A New Mystery Dungeon Could Reignite Some Love For The Pokemon Company After Scarlet and Violet

Maybe it's best to go back to the basics?

by Kara Phillips
Image: Nintendo

One of the most beautiful things about Pokemon is regardless of how many minutes, hours, or years you’ve poured into the franchise; you’ve probably got an affectionate tale to share about your starter, party, or general experience with a game. With Pokemon Day rapidly approaching, players are placing their bets on the franchise’s future and sharing what they want to see. While most of these assumptions revolve around a new DLC for Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, a few fans are starting to see signs pointing to an old favorite series making a return.

Some trainers would suggest there’s an overlooked world outside of mainline games, which is precisely where the wonderful world of Mystery Dungeon rests. Although this franchise hasn’t exactly been dormant, it’s been a few years since the spotlight shined on it, so it’s about time it was re-visited, and after the questionable launch of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet and the now-forgotten Sword and Shield, it might be the best time for The Pokemon Company to return to their roots and create a new mystery dungeon rather than churning out a new mainline game.

Is a New Mystery Dungeon What The Pokemon Company Needs?

Although many players will forget, a new Mystery Dungeon on Nintendo Switch wouldn’t be the debut on the system. Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX launched in March 2020 and wasn’t met with the same reception as you’d expect from an audience desperate to experience the newest dungeon-crawling addition to the franchise. Receiving an admirable score of 69 on Metacritic, Rescue Team DX was in no way a bad game, but it also left a lot to be desired. It lacked the drive and story previous Mystery Dungeon games were known for, and although it was a sweet redesign from the traditional chibi graphics, it wasn’t the experience players had been desperate for, and this applies to most recent launches for Pokemon.

Related: Shiny Hunting is My Only Incentive to Keep Playing Pokemon Scarlet and Violet

Although it wouldn’t break tradition for a previous Mystery Dungeon game to be re-imagined and re-released onto Nintendo Switch, especially following the nostalgic success of Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, it would be beneficial for an entirely new Mystery Dungeon title to be launched on the system as a way to bounce back after the last few launches which have been slightly hit and miss. In a way, going back to the original look of Mystery Dungeon titles with pixelated sprites and simple gameplay mechanics would better suit the console, as seen by the recent release of Game Boy emulation, which runs incredibly smoothly and is a well-needed blast from the past.

One of the main issues many trainers have with current-gen Pokemon games is the performance, which hugely let down the release of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. If a new Mystery Dungeon is in the works for announcement on Pokemon Day, it might be best to return to the graphics of older games to ensure a solid performance and the enjoyable experience players expect. 3D graphics and substantial open worlds aren’t needed for a game to be enjoyable and, frankly, wouldn’t work with the charm of a Mystery Dungeon game. Although Rescue Team DX was cute and enjoyable to look at, it wasn’t the Mystery Dungeon we love.

Needless to say, it would be hugely beneficial for the Pokemon Company to release a new installment to a fan-favorite franchise like Mystery Dungeon to reignite the love for the company in the first place, especially after so much trust and excitement was lost within the chorus of recent releases which could’ve done with a little more thought and time. It’s not bold to state that Pokemon is a brand built on nostalgia these days, and trying to keep up with today’s digital expectations on a console that can’t quite keep up might be doing more harm than good.

- This article was updated on February 16th, 2023