Mystery Dungeon game mechanics

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Reason: hunger and friend rescue

The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series mechanics differ from those used in the core series Pokémon games. The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series games are dungeon-crawlers in nature; as a result, some staple elements of the Pokémon series have been altered or excluded entirely.


There are a number of differences between the mechanics of Pokémon in the core games and those of Mystery Dungeon:

Base stats

  • Effort values (EVs) and individual values (IVs) are not elements of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. Instead, each Pokémon has a set of base stats, which increase by fixed amounts when they level up. Stats may further increase through the use of Gummis, health drinks, Sitrus Berries, and other items. Non-HP stats can be raised to a maximum of 255; HP can be raised to at most 500 in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, or 999 in other games.
  • Prior to Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, each Pokémon has a fixed body size that is represented as a number from 0 to 4. When taking a team into a dungeon, the combined body size of the Pokémon in the team may not exceed a certain amount (at most of any dungeon, 6). Note that certain dungeons may restrict this further, and may also restrict the sheer number of Pokémon allowed in the dungeon.
  • The Speed stat did not exist prior to Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon. The Speed stat varies in effect from the core series as it affects accuracy, along with affecting moves like Electro Ball. In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, the Speed stat also affects the chance of a Pokémon using a move twice instead of once in a single turn.
  • Travel Speed is an aspect of all Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, not to be confused with the Speed stat. Travel Speed determines the number of actions that can be taken in a turn. Travel Speed can be altered by moves and Abilities that affect Speed in the core series, such as Agility, Scary Face, or Speed Boost. Paralysis cuts Travel Speed in half, and Ice-type Pokémon will have increased Travel Speed in snowy weather.
  • Stat changes from natures do not exist in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon.


Prior to Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, Pokémon with two Abilities will have both at the same time (instead of just one). From Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity onward, all Pokémon have only one Ability. In Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, Pokémon with two possible Abilities can have their Ability changed at Hawlucha's Slam School if the player has a Lucha Token. No Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series games have included Hidden Abilities.

In addition, some Abilities differ from their counterparts in the core series:


Evolution does not occur automatically; instead, it must be manually triggered. Evolution is explained in Story Mode as an effect of the world being in a state of danger. The ability of Pokémon to evolve must be unlocked through the course of Story Mode (in Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team, Rayquaza must be defeated, while in Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness, the Wigglytuff's Guild must be defeated). Similarly, in both Gates to Infinity and Super Mystery Dungeon, players can evolve after both completing the game and reuniting the main character and partner.

Some of the mechanics of evolution in the Mystery Dungeon series which differ from the main series games are:

  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Blue/Red Rescue Team, evolution does not instantly make a Pokémon stronger, unlike in the core series games; however, as of Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky, evolution does immediately increase stats.
  • Starting with Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, enemy Pokémon are also able to evolve, and will do so if they defeat one of the player's party Pokémon. This is actually a very old feature that has been present in non-Pokémon entries in the Mystery Dungeon franchise for a very long time (in one sense, it goes back to the very first game in the Mystery Dungeon franchise, though it worked slightly differently there). The sound effect that is used for Enemy Pokémon evolving after defeating a party Pokémon is the exact same one used in other Mystery Dungeon games for the aforementioned long-standing equivalent mechanic.
  • Super Mystery Dungeon was the first Generation VI game in the series and thus features Mega Evolution. It is achieved by attaching an Awakening Emera on to a Looplet.
  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, enemy Pokémon are no longer able to evolve to a different species in a dungeon. However, when an enemy Pokémon defeats another Pokémon, it will obtain the Awakened status and may undergo Mega Evolution if eligible.

