The official Pokemon site has been updated with new information about the upcoming Wiiware games, Onward! Flame Rescue Team, Go! Storm Rescue Team, and Dream! Light Rescue Team. The games will be released on August 4th in Japan, for 1200 Wii points ($12) apiece. Like the other Wiiware Pokemon games, My Pokemon Ranch and Melee! Pokemon Scramble, these games feature simplified, 3D, Mii-style Pokemon models. However, it is important to note that these games were produced by Chunsoft (the company that worked on the previous Pokemon Dungeon titles) and not Ambrella (which made Pokemon Ranch and Pokemon Scramble).
Each version of the game features a slightly different version of the hub town, different starting Pokemon, and different missions. Flame Rescue Team takes place in the volcanic Pokemon Village and emphasizes Fire-Type Pokemon. The starting Pokemon are Charmander, Cyndaquil, Torchic, Chimchar, Vulpix, Growlithe, Eevee, Teddiursa, and Buneary. Storm Rescue Team takes place on Pokemon Beach, emphasizes Water-Type Pokemon, and has Squirtle, Totodile, Mudkip, Piplup, Wooper, Azurill, Phanpy, Riolu, and Wynaut as its starters. Light Rescue Team takes place in the forested Pokemon Garden and emphasizes Electric-Types. Pichu, Pikachu, Shinx, Pachirisu, Elekid, Mareep, Psyduck, Togepi, and Meowth are available from the start. While previous iterations of Pokemon Dungeon assigned your starter based on a personality profile, this time you can apparently choose your starter from the nine Pokemon available.
Gameplay involves taking your team of up to four Pokemon into mazes (the titular mysterious dungeons), and battling through multiple floors of enemies until you find either the exit or a set target such as a Pokemon that needs to be rescued. Along the way, your Pokemon will gain experience, items, money, and possibly even recruit new team members. The layout of the dungeons changes with every visit, keeping the game fresh and challenging. Support is provided by the townspeople. As in previous games, Kangaskhan can hold items, Duskull runs a bank, and Kecleon has a shop. Slaking and Gastrodon also appear, though their role is not yet clear (probably dojo master and move tutor). Slowking is the village Elder, and apparently assigns new missions. Arceus also plays a role in the story.
Two major changes have been made to the gameplay, which sets these titles apart from other Pokemon Dungeon games. First, while in the previous Pokemon Dungeon games, Pokemon couldn’t evolve until the endgame for story purposes, in the Wiiware games Pokemon can evolve as soon as they reach the proper level. What’s more, if they level up in the middle of a battle, they can evolve right then and there! However, this ability works both ways–enemy Pokemon can also evolve midbattle. The second change is the introduction of the Pokemon Tower. Your team members can climb on each other’s shoulders to form a “tower”. While like this, the Pokemon move and fight as a unit, combining their stats to drastically improve their overall strength. Of course, enemies can also form Pokemon Towers…
The game makes use of the Wii’s online capabilities, allowing players to trade Pokemon and download special missions. It also improves upon the SOS feature from previous games by making full use of the Wii-mail system. The SOS feature works like this: Normally, if your team is Knocked Out during a mission, you lose half your money, half your items, and have to restart the dungeon from scratch. However, if you have WiiConnect24 turned on, you can send a message to the people on your friends list requesting a rescue. Your friends then play through the same dungeon that your team last entered, and if they successfully reach your team, your Pokemon will be revived and allowed to continue from where you left off. Throughout this process, Wii-mail keeps both players apprised of the other team’s progress.
Finally, the games will have some sort of connectivity with the DS, at the very least allowing players to use it as a controller. Whether or not this allows for some form of remote play remains to be seen.
We’ll have more information, including a walkthrough, when the game is released next month!