Pokemon: Twilight Wings Review


It’s time to look at a recent Pokemon web series that ended. It’s always nice to get some new animated material. Pokemon recently did something similar with Pokemon Generations although that one was way too ambitious in scope and ended up being rather disappointing. Twilight Wings from the start is going for a much more inspirational/somber feel to the shorts. These aren’t about big action scenes or colorful backgrounds. It’s actually all very subdued which is where the somber part comes from while also showing that everyone is trying hard to get ready for their futures. It’s a fun little collection of shorts.

There are 7 shorts in all and they’re all under 10 minutes. So if you merge them together this could be around a 40 minute OVA or something like that. Each short changes main character except for the first and last shorts which are about a kid who is rather sick but wants to be a Pokemon trainer. His friend’s definitely a good kid to have around as he tries his best to make sure that the main character is able to get closer to his friend. The rest of the shorts vary in plot and will always have an ending scene that teases the lead of the next main character. I’ll talk briefly about each short.

The first one I already went over. It’s one of the weaker ones in the collection but is fun enough. It’s always nice to see the kids have a happy ending especially when they’ve clearly been through a lot already. The second one is about Bea who is training for her next fight. She actually spars with her Pokemon which is pretty impressive. Unfortunately she gets stuck in a cave in, but this helps her remember that her strength is with her friends as a team and not by doing everything on her own. We get a little action here which is always pretty neat so this was a solid followup.

Then we have one about Hop who is admiring how great Leon is as per usual. His Wooloo feels bad about this and runs away though so now Hop has to find him. Sometimes it can be obvious that the main character is in the wrong but this time I think Wooloo was making a mountain out of a molehill. It showed that Hop was as close to Wooloo as ever though by having him chase after his friend. This was one of the shorts going for a more emotional angle and it worked well. Hop may have been one of the least impressive rivals in Pokemon but it doesn’t take away from him being a pretty good guy in general.

The 4th short is about Nessa as she tries to balance her career of being a model and a gym leader. People say that it can’t be done and she will have to choose one. Ultimately she chooses to keep going in both fields and will prove her doubters wrong. It’s part of why she is one of the better gym leaders as it takes a lot of drive to maintain two careers at once like this. I was glad she didn’t choose to sacrifice any of them.

Next one’s a slice of life short about Oleana as she tries to deal with Chairman Rose’s rather impromptu ideas. He tends to vanish or get sidetracked very easily. It’s clear that she’s got a tough job on her shoulders. Another good special but a lot more low key compared to most of the others. Then we have the short with Allister which is the weakest short in the series. Still not saying it’s bad or anything but the gym leader’s personality doesn’t work for me. The character doesn’t really talk and the kids don’t have enough snappy dialogue to really make the atmosphere work. It’s hard to hold your own episode after all.

Finally, we end with the kid finally getting to meet Leon. Leon helps him realize that his dream to simply meet Leon wasn’t what he was actually meant to do. The kid really wants to go out there and beat Leon and so the champion gives him a little hope that he can pull this off someday. It’s a fun way to end and while the gym leaders seem to not understand Leon (Some going as far as to say he was holding back or not taking the fight seriously) at least they all understand his strength. I like the idea of an unbeatable champion like Leon because it makes the fight with him feel all the more grand.

So those are the 7 specials. Due to the length of the specials the summaries of each special pretty much tell the whole story but I tried to keep them brief. The series is so short that you should really go ahead and check them out. Especially since it’s only 7 episodes in total. They’re all fun and it’s a nice, calm series to check out. The animation style is going for the washed out look which isn’t exactly my favorite but I think they were going for a look to try and resemble the games a bit more than the anime. Something like Generations is going a lot more traditional with vibrant colors but since this one is going for that somber atmosphere perhaps they thought it would be a little distracting. The brief fight scenes we get still look good though with a lot of shockwave effects to show the scale of the attacks.

This is more about the stories than the visuals or soundtrack though so it makes sense that this would be the focus. I can’t really recall any particular big themes either but we had no long fights that would have taken advantage of them anyway. Twilight Wings thrives on the fact that it makes no real mistakes. After watching each episode you’ll be satisfied with what you saw and can easily binge the rest of it or do one episode at a time. Hopefully we get more Pokemon web series like this in the future. I think these bite sized portions are always a good idea for any series. They help to expand the franchise and give each character more development. They could also work as brief character moments in a future game. Imagine the next Pokemon game having 5-7 minute cutscenes that play out showing a character’s origin. I think it would work rather well.


