The Pokémon franchise has always been a hot seller for Nintendo across all of their consoles. Every time a new game is made with Pokémon in the title, tons of Poke-maniacs run to stores in hopes of another chance to catch them all. And while many times the quality of the games has lived up to the hype built up for them, there are a few instances where even a franchise like Pokémon can fall short. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity is one of those titles where the game does not live up to the established legacy of the Pokémon name. Pokémon fans out there should be prepared; this game has a lot going wrong for anyone who loves the Pokémon franchise.
One of the first things anyone should know is that Mystery Dungeon is not like any traditional Pokémon game, despite many features drawing parallels to the beloved cannon games. The Mystery Dungeon series is instead a spin-off that focuses on making players take the role of a Pokémon rather than a trainer. In Gates to Infinity, players are magically turned into a Pokémon of their choice and are thrown into a world where Pokémon populate the towns and landscape. The big draw for the Mystery Dungeon series is the many areas, or dungeons, that players can explore and combat many varieties of species of Pokémon. There is a main story following the chronicles of the Mystery Dungeons and the effects they have on Pokémon that live in the area, but it is very shallow and lacks any real depth that will keep many interested in the plot.
Things really start to go downhill when one jumps head first into the gameplay that Gates to Infinity offers. Players control their Pokémon of choice from the beginning of the game and move around in towns and dungeons, battling rival Pokémon and collecting items and equipment along the way. While the ability to roam around is smooth and done in real time, everything comes to a screeching halt once Pokémon enter combat. Similar to combat from past Pokémon games in the series, as well as some elements from Pokémon Rumble, the combat is done in turns of attacks between each Pokémon on screen. While this may seem good on paper, in action during gameplay it completely falls apart. The makers of the game seem to have been caught in a bind when making the mechanics of the combat, where in one spot it has the feel of real time action, while in another it is slowed to a crawl with turn based attacks. This game would have benefited very much had the decision to use the combat from a game like Pokémon Rumble was used, where the action is fast and constantly moving, instead of flip-flopping between both play styles. There is some strategy that is involved when choosing the best party to enter a specific dungeon populated with certain types of Pokémon, but this all becomes mute in some scenarios that almost make no sense in relation to the Pokémon franchise. On some occasions, you may find yourself using an attack that should be super-effective on a type of Pokémon, like using an electric attack on a water-type, but instead are told that the attack is ineffective without any explanation.