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Video Game: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers

"Welcome to a grand tale! A tale that spans time... and darkness. It's the dawn of epic exploration!"
Time/Darkness introduction

The second entry (or rather, entries) in the roguelike Pokémon spinoff series known as Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness and Explorers of Time were released for the Nintendo DS in 2008, followed up by an Updated Re-release called Explorers of Sky in 2009.

Similar to the first installment, the player wakes up in a world inhabited solely by Pokémon, this time washing ashore of a small village called Treasure Town after a storm, with no memories of what happened to them or how/why they've been transformed from a human into a Pokemon. They befriend a timid young Pokemon with a mysterious artifact and together join the local Wigglytuff Guild to train as an exploration team, exploring the strange, randomly-generated "mystery dungeons" that have been showing up in various regions lately. Along the way they learn that a mysterious Pokémon has been reported stealing very important artifacts called "Time Gears", and ultimately get swept up in a quest to Save The World before time itself grinds to a halt.

The story becomes much more serious than those of the game's predecessors, and has several considerably dark moments in its later chapters.

This installment provides examples of:

  • Adult Fear: Drowzee, the "extortionist."
    • In Igglybuff's story, imagine Your child going off on his own everyday, you don't know where he goes, you investigate and find out he's hanging out with a shady adult, even further a former criminal
  • Affectionate Parody: Wigglytuff's Guild is a send-up of typical large Japanese businesses. Yes, there are manufacturing companies with routine morning cheers. The situation with Wigglytuff and Chatot is also a dead ringer for "ame to muchi" ("sweets and whips"), an unfortunately common way of ensuring employee zeal: Rewards ("ame") for good results, but public castigation and demerits ("muchi") when you fall short. Needless to say, Wigglytuff's the ame, Chatot's the muchi. Now whether Wigglytuff approves, or is even aware, of Chatot's muchi-ness, is a different matter.
  • All in a Row: The partner always follows the player outside of dungeons. Before the epilogue, the partner and whoever you choose to put in your team will do the same. In the after game, however, you can make it so the player travels alone in dungeons. Not counting going to the Hidden Land or being abducted by Palkia or confronting Darkrai.
  • Amazon Brigade: Team Charm, complete with their own unique Battle Theme Music and Fight Woosh, too!
  • Apocalypse Anarchy: Boy, the bad future DEFINES this trope! Imagine A Clockwork Orange, only ten times more lawless. Colourless wastelands, dewdrops and lakes frozen in time, gangs of hostile pokemon, and an overall sense of hopelessness are rife EVERYWHERE in the future.
    • To further add hopelessness to the situation, Dialga, the only Pokémon that seems to have any control over the situation, has long fell into insanity, thanks to the collapse of Temporal Tower. And Dusknoir is recruited to do the now-insane Primal Dialga's bidding.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Affects both friendly and hostile NPCs alike. Worse when compounded with uncontrollable escorted clients and other NPCs required in story missions. Some of this seems to actually be very deliberate, as some IQ Skills exist solely to fix idiotic AI behavior.
    • Using a room-wide move such as Sweet Scent in a room with sleeping and/or petrified pokémon.
    • Stepping on avoidable, visible traps that you just activated.
    • Pokémon need a high IQ before actively taking advantage of type weaknesses.
    • You need to increase your IQ before being able to tell your party members to do things such as wait, or run away if they're about to faint.
    • One of the tactics you can tell your party members to use is "Avoid the first hit", described as, "The Pokémon will try to avoid being attacked first. If an enemy comes close, however, the Pokémon will attack." In practice the party member will approach any hostile pokémon, including sleeping pokémon, and wait one tile away until attacked. If the enemy attacks at range instead of closing to melee, the party member will stand still and just take it until they die.
    • Routing is sometimes quite stupid. Pokémon will attempt to walk over impassable terrain, including walls, to follow you.
    • If you aren't in their line of sight, party members will wander off in random directions away from each other looking for you, even if they can see other party members following you. This isn't so bad once you can change their tactic to "wait there", but you can't change the tactics of anyone who isn't part of your exploration team. Such as clients.
    • If a hostile pokémon is in sight and a party member is holding throwable objects such as rocks, then that party member will do nothing else but throw items at the pokémon. This often means blocking the way for other party members to enter the room, who will become confused and wander off if they can't see you.