Overall, Pokemon: Twilight Wings is a solid series. I would definitely recommend it whether you are a Pokemon fan or just a general viewer of media. You don’t have to be a fan to appreciate the themes it’s going for. At the end of the day it’s about showing that you make your own path and to keep going when things are getting tough. None of the characters in the series give up and it ultimately ends up benefiting each and every one of them. The payoff may not always be as great as literally becoming champion of the world but you can still get some personal victories in the meantime. Of course aside from more mini series I would still like to have either a bug budget anime version of Pokemon Ruby (Or Omega Ruby so we get Zinnia) or Pokemon Adventures. It’s time we get more media and it’s Pokemon so it would sell really well.

Overall 7/10

Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon Review


It’s time to take a look at the final Mystery Dungeon game. It’s been a pretty fun ride getting to experience all of these games. It had to come to an end at some point though. This one definitely ends things on a high note. Not only is it the longest game in the series (or at least it took me the longest amount of time to complete) but it adds a bunch of new features that are pretty cool. This is definitely a game with a ton of replay value as well so it’s really a win-win when you think about it.

The game starts off with the main character getting transported into the Pokemon world. He used to be a human but he has lost all of his memories which is pretty unfortunate. He is attacked by some Beeheeyem and fortunately gets saved by Nuzleaf. Nuzleaf takes Terry (main character) home to his village where he meets up with Snaz (main partner) and they become quick friends. There are some bullies in the village but for the most part it’s a pretty nice place. Snaz hopes to one day become an Expedition member but kids aren’t allowed so he will keep training in the meantime. Terry does his best to fit in and has lots of adventures. Meanwhile in the main plot, someone or something has been turning Pokemon to stone. It is targeting all of the legendary and mythical Pokemon. Whoever this villain is, it’s definitely someone powerful. If the Pokemon don’t watch out they will all be conquered before they have a chance to fight back.

I definitely like the idea of someone trying to get all of the legendaries. We haven’t really seen a plot like that and it’s also a good chance for all of these Pokemon to appear. It’s definitely a cool premise and while I would have liked to have seen some of these fights on screen, I suppose that would have been difficult. Still, in terms of plot this is definitely pretty high tier and probably the game with the highest stakes. Explorers of Darkness has the best plot to me though with all of the time travel but this threat is more high tier. We even get to see the heavyweights like Mewtwo and Rayquaza. Who’d have thought that all of these guys would have had to team up? A movie based on this would be pretty cool.

The story is definitely a lot of fun. It gives you time to get introduced to all of the characters and make connections. Once the climax hits then you also get to have a lot of big battles and plot twists galore. The series also has fun flipping the script near the end as all of the games tend to have the same beginning and ending. This one throws a little wrinkle into that which I thought was pretty cool. It felt like the game was being pretty self aware there.

The gameplay is your classic dungeon exploration like the others. The goal is to reach the exit of each floor and this goes on until you end the dungeon. Each Pokemon has 4 attacks and you should use them carefully because it’s easy to run out of PP. As you go through the dungeon you’ll pick up items. A new addition here is a ring that lets you attach little items onto it in order to boost your stats or inflict status changes on the opponents. These are incredibly handy and it’ll be nearly impossible to beat some levels without it unless you do some hard grinding. There are a ton of mechanics in this game like the Alliance moves which allow you to use more than one attack at a time. I’d advise you to learn them all and fortunately the game does bring them up so you can’t really miss em.

Another new addition is if you die during a dungeon, you can rescue yourself by sending another team in. This may not be so handy at first but later on in the game you will have tons of Pokemon ready to help you out. As soon as I got my Level 50 Dragonite I was ready for business. You can only rescue yourself 5 times per dungeon though so don’t use it as an excuse to die all the time. Also, you can’t rescue yourself during a boss battle of course so play those very carefully. Leveling up in this game takes a super long time so the emphasis is really on using items. I beat this game in the 20s which is pretty unheard of for an RPG so don’t underestimate the power of items. They are extremely handy.

Another good tactic in this game is to hide behind your partner Pokemon. Let them take all of the risks while you take the rewards. Trust me, this is a tactic that will really take you far. You can use various commands to try and manipulate them but the easiest way is to walk close to an enemy and then hide behind your teammate which forces them into battle. As you battle your attacks will also gain level ups which makes them more powerful and more accurate. This is really handy if you tend to always use the same attack over and over.

