Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness are a matched pair of Pokémon games for the Nintendo DS. The two games were released in Japan on September 13, 2007, and were released in North America on April 20, 2008. They were released in Europe on July 4, 2008.
The game is very similar to its predecessors with the 'changing dungeon' aspect and story, but the story has more emphasis on exploration rather than rescuing. The story is also similar focusing on a human transformed into a Pokemon with amnesia with their partner Pokemon. Also like its predecessors, the game received mixed reviews for its graphics and repetitive gameplay, but the story was praised.
A spiritual sequel to Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team, new features include the addition of Generation IV Pokémon, improved Wi-Fi functionality, and more touch-screen options. 491 of the 493 Pokémon are featured, as Shaymin and Arceus were not officially released at the time of the game's launch.
A 21-minute TV special based on the game starring Kurumi Mamiya aired in Japan on September 9, 2007 as a content of the program relating Pokémon, "Pokémon Sunday" produced by TV Tokyo Corporation. It was later dubbed in English in 2008.
As with the previous games, the player takes on the role of a human who has been turned into a Pokémon, whose type is determined by a personality test. A partner Pokémon is also selected who will henceforth be referred to as "the partner". Unlike Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team, the gender does not restrict the available selection of Pokémon for either the player or the partner, though both player and partner may not be of the same type. The test sets the player as one of the many natures in the mainstream games, and two Pokémon will be set to that nature, one for male, one for female.
The player may be Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, Pikachu, Meowth, Chikorita, Cyndaquil, Totodile, Treecko, Torchic, Mudkip, Skitty, Turtwig, Chimchar, Piplup and Munchlax; a total of 16 Pokémon to choose from. Once chosen, the partner may be any of the above Pokémon, with the exception of Pokémon of the same type of the player, Meowth, Skitty and Munchlax. Eevee, Machop, Cubone and Psyduck were removed as starter Pokémon, though Eevee was again made available in the game's remake. Riolu was debated for a player Pokémon in Explorers of Time and Darkness, but the idea was eventually dropped, and Riolu was selected for the Explorers of Sky list.
The basic gameplay is unchanged from Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team - players may use shops in Pokémon Square to link moves, save money, buy items, store items, and train in special "maze" levels (although the Pokémon running almost all of these shops have changed). Players enter dungeons to complete missions, and during exploration they encounter hostile Pokémon. During the story portion, if either the player or his/her partner is defeated by running out of health, the team will be removed from the dungeon and lose all their money and half (or more) of their items. However, after beating the main story (and graduating) the team will only be removed if the team leader faints.
Like previous installments, players may send out an SOS if they are defeated in the dungeon (certain dungeons will not permit this), which can be done either using passwords or DS Wireless Communications as before, but now it may be also done through Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Players may also choose to be notified of friends in need of rescue by email or through the Wii Message Board.
New to this series is the option to temporarily send a team member to aid a friend who is in need - this allows a team to have more than four members. Defeated teams awaiting rescue may also engage in a "standby adventure" mode in which players may revisit previous dungeons to raise funds and collect items, but without the ability to level up.
Among new items introduced are treasure boxes, which require money to be opened and may contain rare items. Rare items, however, may only affect certain Pokémon. They can also be used to trade for rarer and more valuable items using a new shop. New items are also introduced to account for new evolution methods which do not translate well from the main series to Mystery Dungeon (such as Probopass, Magnezone, Leafeon, or Glaceon). Pokémon eggs have been introduced to Mystery Dungeon, where the newly hatched Pokémon will join the player's team. Finally, "Friend Areas" from Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team have been eliminated in favour of a more streamlined team management process.
The Wonder Mail has also changed, the reason for this is that many were using Wonder Mail to cheat in Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team.
As with all Pokémon games, some Pokémon are exclusive to one version, although they may be unlocked on the other through the exchange of Wonder Mail codes. The Pokémon that are exclusive to Explorers of Time are Celebi, Combee, Lucario, Pachirisu, and Riolu, while the Pokémon exclusive to Explorers of Darkness are Burmy, Buneary, Lopunny, Mewtwo, and Rotom. Despite this, Celebi and Mewtwo are currently impossible to recruit except on their respective games. Also, some items are much rarer in one version than in another.
