll say.
---Game Play / Difficulty-----
The gameplay is either strangely addicting...or boring, depending on what sort of temperament you have as a gamer. Basically, you seek to get your team through a "dungeon" of a certain number of floors. Each floor requires you to explore the area until you reach a randomly-located staircase. Once you reach the staircase, you move on to the next floor. Once you've cleared the last floor, you've cleared the dungeon.
Now, here's the "Mystery" in Mystery Dungeon's gameplay: each floor is randomly generated, with different items, enemy Pokemon, and landscape. You'll never see the exact dungeon floor twice. Now, there's more to it, but you'll have to explore and discover it on your own. Things like missions, item-collection, recruiting Pokemon - that'll all be explained as you play the game.
Now, the "Difficulty" in this game is more like the "Frustration Level" if anything. Sometimes, the going is easy: you begin the floor with the stairs randomly generated...right next to you! Sometimes, the going is moderate: okay, you never seem to get a break, and you find yourself covering the entire floor and exploring every nook and cranny until, after exhausting all options, you FINALLY stumble upon the staircase. Sometimes it's pretty hard: your team steps into trap after trap, you keep running into those ever-challenging Monster Houses, AND you can't seem to ever find the staircase!
Finally, it's difficult to the unfair degree: your team gets knocked out by these measly, supposedly low-level multiple attacks, such as Fury Attack; you keep getting hit by wide-range attacks (like Earth Power) when you're nowhere near the enemy; or, my personal favorite, your mission-based client simply steps into an unseen Pitfall Trap, which is an instant fail.
And I tell you: getting knocked out by a Fury Attack is pathetic. Or, reaching the 99th floor of a 100-floor dungeon, with no checkpoints, just to get knocked out by a stray, one-hit Fissure Attack - which means you have to start all over again. Yep. You'll have your moments in this game.
Because this is essentially what the gameplay consists of, many gamers tend to dismiss the Mystery Dungeon series, calling it "boring and monotonous" or "difficult in a bad way." Regardless, you can come to enjoy this gameplay, if you have the patience. In fact, it can be strangely relaxing and soothing to the mind...that is, until you get hit by a Fury Attack. Then it's all sweat and tears.
The graphics are fairly simplistic, and you're treated to a few pretty cutscenes. Outsides of the dungeons have colors and contours appropriate to the style and feel of PMD - it's kid-friendly, and cheery for all gamers. These graphics match well to the design of this game, and the character portraits do a good job in establishing their personalities.
The insides of the dungeons range from passable to bland, and as a result, many of the dungeons tend to look the same visually, despite the fact that each floor is randomly generated. You'd be hard-pressed distinguishing Crevice Cave from Waterfall Cave from Star Cave if it weren't for the items and foe Pokemon. Seriously, I swear some of the dungeons were merely pallete-swapped during design.
Several complaints people have made about the graphics entail the game's supposed "GBA"-quality - without taking advantage of the DS's pixel capabilities. Some have even compared it to the standards of the Game Boy Color, which, frankly, is completely ridiculous.
But you know what, gamers? Graphics aren't everything. Seriously - just look at Pokemon Red/Blue.
I cannot stress this enough: the music is gorgeous. Some tunes I feel surpass even those from the main Pokemon games. The music greatly enhances the effect of an already wonderful story; and it helps in illustrating dungeons, more than making up for any graphical blandness. Waterfall Cave has a serene, mystical quality; Steam Cave is tense and under pressure; Temporal Tower and the Hidden Land captivates your imagination. And who can resist that bumbling, jolly tune that embodies good ol' Guildmaster Wigglytuff?
Sometimes I find myself absentmindedly humming these tunes--and that says a lot about a game's music.
The sound effects themselves are nothing special, and some are flat-out odd (the SFX for "stomach growling," for instance...yeah, it's weird), but overall it doesn't detract from the game.
Backwards compatibility with Explorers of Time/Darkness is VERY limited. The compatibility is called "Wonder Mail S" in this game, and it presents even longer mission passwords than Time/Darkness - and those passwords were LONG. Ugh.
You can trade items with Time/Darkness, but missions are restricted to other Sky users, which is rather unfortunate. You can still download missions from the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon website, which is pretty cool.
Oh, and you can send a demo of dungeon gameplay to your friends - big whoop. Overall, the communications of this game are nothing too special.
First off: if you enjoy BOTH the dungeon-crawling gameplay and the story, then this game will be an instant classic in your eyes - the music and graphics are fortunate side-effects. You (or your kid) will remember this game many years to come, and will look back upon it with nostalgia as a new generation of games kick in.