Super Mystery Dungeon does a fine job of mixing elements from previous games together. I feel like they knew this was the last one because of how much this feels like the final entry. You take a quiz to determine your Pokemon like in the first games, but if you don’t like the selected one you can override the choice by just picking like in the recent 3DS title. I stayed with the results of the Exam for mine because it felt more fun that way. I ended up being Fennekin. You’ve also got your classic quest system although it has been greatly improved. It’s no longer endless so each mission feels a lot more real now. You also have all 720 Pokemon in the game so you’ve got a ton of quests since many of them want your help. There are also a lot of playable Pokemon, I unlocked around 50 of them and so I’m sure if you were to play it to 100% completion you would unlock a lot more. It’s really cool to play as everybody.

This game really takes all of the mechanics to their absolute best. While we do lose some items from previous games like the farming and building aspects, I can’t really say that they are missed. As long as we have the quests I feel pretty good about it personally. This game can be very difficult because of how low leveled your Pokemon are though. As I mentioned, obtaining EXP takes forever so you’re going to just want to plunge ahead. Use the items carefully and as the game goes on you’ll get a good feel for when to use each one. It’ll come to you. The game also does something fun with the final boss so don’t worry about losing there. Even if it feels like you aren’t getting anywhere, just keep fighting and you’ll be okay. Don’t make the mistake of quitting to try again later.

The graphics here are definitely real solid. It’s still going for that nice 3D approach and we get some fun cutscenes. A really cool visual is when we see two Pokemon firing off a giant energy blast together. It’s a fun team up and the attack is like a Kamehameha. The soundtrack is also fun. It brings back some classic tunes while adding in new ones. There aren’t really any standout themes but what we get is pretty fitting and flows pretty well together with the scenes. At this point some of the tunes will be pretty nostalgic if you’ve been following the series. The story is pretty long at around 17 hours and the post game is enormous since you have to try and find all of the Pokemon/Complete all of the quests. You won’t be completing this game very quickly that’s for sure.

Overall, Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon is pretty great. It really ends the series off on a high note. Ultimately I would rank the series as follows: 1. Pokemon Explorers of Darkness 2. Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon 3. Pokemon Gates to Infinity 4. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon the original. This one really ranks up there and it’s just hard not to get sucked into it. There’s so much to do here and every part of the game really feels like a lot of time and money was put into it. You will definitely not be disappointed in the slightest. If you don’t have this game yet then I recommend changing that. It’s a really solid Pokemon RPG.

Overall 8/10

We Love Pocket Monsters Review


It’s time to look at a super short Pokemon series. This was a small 4 koma with two chapters of around 3-4 pages each so you can see how it doesn’t take very long to read. It seems like a small advertisement of sorts for the latest Pokemon season. Ash and Go make a quick cameo as well as they help one of the girls try to catch a Pokemon. It’s nice enough, but there seriously is only so much you can do in that amount of time. 4 Koma does make sense in this respect since you can certainly get a lot more work done that way than with traditional pages. In a sense each page can have 2 really tiny stories. So this was a fun read but it’ll only last you around 5 minutes and probably less since a minute per page is pretty generous.

So the basic premise is that there are two girls who are really excited to get a Pokemon. They look a bit younger than 10 but it can be hard to guess age and I always thought you didn’t really have to be 10 to get a Pokemon outside of the main trainers. We see little kids with Pokemon in the anime all the time. A lot of the time they’re more for being pets as opposed to in actual battles though which makes sense. In the pages we quickly see their personalities. One girl is very energetic and loves just jumping into situations. Unfortunately her aggressive personality does cause Pokemon to end up running away from her which can be sad. Even Pikachu panics and zaps everyone which is something you don’t see him do much anymore. The other girl is the more laidback/reserved member who is still excited about Pokemon but does so with more restraint. Both of the characters are fun enough.

The art is all right. It’s definitely nothing amazing but it still looked good enough to me. It’s not as if it would be distracting or anything like that. It’s bright and you can follow what is going on which is ultimately what you’re hoping for here. There isn’t enough time for any fight scenes or anything like that so we don’t get to really test the artwork. Maybe someday we’ll get a full fledged story with these characters. I’d be up for that although admittedly the odds of something like that happening are incredibly slim. I just gotta face the facts that this is pretty much just a one shot though. Hey, the more one shots the better right?

Overall, This is an extremely short review but it’s an extremely short manga so I’d say that makes sense. I basically wrote 100 words per page if you break it down. There’s literally no reason for me not to recommend this because of how short it is. If you happen to see this story online then you may as well give it a read. You can’t really go wrong here and I’m always up for more Pokemon content. After wrapping up all of the Mystery Dungeon and Ranger games recently they just get me more and more hyped for the upcoming episodes in the anime. I’m hoping Ash is able to claim victory in the tournament.