The story begins with the player having been washed ashore by a storm. Meanwhile, his/her partner is nervous about joining the Wigglytuff Guild, as local "Dungeons" (these are the levels in the game) have been revealed and open to exploration.
The player discovers not too long after that he/she has the ability to see things in the past and future, through contact with people or things. This leads to the player rescuing an Azurill(residents), from Drowzee, a wanted criminal. Some time after, the partner tells the player the story of the Time Gears, the artefacts that all Pokémon are to avoid lest time stand still. When a Time Gear is stolen, time in that area is frozen. Despite this, it is soon revealed that a mysterious thief is stealing the Time Gears, causing time to stop in various areas.
The first proper mission that the team go on is to Drenched Bluff, to recover a Spoink's missing pearl. Upon finishing, the hero and partner receive a large reward, which a large percentage is promptly taken by Chatot as collateral for guild training.
The player and partner get quite excited when Chatot gives them an exploration mission, to explore an "unexplored cave" called Waterfall Cave. Before this, Chimecho provides a new feature to the exploration team, allowing them to recruit new members. After Waterfall Cave, the player finds out that Wigglytuff has previously explored this cave.
A short time later, the whole guild mounts an expedition to Fogbound Lake. The player recalls the place as being familiar, but cannot explain as to why. The guild encounters Uxie and discovers the location of a Time Gear, but are allowed to return home with their memories intact, on the condition that they not reveal it to anybody else. The guild meets a famous explorer named Dusknoir, who explains that the player's ability to see through time is called the Dimensional Scream. Not long after, Azurill and his brother Marill (whom the player meets earlier and saves from Drowzee) come to the guild, showing them a ransom note for an item (a Water Float) that they had been looking for. They then go to the Amp Plains and fight Luxray and the Luxio tribe, but get saved by Dusknoir. Dusknoir offers his help in uncovering the secret behind the player's transformation and also offers his assistance in the hunt for Grovyle, who is stealing the Time Gears. Soon, the time gear at Fogbound Lake is stolen, and the whole guild splits up to look for Time Gears. The player's team eventually discover an underground lake, which is home to Mesprit and another Time Gear. However Grovyle appears and steals the Time Gear. Somewhere in the story, the player and the partner also activate a dojo in which they can train in.
Dusknoir determines that, the third lake guardian Azelf, the being of willpower, is likely to be guarding another Time Gear. Dusknoir further explains that as Uxie and Mesprit were encountered in lakes, Azelf is also likely to be found in a lake area. The team arrives at the lake in the middle of Crystal cave, where they find Azelf about to be defeated by Grovyle. However, just as Grovyle is about to steal the Time Gear, Azelf activates a fail-safe trap, which prevents it from doing so. Grovyle then escapes, but with Dusknoir in pursuit.
Back in town, Dusknoir reveals that he and Grovyle are from the future, and that Grovyle fled to the past to prevent from being captured, and intends to steal the Time Gears so as to cause the Planet's Paralysis, an event turning the Pokémon world into a dark, dismal region filled with scared and corrupted Pokémon. Everyone comes up with a plan to capture Grovyle, by luring him in with the Time Gear that still remains, but Dusknoir adds that he and the Lake Trio alone must battle Grovyle for capture. A few days later a report comes in, indicating that Grovyle has been captured, and that Dusknoir plans to take Grovyle back to the future to face justice. The Time Gears have been returned to their rightful places, and Dusknoir has opened a Dimensional Hole to take Grovyle back to the future. Dusknoir bids farewell to the villagers, but suddenly grabs the player and partner, and drags them with him into the portal.
The player and partner awaken, finding themselves in a prison. After escaping a near execution with Grovyle, they (now in the future) discover their world has become paralyzed, despite the Time Gears being placed back in their respective spots. The two traverse through several dungeons until they catch up to Grovyle, having to rescue him from a rogue Spiritomb. After coming to compromise, Grovyle offers to share what he knows with the two heroes.