Because of the different mechanics of Pokémon evolution, certain evolutions have been modified to require particular items:

  • Prior to Super Mystery Dungeon, Pokémon that evolve under special conditions in the main series games evolve as follows:
    • Pokémon that must be traded in order to evolve instead require the Link Cable.
    • Feebas requires the Beauty Scarf to evolve into Milotic.
    • Pokémon that require high friendship to evolve instead require that their IQ be sufficiently high (which differs among Pokémon).
    • Magneton and Nosepass require the Coronet Rock to evolve into Magnezone and Probopass, respectively.
    • Pokémon that evolve in the daytime instead require the Sun Ribbon.
    • Pokémon that evolve at night instead require the Lunar Ribbon.
    • Eevee requires a Mossy Rock to evolve into Leafeon, or an Icy Rock to evolve into Glaceon.
  • In Super Mystery Dungeon, evolutionary items do not exist, and Pokémon that usually require these items to evolve will not need them and be able to evolve regardless.
  • In Rescue Team DX, evolution items are replaced by Evolution Crystals. Pokémon that would usually require an item to evolve in previous Mystery Dungeon games instead evolve using Evolution Crystals.


Main article: Recruitment

Instead of catching Pokémon (as in the core series games), Pokémon may be recruited to the player's team. Recruitment rates are different for each Pokémon and can be increased by factors such as the level of the team leader and any items being held. Some dungeons may prevent recruitment while some Pokémon must be recruited by special means. In Super Mystery Dungeon, Pokémon are no longer recruited, but must be connected with using the Connection Orb this was changed in the game's successor; Rescue Team DX going back to the previous method.


The Mystery Dungeon series introduced Level 1 Pokémon, an aspect which was not introduced until Generation IV of the core series. Wild Pokémon, guest Pokémon, or new Pokémon who ask to join after a mission is completed may be level 1. Evolved Pokémon may also be encountered at lower levels than those at which they would have evolved. In Rescue Team DX, however, the minimum level that Pokémon can be is Level 5.

Most Ghost-type Pokémon, as well as Darkrai, can walk through wall tiles; notable exceptions include Sableye and Froslass. While on a wall tile, they cannot be attacked by ordinary moves and attacks, but can attack their foes. Certain moves such as Vacuum-Cut, Lava Plume, and Thunderbolt can affect Pokémon that are on a wall tile. However, their belly empties at a rate of 5 per step.

Flying-type Pokémon can move over air tiles, while Water-type or Flying-type Pokémon can move over Water tiles. Fire-type or Flying-type Pokémon can move through Lava tiles, but Flying-type Pokémon will sustain a Burn if they do not also have a primary or secondary Fire typing.

In the Mystery Dungeon series, the player's party size is limited to four Pokémon at a time, instead of the standard six. Starting with Super Mystery Dungeon, this is reduced to three, but with a seemingly unlimited number of guest Pokémon at times. In Rescue Team DX, the player's main party is limited to three Pokémon, but escort or recruited Pokémon in a dungeon can increase the party size up to a maximum of eight members.



All Pokémon have a standard attack which deals typeless damage. This regular attack does not expend PP when used. Pokémon may also have up to four special attacks in addition to their regular attack. Prior to Gates to Infinity, the standard attack was much more powerful and dealt damage according to the usual rules using Attack and Defense Stats. However, in Gates to Infinity and later games, the move deals 5 HP damage regardless of stats. In Rescue Team DX, the standard attack cannot be used under normal circumstances; however, it may still be used by Pokémon which have no moves selected for use but still have PP in their moves preventing the use of Struggle.

Special attacks may be linked together, wherein the linked moves are done in succession (in which case one PP is taken from each move). Moves can be linked at the Gulpin Link Shop in Blue and Red Rescue Team and Rescue Team DX, and at the Electivire Link Shop in Explorers of Time and Darkness. In other Mystery Dungeon games, the ability to link moves was replaced by alternative mechanics. Gates to Infinity introduced Team Attacks, large-scale attacks used by every member of the team in a dungeon, while Super Mystery Dungeon introduced Alliances, a simultaneous attack by all party members on a single target.