Overall 5/10

Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 16h 41m

Species 55/270
Connected 55
Rank Bronze

Pokemon Stats (Level)

Terry 23
Sylveon 26
Vulpix 24
Axew 23
Salamence 50
Azumarill 28
Azurill 26
Raichu 24
Keldeo 41
Wynaut 29
Primeape 31
Politoad 32
Bellossom 38
Maractus 28
Meloetta 43
Vivillon 30
Spinda 36
Buneary 27
Virizion 42
Cubone 26
Clefairy 28
Machamp 31
Druddigon 30
Binacle 23
Helioptile 27
Goodra 50
Ludicolo 28
Charizard 38
Seviper 35
Cherrim 30
Pansear 21
Smeargle 32
Smoochum 29
Flaffy 36
Furret 37
Fearow 32
Gabite 30
Drilbur 33
Bisharp 53
Sneasel 27
Whiscash 34
Alakazam 56
Tyranitar 55
Pachirisu 29
Munchlax 23
Marshtomp 27
Petilil 33
Dragonite 55
Emolga 33
Dunsparce 34
Bayleef 25

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity Review


It’s time to take a look at the next Pokemon Mystery Dungeon game. This one actually ended up being the longest one yet so it definitely gave you time to be attached to the characters. It’s a great game and definitely one that I would recommend. While it is not quite able to top the last one, it really has no weaknesses. The mechanics are easy to pick up on and we get some pretty cool cinematics. Now there is only one Mystery Dungeon game left so I am definitely going to miss them when they’re gone.

The game starts off with Terry arriving from the human world and turning into a Pokemon. He meets up with Tepig who is trying to build a Pokemon guild so they can share paradise with him. “Paradise” is the name of the town that Tepig is creating but it’s been tough since Pokemon in this world don’t like each other which makes things pretty tricky. Terry agrees to help Tepig and initially they start by befriending local Pokemon and getting materials to build the house. We get more of a plot soon as a mysterious pair of Pokemon show up and explain that the world as we know it is about to end. The heroes will now have to buckle up and head out to protect the present, but doing so may involve destroying the future. Can Terry and Tepig really pull the trigger and make such a call?

While the plot does get pretty high tier as you would expect, it does have a longer opening act than the last title to allow you to get used to the village and the members. Since part of the plot deals with Pokemon not liking each other the game wants to really make sure you know what’s going on here before you get into the meat of the story. It’s a fun opening act though and part of why it’s solid is because Terry is solid. He talks quite a bit more than the other main characters from previous games which I think is definitely a good move. He feels like a natural leader and doesn’t rely on thought bubbles. One particularly impressive scene is when he takes down 3 bosses at once and later holds his own against another 5 before being saved. Terry is portrayed as a real fighter here and it was really a lot of fun to play as him.

The supporting cast is also pretty solid. Tepig’s a nice guy and he’s a lot more reasonable than your partner from the last game. Tepig at least always tries to do the right thing and doesn’t keep hounding on the other characters over mild matters. Emolga and Dunsparce have a good bond between them. I like that Emolga was always ready to step up for his friend and make the hard calls. If anything Dunsparce was just less impressive because he was a bit too gullible and obsessed with Virizion. Virizion was solid as one of the wise characters and while she didn’t really believe in friends, I couldn’t really blame her for that. She certainly did not have the best prior experiences with them. I also loved having her on the party because of how powerful she was.

Umbreon and Espeon are pretty solid. They are definitely very business oriented so they don’t mess around as much as the others. The Voice of Life made for a pretty interesting character. Just from the name you can tell that this guy has quite a lot of power. Unfortunately I have to give him a thumbs down here because at the end of the day he keeps saying that he has no choice and can’t really do anything about anything but you gotta be able to do more than that when you have cosmic powers. What’s the point if at the end of the day you’re not going to use them? Kyurem was definitely cool though. All of his scenes were definitely pretty hype and he had a menacing air about him. His goal also wasn’t all that bad. It was actually very reasonable which made him a compelling antagonist.

One subplot in the game that I don’t think was really needed though was Keldeo. The plot wouldn’t have really changed almost any part of the story so if you cut him out it all works out quite nicely. He tries to talk a bit tough by the end but nobody’s buying that. As for Kyurem’s position that I mentioned earlier, it’s basically that you shouldn’t change the future just because you don’t like it. The whole concept of the game is that we’re going to change the future because it turns out to be an apocalyptic one while Kyurem’s saying that it has to be preserved. I’ve always been for changing the timestream so I’m not objective in the slightest but I’m with the heroes here. If it’s a bad future then you’ve got to change it.