They learn that the paralysis was caused by time breaking down before the theft of the Gears because of Temporal Tower, which gives structure to time itself. When the tower collapsed, its head occupant, Dialga the Time Dragon, survived the collapse but became corrupted due to the flow of darkness that possessed and twisted the minds of countless Pokémon. Now living as a tyrannical being known as Primal Dialga, it has sworn to preserve the dark future so as to maintain its fearsome form. It is also established that Grovyle has pure motives for collecting Time Gears, so as to prevent the planet's paralysis in Temporal Tower. This story contradicts Dusknoir's fallacies, and Grovyle exposes Dusknoir as a villainous agent sent to the partner's world to capture him. Unsure but determined, the player's team searches for a way back to the past. However, they are being pursued by Dusknoir and his Sableye minions. The group eventually manage to find a shiny Celebi, who is a (close) friend of Grovyle, and finally arrive at the Passage of Time. Dusknoir ambushes the group, but Grovyle expresses hope for success- when he traveled back to the past initially, he was joined by a human companion on his mission. That partner was lost during their time travel, though Grovyle believes that even if he dies, the partner will be able to fulfill his mission for him. Dusknoir asks Grovyle to divulge the name of his friend, revealing that the partner in question is actually the player. Dusknoir reveals he has known about this for a long while: he was scouting all over the past world, collecting all of its history and information in order to find the two. He came across the player's exploration duo at one point, and eventually discovered one of them had the Dimensional Scream. After revealing their ability and name, Dusknoir carried out a plan which had the player itself betray Grovyle unknowingly and blackened Grovyle's reputation further. This plan worked out smoothly because the player could not recognize their foe when they saw him. Not defeated by the grim circumstances, the partner urges Celebi to transport them ahead of Dusknoir and into the Passage. With little interference from Primal Dialga, they succeed, and Celebi escapes the Ghost squadron. and is allowed to deafeat palkia at the end.
Arriving back to the present, the group decides to stay at the partner's old home, due to Grovyle's presence potentially landing them in trouble. They plan their next move, which is to take the Time Gears. Grovyle tells the team that the player was his partner before the player turned into a Pokémon, explaining the strange voice heard near the Time Gear locations, the random visions, and the lack of Screams in the future due to no Time Gears there. They soon discover through reconnaissance that time has still stopped in places where Time Gears are present, despite them being returned. It appears that the only way to restore time is to take the Time Gears to Temporal Tower. This is easier said than done, though; the Tower is located in the Hidden Land, and no one knows where the Hidden Land is. They eventually decide to reveal their return to the guild, so they can convince the guild to help them, and receive the lake guardians' Time Gears- they are, fortunately, met with friendly cooperation from all parties. They talk with Torkoal, the town elder, who tells them that to get to the Hidden Land, they need an item with an inscription on it, which is on the partner's Relic Fragment. Wigglytuff and Chatot have also seen this pattern, in Brine Cave. Inside Brine Cave's Depths, Chatot is injured protecting the team from a Kabutops and two Omastar. The team manages to defeat the bandits, driving them off. Wigglytuff comes with the rest of the guild with Grovyle in tow, having collected the five time gears needed to stop the collapse of Temporal Tower. Leaving Chatot in the Guild's care, the team and Grovyle forge ahead.
In Brine Cave, the team discovers a rock wall pointing out to sea, on which is a wall pattern similar to the one found on the Relic Fragment. When the Relic Fragment is presented, a light shines out towards the sea. Just then, a Lapras arrives. Lapras ferries the team and Grovyle to the Hidden Land. Arriving at the Hidden Land, Lapras tells them that in order to reach the Temporal Tower, they must take the Rainbow Stoneship, located inside an old ruin. Finding the ruin, they find a temple where, at the top, they find the Relic Fragment pattern. The team discovers that the temple itself is the Rainbow Stoneship, and in order for the ship to operate, the Relic Fragment must be slotted in one of the indentations. But before the partner can do so, they are captured by Dusknoir and the Sableye entourage. The team is able to defeat Dusknoir and the Sableye in battle, but while the partner goes to activate the Rainbow Stoneship, Dusknoir warns that should they succeed in their quest, the Pokémon of the future, including the player and Grovyle, will be erased from existence, from being from a future that will no longer exist. Grovyle admits that this is the case, but that their sacrifice is worth the trouble if it means that the future can be saved. The player accepts this fate, even though the player knows that the partner will not take it as easily as the player or Grovyle.
