Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Magnagate

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity review

It's no great surprise that the Pokémon are, traditionally, speechless creatures. The series aims to recreate the sense of joy that its creator Satoshi Tajiri experienced during lingering childhood summer holidays when he would head from his family home on the outskirts of Tokyo to search the surrounding undergrowth in search of mini-beasts, cataloguing each one he caught in a notepad bought for him by his parents. The joyful sense of disciplined collection and classification Tajiri hoped to conjure in his game would dissipate if the monsters could talk.

Less generously, this is also a game series in which teenagers injure small animals till they're too weak to resist capture, before fighting them against one another in a Saturday morning cartoon approximation of cock fighting. Small wonder Nintendo neglected to gift the Pokémon language. Their cries for emancipation would surely echo loud around every corner of Unova.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, the first 3DS title in Chunsoft's line of rogue-like spin-offs to the series, bucks the trend by casting the player as a Pokémon trainer who has been turned into one of the diminutive creatures and, as a result, speaks fluent Pikachu. The game's writers have grasped the opportunity offered by the premise with both paws, delivering great swathes of un-skippable dialogue. This has the mild benefit of making us party to the rather asinine thoughts and motivations of the Pokémon cast, but it does so at the expense of pacing and accessibility.

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