Additionally, it’s Kyurem’s view that we’re changing the future. Last I checked, the whole game takes place in the present so his argument loses a lot of steam. So long as we did not build a time machine or something it’s all fair game if you ask me. So in effect by trying to stop us he’s changing the future just as much. No future is certain unless you’re actively moving through time. Thanos for example has a stronger case since the Avengers got salty that they lost and started playing with time. That’s not what the heroes are doing here.

The gameplay is your traditional overhead turn based combat. It plays out a bit like a Fire Emblem game only you are moving through a dungeon. You recover health as you move and the goal is always to get to the final dungeon where you may or may not fight a boss. You have 4 different attacks and can have up to 3 partners with you. Be careful, your main partner will count as a second life so if one of you dies then the whole mission is a fail. Just something to watch out for because your partners tend to take really big risks for some reason.

Also, make sure you have a good amount of items before tackling the final boss. I had saved up a ton of them throughout the game so I was ready for it. Otherwise, you could be in for a pickle because the game saves after the first form of the final boss so if you’re not ready to fight the real one then you could end up being stuck in a loop. Hopefully there’s a way out of that but I didn’t intend on risking everything to find out. That’s why I always keep items in the bank for tricky situations like that. I was really glad I had the stash when I walked into the fight. One tip I have is to use the orbs you get during the levels. You get some that will put every Pokemon to sleep for example and they are incredibly handy.

The main campaign should definitely last you a clean 15 hours at the least. Aside from that the game has a ton of content to explore. You can get materials and money to build up the town and make a lot of gardens. I didn’t really play around with this feature, but there’s a lot you can do here. Additionally there are a bunch of extra dungeons and Pokemon to recruit to your cause. You can also work on maxing your guild’s rank up. If you do all of this the game should really last you for quite a long time. Then we get to the graphics and soundtrack which are both quite solid. The soundtrack has some catchy tunes even if none of them are all stars. The graphics are particularly impressive with each of the characters having a 3D model now. That’s not something we’ve really seen a whole lot so it was pretty fun.

Overall, Gates to Infinity is definitely a great game. The gameplay is tight and naturally the graphics/soundtrack are good as well. You’ll have a lot of fun here and aside from a pretty solidly long story you’ve also got a whole lot of post game content to work with. I expect you’ll definitely be kept busy with this game for quite some time. I doubt the price would be too crazy nowadays and either way this game has enough content to really make it worth your while. We really need more Pokemon spinoffs to come out soon because they’ve been pretty dynamite. Pokemon lends itself well to the RPG format.

Overall 8/10

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 16h 12m
Quests Completed 58
Rank: Silver
Gold Bars 21

Character Levels

Tepig 39
Terry 39
Pansear 25
Woobat 2
Venipede 16
Sandile 21
Yamask 24
Emolga 39
Dunsparce 6
Espeon 27
Umbreon 26
Hydreigon 64
Virizion 37
Keldeo 50

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers of Darkness Review


It’s time to take a look at the next installment in the Mystery Dungeon series. I haven’t played one of these in a long while, but the first game was a lot of fun. Also, I own the next two games in the series so now I can start a bit of a marathon. In general the Pokemon spinoffs have all been pretty great. Just look at Pokken and Pokemon Ranger which have been a blast. Well, Mystery Dungeon can definitely hold its own with those big shots as well. This one ups the stakes and brings a pretty cool plot. It’s definitely a great game.

The title starts off with the main character losing his memory and being transformed into a Pokemon. Fortunately Pikachu stops by the Beach and decides to be Terry’s (the main character) friend. Pikachu wants to join the Guild which is where all of the various Dungeon teams go to team up and help out the world. Pikachu isn’t very brave though so Terry decides to help him achieve these dreams. Together the two of them solve many odd jobs and fit in pretty well. Things get serious though when a mysterious Pokemon begins stealing Time Wheels from around the world. If this continues to go on then the whole world will end up being frozen as time will be stopped. Can the heroes stop such a powerful villain?