  • Bad Future: The famous explorer Dusknoir warns that if Grovyle steals all the Time Gears, the entire planet will become "paralyzed" as time itself comes to a stop. He came from that very future.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
  • Bold Explorer: The famous explorer Dusknoir provides some necessary exposition, and you can rescue the ill-fated legendary explorer Scizor as a post-game mission.
  • Book Ends: During the opening chapter, the partner met the player while strolling on the beach south of Treasure Town with nearby Krabby blowing bubbles into the air; right before the credits roll, he's strolling down the same beach, and the Krabby blowing bubbles reminds him how this is where they first met. Only the player's not with him anymore, and the memories of all their adventures cause him to break down crying.
    • It is also where after the credits, Dialga summons the player back into existence next to the partner.
    • In a non-beach example, the last cutscene of the post-game story includes a flashback to the first cutscene of the game.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: "Outlaw" Pokémon have at least three times as much health as a normal enemy Pokémon of that type and level. They have Battle Theme Music to announce their presence, and in Sky, some are specifically fought in Monster Houses, and some are even flanked by minions (usually a lesser evolutionary level of the outlaw, though occasionally a higher one that's still weaker than the fun-size boss) with the normal dungeon floor replaced with a boss-like arena.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Armaldo, Wigglytuff's old mentor, is revealed to be a wanted criminal. Though the pedestal may not be completely broken, as Wigglytuff still looks back fondly on those times.
    • The partner and Chatot especially have a hard time accepting that Dusknoir is actually The Dragon.
  • Call Forward: Armaldo on the Crystal Puzzle. Obviously a reference (or foreshadowing, if you play the Special Episode before the plot) to the Crystal Cave Exploration.
    "Hmm.. A Crystal, you'll probably touch it and it changes color. Match the colors and something will rise out of the ground."
  • Carnivore Confusion: "Team Tasty" is comprised of a Swellow (a large, fully-evolved bird Pokemon) and a Wurmple (a small, unevolved caterpillar Pokemon whom Swellow are said to prey on). Wurmple's greatest fear is the possibility of getting eaten by his friend — he breaks out in a cold sweat any time his partner even thinks about food (which happens a lot). Swellow, on the other hand, is completely oblivious to this, to the point that when Wurmple finally tells him, he considers himself a poor leader for his teammate to be so uncomfortable around him.
  • Catch Phrase: Each member of the Wigglytuff Guild seems to have one, almost to the point of being a Verbal Tic. Wigglytuff's "YOOM TAH!" is the most prevalent.
    • Bidoof's "Yup yup" and "By golly!"
    • Sunflora's "eek"/"kyaa" and, especially, "Oh my gosh!"
    • Corphish's "Hey hey" (this is a play on his Japanese name Heigani)
      • May or may not be related to the crabs in 'Finding Nemo', who say "Hey" repeatedly at passerby.
    • Wynaut's "Is it not?" and Wobbuffet's "That's right!", which are both a play on their Japanese names. (Wynaut's Japanese name literally means "Is that so?" while Wobbuffet's Japanese name means "That's the way it is".)
    • Everybody in Team Skull has a distinctive Evil Laugh:
      • "Chaw-haw-haw!"
      • "Whoa-ho-ho!"
      • "Heh heh heh!"
    • Croagunk's "Meh-heh-heh", though he's less evil than other examples.
    • Dusknoir: "Ooooh hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo!"
    • The Sableye's "Wheeh!" and "Wheh-heh-heh!."
    • The Grand Master of All Things Bad's "Muah-hahahaha!"
  • Cave Behind the Falls: The Waterfall Cave.
  • Ceiling Cling: The Brine Cave bosses' preferred method of entry.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Explorers starts off a bit on the silly side, becomes a little serious with Drowzee, becomes very serious with the Bad Future (see Wham Episode), and then becomes a bit more serious with the post-end plot.
  • Cessation of Existence: This is what is said to happen to all of the Pokemon from the Bad Future when time is corrected. The two times this is seen to occur, after the player and partner restore Temporal Tower, and in the Explorers of Sky episode where Celebi, Grovyle, and Dusknoir defeat Primal Dialga in their own time, it is not permanent. In the first example, the player character disappears completely, but is brought back by Dialga. In the case of the second, the trio is starting to disappear when it mysteriously stops (possibly due to Arceus' interference).
  • Chekhov's Gun: Bidoof takes a crystal from Crystal Cave around halfway into the main story. Later, Dusknoir has the player character touch it to trigger a Dimensional Scream.