Many individual moves have differences from the core series games. For example:

  • Some attacks that inflict specific HP damage (like Sonic Boom) have a different set HP.
  • Prior to Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, Transform only changes the form of the user, not their moves.
  • Self-Destruct and Explosion will not necessarily knock out the user of the move. Instead, any team Pokémon within range (one tile for Self-Destruct, two for Explosion) will have their maximum HP cut in half, and any opposing Pokémon within range will receive 40 damage for Self-Destruct and 80 for Explosion. Note that Fire-types will receive only half damage from these moves. Any items within range are destroyed, and any wall tiles in range are converted to floor tiles.

There are two attacks specific to the Mystery Dungeon series: Wide Slash and Vacuum-Cut. No Pokémon learn either naturally, but all Pokémon that can use TMs can learn them through TM.

Moves that may be used by team members in dungeons can be switched on or off, meaning they are selected or deselected for use. Certain tactics are also available which will direct how teammates attack and traverse through dungeons. In Blue and Red Rescue Team and Explorers of Time, Darkness and Sky, the availability of tactics depends on the team leader's level.


Main article: Damage modification (Mystery Dungeon)
  • Type effectiveness has been greatly changed:
    • "Super effective" attacks will only deal 1.4× damage instead of 2× damage as in the core games.
    • Attacks that are "not very effective" will deal 0.7× damage instead of 0.5× as in the core games.
    • Attacks to which the attacked Pokémon is "immune" (called "ineffective attacks" here) deal 0.5× damage instead of no damage as in the core games. However, as in the core games, Pokémon may be immune to certain status conditions based on its type (for example, Arbok remains immune to Toxic). Note that the effects of Abilities remain unchanged (for example, Ground-type attacks still have no effect against Pokémon who can Levitate).
  • The damage bonus that critical hits provide is only 1.5×, instead of the 2× modifier in the core games prior to Generation VI.
  • Each move has an inherent Critical Hit rate, which may be modified with items (such as the Scope Lens) or IQ abilities (like Type-Advantage Master). The use of Focus Energy ensures that special attacks used within a few turns become Critical Hits.

Status conditions

Main article: Status condition (Mystery Dungeon)

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon introduced its own series of status conditions, of which any number may occur at once. These range from the conventional statuses (Paralysis, Poison, etc.) to "pseudo-statuses" (Confusion, Attraction, Flinching (here called Cringing), etc.). Statuses may be inflicted to account for two-turn attacks (i.e. SolarBeam or Sky Attack), low-priority moves (i.e. Counter, Endure, or Vital Throw), or moves whose effects last multiple turns (Mist, Safeguard, Charge, Perish Song, Taunt, Encore, etc.).

  • The duration of status conditions may also differ between Mystery Dungeon and the core series; most notable is that Paralysis, Leg Hold (affected from Arena Trap or Magnet Pull), and most other statuses are temporary. Burn and Poison remain permanent, however all status conditions are removed upon entering the next floor of a dungeon. In addition, Pokémon may be affected with both Sleep and Paralysis, and (much like in the TCG) other status ailments may replace previous ones. For instance, a Poisoned Pokémon may become Paralyzed instead.
  • Pokémon will never attack themselves while Confused. However, they may move or attack in a random direction (including hitting teammates). Note that Confusion does not affect thrown items.
  • Mystery Dungeon introduces a new, exclusive status called hunger. Hunger occurs when the Pokémon's Belly drops to zero. Before the player's belly drops to zero, starting at 20 Belly, the game will begin displaying the message "Getting hungry...". Then, at 10 Belly, the game will display "Getting dizzy from hunger...". Once the player's Belly reaches zero, the screen will begin flashing yellow around the perimeter, with the game displaying "Oh, no! Your Belly's empty!" / "Hurry! You've got to eat something!" / "You'll faint from hunger!" From this point forward, the Pokémon cannot recover HP naturally, and each turn that passes while the Pokémon's Belly is empty, it will lose 1 HP (or 3 HP in Rescue Team DX), eventually causing the Pokémon to faint. Eating a food item such as an Apple will remedy this status condition.