I always like time travel. It may have a tendency to introduce plot holes into a series or not be utilized well in others, but it offers up so many different possibilities that I feel like you have to at least give it a whirl. This game handles it quite well. We get a few plot twists in the story as well. It’s fair to say that you’ll probably see a lot of them coming, but it doesn’t weaken the impact of these plots. The main campaign’s around 13 hours long so you’re given a lot of time to be introduced to the characters and get attached to them. There’s also a bit of a post game here to look at as well.

Now lets look at the gameplay here. It’s an overhead turn based combat system where you control the actual Pokemon. There can be up to 4 of you in a party although you only control the main character. The others are around to help out on the side. Be warned though that if Pikachu loses in combat then that will apply to you as well. There are certain ways you can at least control what your allies will do via tactics and turning off moves though. For example Pikachu learns an attack called Discharge later on which is incredibly powerful so after that I would turn off the other moves. That effectively forces him to use it until he runs out of PP. The move has 8 PP so you’ll need to switch it out again pretty quick.

The bosses could be pretty tricky here at times. If you don’t take them out fast or just some kind of technique to lower their stats you could really be in trouble here. Then there are the random monster houses that pop up which are probably even tougher than most of the bosses. If you run into one then it’s probably game over. Each dungeon ranges from 8-20 floors. So wherever you last passed a checkpoint is where you would be warped to. You also lose your money and a bunch of items so you are encouraged not to lose too often.

The dungeon system is pretty interesting because you’ve always got a pretty good sense of where you are in the game. They’re also just fun to explore in. The only mechanic I didn’t like here is when sand would randomly show up. It buffets your team members every few steps and if you have a full team of 4 that’s a lot of messages to keep clicking out of. It also seems to effect all dungeons until the effect randomly goes away. I understand that this is probably to add more drama to the dungeon since you’re constantly taking damage but since you heal more health than it can take away while walking it still feels pretty pointless in the end.

One other angle that’s not too interesting is how there are a few recycled animations every time you go to sleep and wake up again. You have to watch the heroes eat dinner every time and sometimes you are randomly chosen to watch out for foot prints which triggers a minigame and ends the whole day. I’d definitely be game with that being removed from the sequels. It’s just not needed and if anything it just wastes time. The post game hints that you won’t have to worry about these things anymore once you beat the hidden boss which hints that the game knew this would be a bit of a hassle as well.

In terms of characters, Terry’s pretty great as always. He’s very heroic and is always ready to make the hero call when necessary. He’s someone you can count on. His partner Pikachu isn’t quite as interesting. He’s a little too quick to believe whatever the villains say and has a hard time keeping up with the plot even when it’s not all that difficult. When someone tries to murder you, you should probably connect the dots that this character must be evil. The Guild is fun enough. Their leader Wigglytuff is a bit annoying at first but since he can actually fight I did gain some respect for him. At least that means he can be powerful when the need arises.

Grovile and Dusknoir are both pretty interesting characters. It makes for an interesting dynamic in the game and is also a pretty serious plot that works out well. Finally, we’ve got Dialga who is excellent in this game. We even get a cool time travel scene where Dialga and Celebi square off. Both of them are known for their mastery over time of course although I suspect everyone already knows that Dialga would have the edge in such a confrontation. You just can’t hope to beat one of those guys.

The graphics are pretty solid. There are quite a lot of Pokemon here which are nice to see and occasionally you’ll get a cutscene that is almost animated as the pictures light up and have some special effects. That always helps to add some weight to the moment. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which has some really nice themes in it. In particular one great theme is when Dusknoir grabs the heroes. That theme is always really epic and one of the best that I’ve heard in a spinoff lately. I still can’t go as far as to say that it beats the themes in the main games though because those are pretty phenomenal.

Overall, Explorers of Darkness is a great game. The RPG story can really hold its own and the ending is pretty emotional. Make sure you stick around after the credits because there is an extra scene. This is definitely one of the best stories I’ve seen in a Pokemon title. It’s going to be very difficult for the next Dungeon game to pass this one but it’s always possible since the game is on an upwards trend. The next one also makes the jump to the 3DS system so that should be pretty interesting. If you haven’t checked this game out yet then you should. It really shows you just what the Pokemon series is capable of.

Overall 8/10

Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs Review


Time to look at the final Pokemon Ranger game and definitely the one with the most ambitious story. I really don’t remember the first game’s plot all that much but I actually enjoyed the second quite a bit. Ultimately I would put this as the best Pokemon Ranger game though. All of the mechanics are at their peak and I enjoyed the whole Signs system. It’s nice to finally be able to have abilities of your own without having to worry about catching Pokemon all of the time. These quality of life updates along with incredible gameplay and a sound story make this a very solid all around Pokemon game.