Meanwhile, the partner succeeds in activating the Rainbow Stoneship, by putting their relic fragment in it, but Dusknoir manages to recover and attack the player before either the player or Grovyle is on board. Just as Dusknoir tries to finish off the player, Grovyle intervenes, taking the blow. Dusknoir angrily decides to slay Grovyle first, but in a move of desperation, Grovyle pushes Dusknoir towards the Dimensional Hole, hoping that in his own defense of the player, Grovyle will ensure the success of the mission. Dropping the Time Gears, Grovyle pushes Dusknoir and himself through the Dimensional Hole, transporting them into the future , but not without giving his last goodbye. The partner recovers the Time Gears, and the team proceed on the Rainbow Stoneship, with the player keeping silent to the partner about his/her fate. With a heavy heart, the team head towards Temporal Tower to take on their final mission.
The team is able to defeat Primal Dialga, and head home, but on the way back, the player begins to feel the effects of being slowly erased from existence. The player says goodbye to the partner and, in the only open dialogue spoken by the player character, conveys his/her last wish, to "tell everyone about what happened, so nothing like this will ever happen again", as the player fades out of existence. After the credits, Dialga feels the partner's sorrow all the way from Temporal Tower. Deeply moved by the partner's devotion and grief, Dialga intervenes and restores the player to the timeline, as thanks for bringing time back in control. The player reappears at the beach, where the partner is crying in front of Bidoof. The partner runs over to embrace their best friend, overjoyed that they are alive.
After the main credits, the player is told by Chatot at the next briefing that they may take an exam to graduate from the guild. Wigglytuff comments that they must defeat the "grandmaster of all things bad". The player goes to Mystifying Forest, where they fall into a trap. The cover to the trap closes and the "grandmaster of all things bad" sneaks in and circles around them. Bidoof lifts the lid of the cave, revealing that it is just the guild, with Wigglytuff as the "grandmaster of all things bad", though they all attempt (poorly) to convince the player otherwise. The player and partner defeat them, allowing them to continue forward to find a treasure chest containing a Perfect Apple. They continue further with Teddirusa and Ursaring to Luminous Spring, where Teddirusa evolves into Ursaring. The partner goes forward to evolve, but is told that neither the partner nor the player can evolve due to a distortion in space that they create. After returning to the guild, the player and the partner graduate- the player's team moves their own base of operations to Sharpedo Bluff. Afterward the player must rescue Scizor from a Froslass to get the Secret Rank. They are slowly given more dungeons to explore, including a new training dungeon known as the Final Maze. Eventually, the player is told by Sunflora about a dungeon known as the Surrounded Sea. The player's team goes to the dungeon and finds an egg that hatches into a baby Manaphy. They must feed it with Blue Gummis, but it eventually falls sick after being away from the ocean for so long. The player's team goes to Miracle Sea to acquire the cure-all Phione Dew. After fending off a Gyrados, the Phione give a Phione Dew to the player and Manaphy is cured. However, at Chatot's insistence, Manaphy is put in the care of a Wailren and returns to the ocean. After a few more days, Team Charm comes to the guild. It is revealed here that Wigglytuff was once a member of Team Charm. Lopunny, the leader of Team Charm, asks Wigglytuff for a key shaped like an Unown they found in previous travels, saying that they think they found where it should go. Wigglytuff goes into his quarters, rummages around for the key, and returns with the key. Team Charm thanks Wigglytuff and begins to head out. The partner asks Lopunny if the player's team can come along. This provokes the entire guild to ask if they could come. Team Charm agrees and heads out to open the door to Aegis Cave. Inside, they come across a room with a stone tablet in the middle bearing the inscription "ICE (in Unoun letters) Close your eyes and submit your proof." The guild and Team Charm proceed into the dungeon with the player's team following. Upon completing Aegis Ice Cave, the player's team will come back to the stone tablet room. The player's team finds Team Charm inspecting the stone tablet. After a brief conversation, Team Charm proceeds. If the player has picked up Unown Stones I, C, and E dropped by the corresponding Unoun in the dungeon, the player should interact with the stone tablet in the middle of the room and close their eyes. Following this, the stone tablet disappears and reveals a staircase, which a Regice is waiting to battle in. This process is repeated with ROCK and STEEL with Regirock and Registeel