If you're only in for the story, however, then your best way to enjoy it again is to restart from the beginning of the game...except maybe this time try and play as a different Pokemon and partner. Unfortunately, you will already know what happens story-wise... but this could be irrelevant if you think of it like re-watching a really good movie. Therefore, this could make it all worth it, just the story alone.
If you don't care much for the story, but enjoy the gameplay... well, here you go. The game is theoretically endless, with many Pokemon to recruit, many items to collect, and tons of money and missions to achieve. You'll be plenty occupied.
If you like neither, then you may overall dismiss this game for something else, or look upon it as an interesting novelty.
If you've never played a Pokemon Mystery Dungeon game - or, at least, never played an "Explorers" generation of this series - then I'd strongly recommend Explorers of Sky. You'll be in for a truly engaging and entertaining story, with a great cast of characters. You may or may not find dungeon-crawling your type of gameplay, however--people tend to have mixed reactions on it. Still, if you've got the patience, it is worth a try - by itself, this is a considerable game.
Now, if you HAVE played Explorers of Time/Darkness...then you'd probably have to be an avid fan of the series in order to fully appreciate Sky. It's kind of funny that the first personality question the game asks you is: "Have you played Explorers of Time/Darkness?" It's like the designers anticipated a Mystery Dungeon fanbase. Good call, Chunsoft.
Anyways, as mentioned before, Sky uses roughly 80% of the same material from Time/Darkness, and this new material overall may not compensate the fact you're purchasing a whole "new" game in order to get it. If you really, REALLY enjoyed Explorers of Time/Darkness, then you may appreciate the extensions found in this game, however few. (As I'm one of those people, I say this game is straight-down AWESOME. But, again, not everyone will share that sentiment. Especially not a certain IGN reviewer.)
So, as a stand-alone game, this game has much going for it. As a sequel, maybe not so much.
But regardless of how you put it...this game is just as epic.
Summary of Pros:
> An epic story that actually has depth; best of any Pokemon game. The writers took their audience seriously in this game. It ties up the loose ends from the Time/Darkness version.
> About 40-60 hours of gameplay or more if you decide to complete it all the way through, finishing every story point and exploring every dungeon.
> Who knows? You may actually enjoy dungeon-crawling, if you have the patience.
> A fitting soundtrack - there are some truly wonderful tunes.
Summary of Cons:
> The game can swing wildly between "very easy" and "frustratingly difficult." There are plenty of ways to fail in this game, and many of them are through cheap enemy attacks.
> The dungeons can become repetitive really quickly - so can the gameplay itself. Again, you'll probably need some patience to fully enjoy it.
> Some nice graphics outside of the dungeons...but sometimes bland inside the dungeons.
> This game is questionable as a sequel: some reviewers have even called this a "rip-off." Indeed, Sky does not extend too much beyond Time/Darkness. But if you very much enjoyed Time/Darkness or are new to this series, then it's probably irrelevant whether or not this game counts as a worthy sequel.
8.0 / 10.0
Here is the list of the difference & benefits: (Info from bulbapedia)
>Players can now play as four new starter Pokémon: Phanpy, Vulpix, Riolu, and Shinx. Every starter Pokémon, in addition to Meowth and Munchlax, are available as partners.
>There is a new place called Spinda's Café.
>Spinda's Juice Bar grants access to several exclusive dungeons, and it also allows players to make drinks out of food items.
>Recycle Shop allows players to exchange excess items for other items.
>The player's team recruits can now be found in Spinda's Café.
>Secret Bazaar which is found randomly in dungeons. It is run by Kirlia.
>A new location, Shaymin Village, is unlocked after completion of the main game.
>Players only lose half of their money when defeated in a dungeon, instead of all of it.
> A new item called the Sky Gift can be obtained in an area consisting of ten dungeons called Sky Peak.
> Raikou, Entei, and Suicune are no longer acquired with the Mystery Part and Secret Slab or in Final Maze, and are now in three new dungeons called Southeastern Islands, Inferno Cave, and Treacherous Waters unlocked through the cafe.
>When the player recruits a new Pokémon, if the team is full, it allows the player to choose who they would like to send back to the guild, instead of immediately sending the new recruit back.
>The amount of time it takes to save the player's game is much shorter.
I ordered this game about two days ago, and bought it used from SOCAL-VGAMES, and man am I impressed! Package arrived early by at least four days from when it was expected to arrive, item came in a first class package container protected inside a DVD case. Upon plugging the cartridge in, I was a tad bit worried when it didn't load the game, but remembering that a Nintendo DS usually requires CPR, I successfully resuscitated it. Thanks for the game if your reading this mate!