The game starts with Terry and Summer flying to the next region as they chase the Pokemon Poachers. Unfortunately they are defeated by one of the enemy generals known as Red Eyes and crash on the island. Summer has been kidnapped and Terry’s Capture Arm is damaged so he can’t capture Pokemon. The villains have also taken out the comms tower so he can’t alert HQ about this. Terry meets up with the lone ranger on the island and his family who help him fix his tech. Terry must now find Summer and stop this villain group from concocting their evil plans. Can Terry manage to do this or will the Pokemon Poachers stay one step ahead of him? This won’t be an easy task, but someone’s gotta do it.

The fact that the villains actually shoot the heroes down in the opening cutscene is a pretty powerful start for them. It’s not every day that a group is able to beat the heroes like that. Along the course of the game they also beat up the Ranger Boss, Blow up an entire island, and even take down some Legendary Pokemon. There are also quite a few twists about the main villains and who the true boss was. This game did everything it could to make the Pokemon Poachers a legitmite threat and I’d say that they succeeded. Now keep in mind that this is still Pokemon so there are a lot of underlings who are comic relief as well. Not all of them are ready to deal with the rangers. The stakes are here though and all of the main villains were quite solid. I gotta give the game kudos for taking more of a bold approach to the story.

The cast is solid on both sides of the ball. For the villains my favorite member would be Red Eyes. He made for an imposing fighter and he liked a good challenge. Blue Eyes was also solid and got a lot of development. Then you’ve also got the other villains who are neat. The game gives a lot of them fairly open endings which leaves room for a sequel if Nintendo ever wanted to do that. I’m still surprised that we haven’t gotten a new Pokemon Ranger game since this one. It seems to me like there is a lot of potential here for more games.

As for the heroes, Summer is a solid partner. I did expect her to use some more Pokemon or help out in combat a bit more though. In theory she is about as skilled as the main character so having a nice parallel with her taking down some of the villains would have been neat. Instead she usually just watches as you take down the villains. Then you have the local ranger and his family who are around and rooting for you. They help with tech and figuring out the villains plans. It’s all about teamwork in this one.

Then you’ve got the actual gameplay which as I mentioned is pretty great. So instead of traditional Pokemon battles you have an electronic capture net. How it works is you have to draw lines around a Pokemon until his capture meter goes all the way up and you win the battle. Once a Pokemon is captured then you can use him to weaken other Pokemon or use his ability to get past an obstacle on the map. Be warned that once you use a Pokemon’s ability in the map then he leaves your party. The only Pokemon you get to keep around with you the entire time is Pichu as every Ranger game gives you one buddy. It’s a very interesting system that also forces you to time tings well. When you summon a Pokemon in battle don’t let him get hit or you’ll lose him. Additionally when drawing your circles don’t let your line touch an enemy attack or you deal damage. Some Pokemon can be hard to capture because they are always attacking.

When outside of combat you can also level up your Styler so that it has more defense, attack, or other stats. I maxed out power as soon as possible because that lets you capture opponents quicker which is how I roll. I like the glass cannon approach. It really forces you to play the game carefully and then rewards this with how much power you deal. I managed to make it through the whole game without dying so I can tell you that this is a pretty good strategy worth pursuing. As long as you are confident in your passing abilities then there should be no problem here.

As for the graphics, they are definitely really good. The level designs have never been better and the battles look good as well. We do get the occasional cutscene in the background which is good as well. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is pretty catchy. I like the Poacher theme and the boss themes near the end are also pretty good. The themes build up the suspense and ultimately have a nice variety which is always important. The game really delivers when it counts.

The main campaign is around 13 hours long which is pretty good. There’s also a good amount of replay value when it comes to capturing all species of Pokemon and clearing all of the quests. That should take you a pretty good amount of time to achieve. Once you have that all done then I suppose there won’t be much more to do, but you’ll have played enough to justify the purchase if you ask me. It’s not every day that you get to play a Pokemon game like this one.

Overall, Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs is a solid way to end this part of the franchise. I’m sure that someday we will get a new entry but it has been quite a long time since Signs came out so we may have to wait until the game is old enough for a nostalgic revival of the series. In the meantime if you haven’t played these games yet then you definitely should. It’s not likely that it will ever pass the main Pokemon series but this is one of the best spinoff series that I have played. It keeps the top level quality you would expect from the main series and never lets up.