    • The partner's Relic Fragment also qualifies.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Torkoal, who reveals the nature of the Relic Fragment and how to get to the hidden land towards the end of the game.
    • There's also Drowzee, the first Outlaw Pokémon you fight. He appears again in the post game where he helps the main characters when Azurill gets stuck in a never ending nightmare.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The player character's Dimensional Scream ability is first seen fairly early in the game. The usefulness of this ability becomes evident early on, but its true nature is not explained until much later in the plot.
    • Possibly even a Chekhov's Boomerang, in that the player retains this ability even after the main arc is completed.
  • The Chessmaster: The epilogue arc reveals that Darkrai was secretly behind the events of the main story arc.
    • Ditto is an example of a heroic chessmaster, manipulating both Team Charm and Team AWD into fighting each other to protect a Time Gear.
  • Child Soldiers: Pokémon that hatch from Chansey Day Care immediately ask to join the party's team.
  • The Chosen One: It turns out that your partner was chosen as the one worthy of entering the Hidden Land before you even arrived.. This is possibly a result of Bidoof's Wish, though it's not exactly clear.
  • Colour Coded Timestop: Of the Deliberately Monochrome variety (the Bad Future especially).
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Chatot gets elements of this at certain points. Sometimes, however, he's allowed to be right.
    • Averted with Loudred and everyone else who had doubts about Team Skull.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Team Skull discovers the hard way that one does not attempt to harm Guildmaster Wigglytuff. Whether this is Obfuscating Stupidity or not is up for debate.
    • "The Grand Master of All Things Bad", on the other hand, is quite the cunning foe...
    • Chatot, on the other hand, plays this much straighter, particularly with Team Skull. For most of the game he plays the role of Small Name, Big Ego, and even finds himself stupefied to the point of rage that trio of Team Skull actually is a group of Jerkasses. But when push comes to shove, there's a reason he's Wigglytuff's right hand.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Invoked near the end of Bidoof's Wish, after Snover, Bagon and Gligar all triple team Bidoof. And then it gets flipped around and done again when Wigglytuff's Guild swoops in and fights the trio. All eight members.
  • Cutting the Knot: During Wigglytuff's special episode. Armaldo observes and discusses the various puzzles and traps protecting a door on an expedition, only to watch the young Igglybuff smash the door down.
  • Cue the Sun: After returning from the future's eternal night, one of the first things the partner does is take in the awe of a morning sunrise. Explorers of Sky also has Grovyle's final battle set against a sunrise, which indicates that the future is beginning to change.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Darkrai the Big Bad of the game goes out of his way to avoid attention to prevent people from realising that anything is wrong (the collapse of Temporal Tower is so insidious that no one realises anything's wrong until the time gears start to go missing, and the player has no idea that anyone was responsible for the main quest. He also immediately tries to kill the player once they establish themselves as dangerous to his plans
  • Darker and Edgier: The sequel to the family-friendly original. Not in a bad way, but some parts of the story are deeply disturbing.
    • Darkrai and Dusknoir are both surprisingly sinister for a Pokémon game.
    • After the main plot has been completed, Cresselia appears in the player's dreams and tells them that to save the world they need to kill themselves. Turns out that it's not actually Cresselia, but Darkrai, trying to get the heroes out of the way so they won't ruin his plans.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The Special Episodes in Sky lets the player control other characters for their duration. (Bidoof in "Bidoof's Wish", Igglybuff—aka Guildmaster Wigglytuff—in "Igglybuff the Prodigy", Sunflora in "Today's Oh My Gosh", Lopunny in "Here Comes Team Charm!", and finally Grovyle in "Into the Future of Darkness").
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "I'm Wigglytuff! I'm the guild's Guildmaster!"
  • Demoted to Partner: In Time and Darkness, you can potentially play a Meowth or Munchlax of either gender as the hero. Sky added several new choices that were gender-restricted; in order to make room for them, Meowth and Munchlax were removed as candidates. To make up for this, both were made availible as potential partners instead.
  • Deus ex Machina: The partner is so heartbroken over the player's disappearance that after the credits roll, Dialga decides to return the favor for repairing Temporal Tower by summoning the player back into existence, on the same beach shore where the player and partner first met.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Remember how Ditto is said to be unable to change its face? Well, take a look at the Special Episode 4 in Sky – "Bellossom" has a different face in portrait than usually. It's because it's actually a Ditto.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?? During the fifth special episode, the Sableye try to protect Dusknoir by attacking Primal Dialga. They just get swatted aside, but Primal Dialga flees anyway as the future's history begins to change.