  • Defeating a Pokémon using at least one special move will yield twice as much experience. Note that an opposing Pokémon using moves on itself (for example, Synthesis) counts towards receiving the experience bonus when that Pokémon is defeated, but using special moves that miss the opponent (or that hit, but inflict no damage) does not count.
  • Defeating a Pokémon using linked moves will yield 50% more experience.
  • If an enemy were to faint by means other than the party attacking it (such as by the effects of a sandstorm), the members of the party will not gain any experience points.
  • All team members in the party gain experience, whether or not they attack the opponent.
  • In Gates To Infinity and Rescue Team DX, all Pokémon on the player's team will receive experience, regardless of whether or not they were in the party that entered the dungeon.
    • However, in Rescue Team DX, if a team member has the Rare Quality XP Boost, only Pokémon that are on the team in the dungeon receive double the experience points; all other Pokémon left in rescue camps still gain experience points but only obtain the normal, unboosted amount of experience.
  • Pokémon require significantly more experience to level up than in the core series games.


Held Berries take one turn to consume (which must be done manually in many cases), as opposed to being consumed automatically in the same turn that they are needed.

The Oran and Sitrus Berries play slightly different roles. The Oran Berry heals 100 HP (rather than 10 HP in the core series), while the Sitrus Berry heals all HP (rather than only 30 HP or ¼ of the Pokémon's total HP in the core series).

  • Sitrus Berries can also increase the player's total HP by 2 points if consumed at full health.
  • Starting in Super Mystery Dungeon, eating an Oran Berry will increase maximum HP by 10 for the current adventure, but only if the Pokémon consuming the item has a maximum HP of less than 100, or is at full health.

The elements of hunger and IQ led to the adoption of the concepts of Food and Gummis, respectively. The only human-made items present that are also present in the core series games are Max Elixirs and TMs. Other items include Wonder Orbs and Scarves, the latter of which were removed and somewhat replaced by Looplets in Super Mystery Dungeon.

In addition, any Pokémon can hold any item.

Throwing items

Main article: Throwing item

Much like in the Safari Zone of the core series games, where the player is able to toss Bait or throw a Rock (or Mud) at Pokémon, throwing items in Mystery Dungeon deals damage. The player is able to stock up to 99 units of a throwing item in a single item space in contrast to other items, where multiple items take up multiple spaces in the item list.

  • This does not apply to Unown Stones.
  • Wands were an item introduced in Super Mystery Dungeon. They behave similarly to thrown items, but can only be stacked up to 40. While some deal damage, they have varying effects such as Warping the target or causing various Status Conditions.

Buried items

Buried items may appear in Sparkling Floor tiles in Rescue Team DX. They are also present in the wall tiles of some dungeons. These items can be seen by equipping the X-Ray Specs and can be obtained by having most Ghost-type Pokémon walk over the tile. They can also be obtained by destroying the wall tile using the IQ skills Super Mobile (in Red and Blue Rescue Team) or Absolute Mover (in Explorers of Time, Darkness, and Sky), or the Rare Quality Forge a Path (in Rescue Team DX). However, if the walls are destroyed by explosions, buried items in the walls will also be destroyed.

Looplets and Emeras

Main article: Looplet
Main article: Emera

In Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, a new class of held items were introduced. Looplets are items to be held by a Pokémon which can boost certain stats, protect from status and weather, or other effects. In addition, each Looplet has a certain number of slots to equip Emeras onto. Emeras are items which can be found scattered around dungeons. They can be used to temporarily boost a particular stat for the duration of the dungeon, or equipped onto a Looplet for various effects. Emera effects can include boosting attack power, adding a chance to inflict status effects, or allowing the user to see all enemy Pokémon or items on the floor. All effects and stat boosts from Emeras disappear upon leaving the dungeon.

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