Overall 8/10

Pokemon Black Review


It’s time to take a look at one of the most iconic Pokemon games of all time. Pokemon Black/White got a whole lot of hype and recognition when it first came out. It had one of the biggest stories back in the day and a massive postgame. Well, it’s all deserved. After playing the game I can definitely see why it is known as one of the all time greats. This game really had everything you could ask for and then some. The main campaign does feel a bit short though. In terms of play time it is the shortest Pokemon game I ever played with only 14 hours before being completed. Yes, that’s even counting Pokemon Ranger and Mystery Dungeon.

The game starts with Terry getting ready to be a Pokemon Trainer. He has two rivals in this game, Bianca and Cheren. Both of them want to be the best as well but of course the best they can hope for is second place at this point. Terry won’t let go of the 1st spot. One obstacle in his path though is Team Plasma. They are an organization that believes Pokemon battling is wrong and intends to separate all of the Pokemon from their trainers. While most of the members are radical and downright evil, it is a very interesting premise. The idea of Pokemon battling in any setting other than the Utopia Pokemon exists in would be quite sinister. I’d actually be on Team Plasma’s team to an extent but of course in this game they are the villains so don’t expect them to be too reasonable.

The most neutral character within the team is N. He really believes in the cause and tries to do things the right way. He takes down the Pokemon League including the Champion just to prove that he is the best. He’s not running around committing crimes or anything like that. At the same time he is helping Plasma though so you do have to acknowledge that he is at least complicit in what is going on. He’s effectively acting as an accomplice the whole time. He’s one of the best villains that I’ve seen in a Pokemon game though. The whole climax of the story is also great with a lot of difficult battles and they’re all back to back. I can’t think of another time where I actually felt such a sense of danger and tension while playing through a Pokemon game. It was really quite impressive.

I actually lost to the first few gym leaders a few times. Then when I hit the Elite Four I got slammed by the first member. Granted in part it’s because it takes forever and a day to get the two EXP shares in this game though. Once I obtained them grinding was a lot more efficient. It was fun to actually see wild Pokemon who were stronger than all of my characters except for the main one though. Even when I finally got Reshiram he was stronger than 5 of my Pokemon which was pretty crazy. The game doesn’t hold back in the difficulty and I rather enjoyed that. It made things fresh and kept you on the edge the whole time.

The gameplay is basically the same as always. It’s a classic turn based combat system where you assemble a team of 6 and work to defeat all of the other trainers. There are also caves and such to navigate around as you try to get to the end. Most of the HMs are gone in this game but you will still need Cut at some point. None of the others are mandatory for beating the game which is pretty cool. It’s always sad when you have to throw these moves on a Pokemon because they could have used the spots for something better. I do recommend using Fly once you get it though. It saves you a lot of the legwork. The game follows the usual formula for the most part as you obtain the 8 badges and then fight the Elite Four. The main difference is how you get to skip the Champion and having a real final showdown in the castle at the end. I don’t think Pokemon’s ever really changed things up at the last second like this before so it was pretty awesome.

The graphics look great as always. The sprites are on point and we do get a few cutscenes here. The scene of Zekrom shattering the windows and showing up was pretty cool. It’s always nice to see Legendary Pokemon actually looking legendary. This guy got a lot of hype and it was all pretty deserved. Meanwhile the soundtrack is one of the best that I’ve seen. Pretty much every theme is amazing and I even liked the Team Plasma jingle for whenever you fight one of their minions. This game felt really high budget and was probably around GameFreak’s peak. It takes the best out of the past Pokemon elements while ditching the unnecessary ones. Mix that in with a bigger plot than usual as well as extra rivals and you have a winning formula.

As I mentioned the story is only around 14 hours but when you mix in the post game and catching all of the Pokemon I’m sure you will be here for at least 30 hours. There is a lot to explore and based on the difficulty for the main game I’m guessing that the postgame will be quite challenging as well. It’ll take a while to get your team geared up to deal with all of the threats left. Especially since all of the limited edition Gamestop Pokemon are long gone by now. You won’t be able to rely on them to win you the day.

Overall, Pokemon Black is an excellent game. If you like RPGs at all then I highly recommend checking it out. Pokemon Ruby is ultimately still my favorite Pokemon main game of all time but I would certainly put this in 2nd place. It’s just a ton of fun and delivers a complete experience. I’m definitely pretty hyped to get the sequel at some point. Black 2 and Heartgold are now the only two big Pokemon games that I don’t have yet. Once I have them then I will have finally gone through the entire series which is pretty cool. I do aim to play some more Pokemon games in the near future though so it’s going to be time to dust off the spinoffs.