Infendo Leftovers-Pokemon:Explorers of Sky

Infendo

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I confess Infendo Readers, I have a debt – and that debt has a name:  Pokemon: Explorers of Sky.  I hadn’t touched a Pokemon title since classic Red & Blue when Explorers of Sky landed on my desk – but there it was – a wildly different Pokemon game with new creatures, new challenges, and a deadline stiffly ignored.  Why did this review get swept under the carpet?  It’s not a bad game, just nothing to write home (blogs?) about.   Let’s explore the sky.

Pokemon: Explorers of Sky is the third in the second DS Pokemon Mystery dungeon game.  Wait, 3rd in the 2nd? That’s right – following the standard Pokemon formula, the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorer’s games released two slightly different versions of the same game: Time, and Darkness.  Much like Pokemon Yellow/Platinum, a third game was released later with a few new features that weren’t included in the original release – in this case, Explorers of Sky.  Since it follows the “Rescue Team” mystery dungeon games, it’s the 2nd DS iteration of the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Series.

To tie up any other loose ends, just know that Mystery Dungeon games are kind of RPG whose claim to fame are randomly generated multi-level dungeons.  No matter how many times you return to an area, you’ll never have the same map layout twice.  The Mystery Dungeon franchise has seen many iterations, from Pokemon, to Chocobo and beyond, Shiren the Wanderer being the most famous example.  In any case, Pokemon: Mystery Dungeon follows the same design formula, and while this creates unlimited replay value in theory – the end result is less satisfying than the idea.

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The generated dungeons are pretty generic, and lack any unique or identifying detail.  Not only are the amount of rooms per level and their size randomly generated, but the exits are as well – sometimes you’ll enter a new floor only steps away from the entrance to the next floor  – this is really an advantage, because it means you get to skip past another boring, repetitive level of grinding and item collection.

Although a variety of special moves and unique items can be used to spice up battle, most of the time they are entirely unnecessary to gameplay – the one button attack method will power you straight through most dungeons and missions.  It’s not entirely boring, but it’s not particularly engaging either.   The end result is a game that’s easy to pick up and play to kill a few minutes, but does little to draw you in.  There is a cute story, but it plods along without much urgency.

pmd1As this is the third game in the series, a few new features have been added – most notably, a new area where players can trade or combine items and get new, unique items. Something nice for completionists, but hardly enough to push an owner of Time/Darkness to repurchase the same game -  and it is the same game – same story, same characters, same missions.  The only thing that’s notably different is the available (and somewhat randomly selected) starter Pokemon and the aforementioned juice-bar.

This game is a left-over – both on the Infendo Review schedule, and in the Pokemon franchise. Everything worthwhile it has to offer can already be experienced in previous iterations of the same game – and while it’s not a terrible game by any means, it’s not something anybody likely rushed out to purchase.  The battle system has room for some complexity, but utilizing it’s potential is unnecessary.  If you’re experiencing a lull in your Pokemon addiction and want something a little different, it might be a good buffer to fill some time, but don’t expect a deep experience. If you’ve played Explorers of Time/Darkness, Sky doesn’t have much to offer you.

[Impressions based on review copy provided by the publisher]