  • Disappears into Light: The player, after time has been fixed. Luckily, Dialga brings them back.
    • Sky's fifth episode also has Primal Dialga, Grovyle, Dusknoir, and Celebi doing this.
  • Double Caper: Regarding Grovyle and Dusknoir. See Wham Episode.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Even after saving the world from becoming a dark future where time doesn't flow and Pokémon relentlessly attack one another, you still barely get any respect from Chatot. Even after graduating from the Guild, you still have to give them most of your money.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The epilogue arc. Sure, you may have been told that your very existence is causing the world to fall into darkness and the only way to stop it is to die, your partner is starting to seriously consider it and that the god of space itself is out to kill you ... but hey, something still doesn't feel right. Don't give up, you can still win this!
  • Escort Mission: Many jobs are this, but taking them is optional. Some mandatory missions force an uncontrollable NPC into the party.
  • Eureka Moment: Sunflora has one during her Special Episode, after Loudred makes a comment allowing her to realize the secret behind Haunter's so-called immortality.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Chatot claims that no criminal, no matter how hardened, would ever dream of stealing a Time Gear. Indeed, even the morally-questionable Team AWD (in Explorers of Sky) acknowledges that it's crossing a line.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Somewhat averted. In the future, despite the planet's paralysis there ARE living Pokémon roaming the land, but almost every single one is hostile, both to one another, and the player and partner. Some have even regressed into a primal state more akin to real-life animals, including the god of time itself.
  • Everybody Lives: Special Episode 5 in Sky after the Last Stand.
  • Fanservice: Team Charm is most likely this in-universe, considering how popular they are...
  • Fetch Quest: Many, the first one requiring you to fetch a Spoink's pearl.
  • Fight Woosh: Before boss battles.
  • Fighting a Shadow: The boss of Fogbound Lake. (The "Groudon" is just a psychic illusion created by Uxie to ward off intruders.)
  • Final Speech, It Has Been an Honor: After saving Temporal Tower the player gives one of these right as the change in time starts to erase them from history.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Scizor was frozen in ice for decades until the player and partner thaw him. Also, Grovyle and Dusknoir are this in the present, the partner is this in the future, and the player is this in both thanks to their amnesia.
  • Floating Continent: The Hidden Land.
  • Flunky Boss: Dusknoir wouldn't be much of a threat were you fighting him by himself, but you also have to contend with six Sableye at the same time. See also Wolfpack Boss, because your objective is to take all of them out, not just the leader.
  • Food Porn: The descriptions of the drinks ordered at the Spinda Café.
  • Foreshadowing: Snover is The Millstone during Bidoof's special episode; not only is he near-useless in combat, his ability damages Bidoof and prevents him from regenerating HP. Guess who's the Arc Villain of that episode, and definitely does not have Bidoof's best interests at heart?
  • Future Badass: The player character and Grovyle. To a lesser extent, Dusknoir.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: In the American version of Sky, if a Pokémon with a name of ten characters (made by the player or a default one such as "Charmander") evolves, the game will freeze. As you can't rename Pokémon until they evolve, there's no way around this.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • At one point, Grovyle blinds several opponents using a "Luminous Orb" to cover for an escape attempt. The item in question does not appear to do this in actual gameplay, and is used instead to reveal the current floor's map. Possibly justified if one assumes he smashed it into the floor.
    • Pokémon in dungeons unlocked after the main story arc has been completed have considerably more IQ than pokémon in previous dungeons, but all pokémon recruited into the exploration team have only minimum IQ.
    • At one point, Murkrow and Shuppet of Team Ebony excite over the legendary Golden Apple and asks the leader if they know anything about it. Even if you've obtained a Golden Apple and have it in your inventory, they say the same thing and you can't talk about it.
      • Murkrow and Shuppet discuss most, if not all, of the golden treasures (Golden Mask, Golden Thorn, etc.) throughout the story. The above is true in all cases.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: In Sky, the Special Episodes' characters' rates of levelling up reflect their proficiency at exploration. Bidoof levels up quite slowly, and Igglybuff can overtake the older and experienced Armaldo.
  • Genki Girl: Sunflora. Eek!