as bosses respectively. At the bottom of Aegis Cave, the player's team catches up with Team Charm. The statues in the room come alive, revealing 8 Bronzong, 8 Hitmonlee and a Regigigas, which are defeated with the help of Team Charm. After the battle is completed, Regigigas faints and a massive stone tablet appears, intstructing the player to let his aura flow into the ground. The player does so and Regigigias gets up and tremors begin. The player's team and Team Charm flee the dungeon. Medicham notices a cave that appeared. Team Charm theorizes that the actual treasure is in there and heads off to find another treasure. Over the course of a few days, the player has dreams in which Cresselia tells the player that the player does not belong in this world, and that the distortion of space the player and partner have made will send the world into ruin unless they disappear. Finally, one day the Azurill they assisted a while back has a nightmare that he cannot awake from, so the team locates the old criminal Drowzee, who is able to send the player and partner into Azurill's nightmare. At the end of this dream (a dungeon in itself known as The Nightmare) the player sees Cresselia, who attempts to destroy them. Cresselia is interrupted by Drowzee and disappears. Back in the guild, the player and partner report their findings to the guild. However, when asked about a way to undo the distortion of space, the partner says that there is no way. The next morning, your partner suggests that they go talk to Lapras for more information. Lapras is able to tell them that Palkia is the ruler of space and that he resides in Spacial Rift. However, Lapras doesn't know where it is. The player and partner wake up the next morning and see Palkia whisking in and taking them away to Spacial Rift to destroy them. They fall into a chasm and proceed to complete Spacial Rift and defeat Palkia, who suddenly falls into a nightmare. They are asked by an unknown voice if they want to enter Palkia's nightmare and end up consenting. In Palkia's nightmare, Cresselia appears and proceeds to destroy them. However, another Cresselia appears and they then find out the Cresselia in their dreams was actually Darkrai. Darkrai flees from the room and tells the partner and player they must come to defeat him. They must venture with Cresselia to defeat Darkrai, who was behind the transformation of Primal Dialga, the player's transformation into a Pokémon, and the break in the space-time continuum. After defeating Darkrai, they may recruit Palkia, which allows the player and partner to evolve. Also, after some events in the post-story-mode, Manaphy returns and asks to join your exploration team. If this option is accepted, Manaphy leads to player to a new dungeon called the Marine Resort after a few days.
As of September 30, 2008, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness combined to sell 4.12 million copies worldwide, according to Nintendo. The reviews for the game were mixed to positive. The games were scored as 59 out of 100 by Metacritic's review. GameSpy gave the games a 4/5 star rating. Both Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness have received a rating of 7.5 from Nintendo Power.
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky is an enhanced version of Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness for the Nintendo DS. It was released in Japan on April 18, 2009; North America on October 12, 2009; Australia on November 12, 2009; and Europe on November 20, 2009.
As with its predecessors, the game follows the story of a human who is mysteriously transformed into a Pokémon (determined by a personality test at the game's start-up). Along with the starters from the previous game, five more are included as playable choices; Phanpy, Riolu, Shinx, Eevee, and Vulpix. Some, however, are only available to certain genders; Eevee, Skitty, and Vulpix are always female. Riolu, Phanpy, and Shinx are always male. However, 2 starters, Munchlax and Meowth were removed and can only be played as the partner. Many new gameplay features were incorporated into the game. There were extra dungeons added, the titular event Pokémon Shaymin featured on the box was added, and alternate forms introduced in Pokémon Platinum (except for Rotom) were included.
Explorers of Sky expands on the plot of Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness, as well as exploring the background of several characters. New cutscenes were added and some were changed. Five new Special Episodes are unlocked at certain points in the game which add to the overall game (such as Wigglytuff's inspiration to become an explorer, the induction of Bidoof into the guild, the formation of Team Charm, a special mission for guild member Sunflora, and the investigation of Grovyle and Dusknoir who team up after the battle at the Hidden Land, which shows how Primal Dialga was defeated simultaneously in the present and the future and how the future continued to thrive).