Review: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity for the Nintendo 3DS

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Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity

It is nice to know that some things in life will never change.  Pumpkin pie will always be the best Thanksgiving desert, rats will always outnumber people in NYC and the Pokemon franchise will still be going strong long after the rats take over NYC and turn us all into their slaves.    The only thing more amazing than  Pokemon still being around after all these years is the fact that they are still coming up with new twists and turns to the Pokemon story.

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity – Why Be A Trainer When You Can Be a Pokemon?

We recently received the new Nintendo 3DS game – Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity.  As we are big believers in real world reviews here at Dad Does, we knew we had to find the perfect tester for this video game.   While I was more than happy to ignore my taxes and instead play Pokemon for two weeks straight, it seemed like my 9 year old son would probably be more representative of the demographic that Nintendo was shooting for.  After incredible amounts of arm twisting, I finally convinced my son that he should play Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity and give us his honest review (I think it took him less than 1 nanosecond to agree to do it).

Let’s take a look at our video review of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity for the 3DS -

Apparently Being A Pokemon Is More Fun Than Being a Trainer

Clearly my son loved Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, as the above video shows.  I should also note that making that video was the most I have really seen of my son for the last week, because he has been so engrossed in the game.  Every once in a while he asked me for a round object he can use to create a Magnagate…nice to know he still needs his Dad for something.

In case you are still a little confused as to what this video game is all about, here is the quick rundown…

“Players can choose to go on their adventure as one of five fan-favorite Pokémon: Pikachu, Snivy, Tepig, Oshawott or Axew. Many of the Pokémon that populate the game are from the Unova region, the region featured in the Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version games.Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity features more than 20 distinct Mystery Dungeons that change every time they are entered, granting players and their Pokémon a near-infinite amount of adventurous possibilities. When not exploring Mystery Dungeons, players can interact with other Pokémon and build their own Pokémon Paradise with various shops and facilities.”

Finally a Video Game That Takes Advantage of The Unique Features of the Nintendo 3DS

The Nintendo 3DS is a great game system…on paper.  Things like 3D graphics, the ability to take 3D photos and videos, wireless and Street Pass capabilities  all give the 3DS great potential, the problem is very few games turn this potential into reality.  Thankfully, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity really shows what can be done if you make a game specifically for the 3DS.

First up are the 3D visuals in the game, some of the best that I have seen on a 3DS.  Even if you are not a huge Pokemon fan, you will appreciate the 3D graphics and the ability for the Pokemon to almost jump off of the screen.  If you are a Pokemon fan, you are absolutely going to love the rich and 3D graphics that make up the video game.

Magnagates are the perfect example of how to bridge the real world with the virtual world.  Simply find a round object and scan it with the 3DS camera and suddenly a portal to another world appears on your screen.  Jump through the Magnagate and you are in a new dunegon, with a completely different maze and new treasures to find.  My son loved the Magnagate feature and it kept the game from getting old, as new maps were just a round object away!

Finally, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon makes good use of StreetPass and local wireless play.   When tagging another Nintendo 3DS system using StreetPass, players can revive other players’ fallen Pokémon and receive rewards for their virtual generosity. And for the first time in the series, players can team up with others via a local wireless connection to explore special Mystery Dungeons with up to three other players in cooperative Companion Mode. All experience and treasure earned in this local-multiplayer mode are carried over to the main single-player game.  The only negative?  Every player has to own a copy  of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon.

Pokemon Paradise, The Perfect Escape From A Stressful Day of Dungeon Adventures

Much of the game consists of finding your way through dungeons, battling, going on quest, finding items…rinse and repeat.  If this is all you did in Gates to Infinity, it would become boring fast.  Luckily, the games adds the Pokemon Paradise.  Right from the start, your wise partner knows that a place to call your own, is the key to happiness.  While the Pokemon Paradise starts off as a parcel of desert land, in no time you will be building that land into an ultra cool and functional team headquarters.

As you do your various quests and gather materials you can build out your Paradise.  It is not all bling either.  You can build shops and sell items or grow berries on your land (which you later trade up for power-up moves).  Kids absolutely love this and it provides a nice break from the more rote tasks that take place in the dungeons.

Who Will Like Pokemon Mystery Dungeon?

Pokemon fans will love Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity.  The 3D graphics, almost endless dungeons to explore, Pokemon Paradise, downloadable content, strong multiplayer options and the ability to be a Pokemon will have Pokemon fans playing for hours.  Even non-Pokemon fans may enjoy Mystery Dungeon.  If you have kids who are into turn based battle and adventure games, they will also enjoy Mystery Dungeon.

Any Negatives to Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity?

The video game does involved a great deal of dialogue, especially at the beginning.  If you have kids who just want to jump right into the action, this might not be the right game for them.  My son did find the dialogue helped build out the storyline, but it did involve a good amont of patience to make it through all the dialogue, before he could get into the action.

Conclusion: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity Does Pokemon and the 3DS Proud

Video games are not cheap, so no parent wants to spend $40 on a game that the kids stop playing after 2 days.  As a parent, there are two major things I look for in a video game – an appropriate storyline and a game that will hold my son’s interest for more than a few days.  Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity is an absolute winner by this measure.  My son has been actively playing for the past few weeks, so it definitely has legs and will keep the kids interested.  In terms of storyline, you may find the whole Pokemon thing a little corny or thin, but it does convey positive messages about helping and being good.

If you have a Nintendo 3DS and a Pokemon fan in your house…well, you probably already have Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity in your house as well!  For those parents who have been strong enough to ignore their kids chants of “can we get the new Pokemon game” – I am impressed by your resolve.  Still, if you are going to break and get the kids a new video game – Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity is an excellent game that the kids will love.  Don’t feel bad about breaking, Gates to Infinity makes such good use of the 3DS features, you will feel better about spending all that money on the Nintendo 3DS in the first place!

More Information:

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, Nintendo 3DS, Rated E: (Everyone, Mild Cartoon Violence), $34.99

Purchase Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity At Amazon.Com

Read More Video Game Reviews for Parents

Additional Screen Shots:

Pokemon Gates to Infinity

Magnagate

Cold Pokemon

Pokemon Desert

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