Here's the clincher: ChunSoft's often-copied dungeon hack was never any good to begin with and the infusion of Pokemon characters and key concepts did little to alter its terrible state. The dungeon hack may tide Pokemon fans over until the real thing hits the DS but they are certain to be sorely disappointed.
This game is merely a combination of the Mystery Dungeon and the Pokemon games. You can finish the whole storyline of the game in twenty hours, where the main challenge is to uncover the reasons for the mysterious metamorphosis of the main character (you, the player) into a Pokemon. Meanwhile while you’re wondering what the heck is happening, joining the rescue team may not be such a bad idea.
The gameplay is as basic as they come: now that you’re one of them, you have to explore dungeons together with other Pokemons – you take command of at least 4 Pokemon companions, doing all the typical stuff of both distant and close-up attacks, throwing rocks at enemies or (whatever iron scraps you can use), and collecting useful items lying around, which may include gold or ability-enhancing foodstuff, as you strive to hit upon the next stairway to the subsequent chamber of the dungeon. If you are familiar with the Mystery Dungeon games, this game is essentially of the same variety; the main difference is the presence of the Pokemons. Being one of the most familiar aspects to Pokemon players, the concept of elements is still effectively used; where various Pokemons are depicted in different elemental roles (depending on the type of Pokemon the opponent personifies), such as Water Pokemon against Fire Pokemon, for example; or dark Pokemons against the psychic types.
The addition of the Pokemons in the game serves as a diversion to the old concept of the game. However, this add-on is only able to put in a little friendly atmosphere; and sadly, that’s all it does. The game is a recycled concept. There are loopholes everywhere in the game, from the not so aggressive wild Pokemons to the overly anticipating opponents that is very hard to understand because of its quirky approach.
To make it worse, the creators failed to make any significant production facelift in terms of graphics and audio used in the game. The game lacks the identity for which Nintendo DS games are recognized. Sadly, the game’s quality falls as a mediocre replication between the Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Color. Although the tiny surface-world village, which is mainly used as a resting station by the Pokemons, has abundant colors complete with startling water animation and misty effects; the dungeons in contrast, are monotonously repetitive with recurring tile sets that scarcely have any color at all. The variety of tunes used might be upbeat, but the thing is they relentlessly loop I just feel like shutting the whole audio up. The sound effects and Pokemon cries don’t improve my disposition any better. They have this static, fuzzy buzz that gives the impression they are just ripped from the original – it simply drives me crazy!
The integration of Pokemon features has regrettably failed to correct the weaknesses that have always been long-time issues with the original dungeon hack. With an overly rudimentary design, the entire game can turn outdated so quickly. Previous dungeon hacks have the same repetitious and archaic qualities but Pokemon Dungeon Blue is the mother of all lame reiterations. After playing the game – if you decide to finish it – you can’t help but feel short-changed; that’s precisely how I look at it. Here’s a sensible advice for fellow Pokemon fans…skip this one.