Ranking The Best Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Games (2024)

The spin-off that took a solid portion of the original fandom by storm, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon provides a much more relaxing experience than the main game, giving trainers a look at what seems to be the very friendly life of a Pokemon. From saving your Poke-pals to tactically moving around the battle board, the series gives players a new dynamic with the same classic characters they know and love. (Well, besides all the humans. But who needs them?)

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From the soundtrack all the way down to the scenery, Mystery Dungeon puts a lot more emphasis on the ambiance than the main titles. Instead of building up a strategic, combat-capable team, players can recruit Pokemon more freely. That's not to say that stats and typing are nonexistent, just that you're gifted with greater lenience and can pick purely your favorites without that old familiar but can "Bidoof really beat the Elite Four?" regret.

Updated on April 12th, 2023, by Doruk Kaptan: While Pokemon is a franchise with many spin-offs and games in tons of different genres, few can rival the popularity and critical acclaim of Mystery Dungeon games. While the series gains an entry every few years, the last one being Rescue Team DX, fans have not forgotten about this series by far.

Giving players more of a story-focused game with heart seems to fit the wonderful world of Pokemon perfectly, which is likely why there are several compilations of content creators crying to scenes from these games. Mystery Dungeon games are not all created equally though, as some of them are revered over others to surprising levels.

7 Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates To Infinity

Ranking The Best Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Games (1)

One of the less favored versions of Mystery Dungeon, Gates to Infinity manages to make it all a little worse with perspectives that are too magnified and take away from the experience. Criticized as a "watered-down" installment with banal stretches of vast dialogue that range from passable to poor, Gates to Infinity is also notorious for locking away most of its best features behind dozens of hours of play.

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Fans of the genre might still like it, albeit a little less than its predecessors. Even the much-requested added difficulty amounts to a poorly implemented rollercoaster ride, shooting from slow standard fare to radical spikes that leave the player puzzled.

6 Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Adventure Squad

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Most international fans will have never heard of the Adventure Squad titles seeing as they never made it out of Japan. Although it was launched in 2009, no English patch made it overseas until April 2020. Plus, the games were made for a home console, the Wii, but they were relegated to WiiWare rather than a full release. What this means, for those of you who may not be familiar, in summary, Adventure Squad was made on the cheap, and has ended up rather lackluster.

The formula doesn't deviate enough from Mystery Dungeon's conventional approach to justify the hoops of finding a fan patch, nor is the cast especially endearing. The games are also nowhere near the other entries' level in terms of story and characters. Adventure Squad is not officially obtainable, and the hassle of finding a copy somehow is unfortunately not worth it.

5 Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon

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The biggest of the Mystery Dungeon series, Super Mystery Dungeon contains 720 Pokemon. Mind you, this isn't a 720 Pokemon Pokedex. You don't simply encounter them, catch them, and choose your favorite few to build a team. PSMD, as it's often abbreviated, actively invites you to give each and every one of the catchable critters a combat whirl.

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As is commonplace with the Mystery Dungeon games, Western reviewers were happier with the story and atmosphere and more critical of the gameplay loop. Super Mystery Dungeon, unfortunately, takes the cake for the most tediously repetitive overall presentation. There truly isn't much here that doesn't quickly wear out its welcome. It's a grind even within a series chock full of grinds, which is why it lands around the center of our list. Despite all that though, the game captures the essence of the series and gives us some really heartfelt characters.

4 Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team & Red Rescue Team

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The genesis of the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series, Blue Rescue Team & Red Rescue Team laid the groundwork for what would prove to be one of Pokemon's more popular spin-off sensations. It's a bit rocky, with the developers clearly coming to grips with how to apply the decades-old Mystery Dungeon formula to the brand name.

Its charm stemmed from the smaller world, distancing itself from any quests to be the very best and bringing a comfier, warmer vibe. Enough heads were tilted to justify the creation of every other entry on the list, so we can forgive Rescue Team for sometimes feeling like it's coming apart at its seams. While it shows its age nowadays, it's a classic without a doubt.

3 Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX

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Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is the first console-bound entry that actually looks the part. An enhanced remake of the games that started it all, Blue Rescue Team for Game Boy Advance and Red Rescue Team for DS, Rescue Team DX bids farewell to the exclusive content found in each of those, offering it all on a pretty platter 15 years later.

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And truly, the proverbial platter is pretty. Developer Spike Chunsoft eschewed any thoughts of a more realistic graphical aim in favor of a heavily animated, watercolor treat that looks sublime in motion. We don't dare argue with fans who prefer the original versions of this classic game, but nor can we recommend newcomers track down GBA and DS copies when a single, unified remake exists on modern hardware and it also plays and looks so great.

2 Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers Of Time & Explorers Of Darkness

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Both Time and Darkness flow through the same vein, the only difference being the Pokemon selection. Once players have completed the personality test and been placed in their own body, a partner Pokemon will soon enter the narrative — and enter they did.

It's now your responsibility to help both characters through their dungeon adventures. What makes these games incredible is the story and characters without a doubt. You will likely find yourself crying your eyes out during certain scenes. The mechanics have also been refined since the Rescue Team era, so the games are not clunky at all. However, there is one better version of these games...

1 Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers Of Sky

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Launching two years later, Explorers of Sky is effectively the "Platinum" to Time and Darkness' "Diamond & Pearl." More dungeons, more cutscenes, more customization features, you know the drill. Not only is Explorers of Sky more, but it is also better in every aspect, refining an already well-made game further into perfection.

If you're interested in checking out the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games for the first time, go with Explorers of Sky. Truly, there's little reason to choose otherwise. And enjoy the postgame episode, Darkrai is a righteous jerk. For many fans, this is the peak. If Spike Chunsoft tries its luck again with a PMD remake, and the studio very likely shall, the Explorers trilogy is the mark to beat. Don't forget to have tissues nearby though, as the story will surely have you balling.

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Ranking The Best Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Games (2024)
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