  • Genre Savvy: Armaldo in Igglybuff the Prodigy.
    • Played for Laughs, as he is often easily fooled by the staples he claims to know so much about.
  • Get on the Boat: Or rather, the Lapras, near the end of the main story.
  • Graduate from the Story: After completing the main arc, the player is allowed to graduate from Wigglytuff's Guild, which is the start of the post-arc plot.
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy: Just where was Arceus when Temporal Tower was collapsing? Especially considering that its entire purpose after creating the world is to fix these things.
    • The general out-of-universe explanation is that the developers didn't want Arceus explicitly playing a role in the plot, as it was a then-unreleased event Pokémon in the main series.
      • It's heavily implied that Arceus was the one who spared everyone at the end of Grovyle's special episode. Even Dialga itself states that they were likely saved by an unknown higher power.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: Team Skull.
  • Good Guy Bar: Spinda's Café.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Sunflora's personal Catch Phrase.
  • Grand Theft Me: In Sky, Dusknoir's last resort plan to stop the protagonists is to posses Grovyle's body and return to the past in it.
  • Growling Gut: Occurs during regular gameplay and in cutscenes. An especially noteworthy example is in the cutscene following the battle with Drowzee, where the player's thoughts are interrupted by the partner's stomach growling, and the player's chimes in as well.
  • Hailfire Peaks: Steam Cave contains both water and fire. And it's a cave.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: The battle against Dusknoir and his Sableye — even after his defeat, he still seems to have plenty of strength left. Must be Only a Flesh Wound.
    • There's also Grovyle, although the player can either win or lose the battle and Grovyle will just shake it off either way.
    • This happens with quite a few of the scripted battles, honestly; for example, it's technically possible to win Bidoof's Hopeless Boss Fight against Team Rogue (with the right items and good tactics).
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: During Bidoof's special episode in Sky, though it is winnable with the right items. Then Wigglytuff's entire guild arrives to rescue him in one giant Curb-Stomp Battle.
    • Grovyle is treated this way, as if you lose the fight, the game continues. However, the fight can be won and isn't actually very hard.
  • Impassable Desert: While searching for Time Gears in the Northern Desert, the player and partner find multiple pools of quicksand after completing the dungeon, assuming that the rest is impossible to get to. However, once your team returns to the Guild, you can go back to the same area, now called Quicksand Desert. Going back will cause the player to urge the partner to jump into the quicksand and find the Quicksand Cave. Unless the player decides to go back(or even notices the new area at all), the Quicksand Cave is considered impassable.
  • Improbable Accessory Effect: Not only are there multicolored bows and ribbons providing various effects, but also a wide range of "exclusive" items dropped by hostile Pokémon including claws, teeth, tails, scales, even tears and sweat of other Pokémon.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Sunflora and Loudred defeat a trio of Haunter while on fire.
  • Infodump: Late in the game is a series of cutscenes that explain most of the plot in one go. It's so long, you're asked if you want to save your game halfway through it, and it even flashes back to the scenes immediately prior.
  • Interface Spoiler: When Chatot hands out assignments to investigate different places, the player's likely to notice that one of the locations isn't color-coded.
  • Island of Mystery: Zero Island, a region known to very few exploration teams. In practice, it consists of 5 (4 in Time and Darkness) individual dungeons, each being one of the hardest in the game (Only the Destiny Tower, added in Sky version, can compete).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Chatot and Loudred. The jury's still out on which one's the bigger one, though.
  • Just in Time: Among others, Cresselia's entrance. The real Cresselia, not the one Darkrai poses as.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Drowzee for the main story, and Darkrai for the post-credits plot.
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.: The guild.
  • Last Stand: The final Boss Battle in Special Episode 5 of Sky. Even as the Delayed Ripple Effect starts kicking in and all four of them are slowly ceasing to exist, Grovyle, Celebi, and Dusknoir have to knock out Primal Dialga to keep him from damaging the gate of time with his last breath.
  • The Load: Cresselia is this so much during Dark Crater thanks to poor type matchups and a tendency to wander onto lava.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The Big Bad of the epilogue arc: Darkrai is revealed to be behind everything, from the destruction of Temporal Tower to even the player's amnesia.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Dusknoir effortlessly manipulates everyone for most of the main story. This continues in the fifth special episode.
  • Marathon Level: Many of the dungeons unlocked after the end of the main story arc are at least 50 floors long. Zero Isle South and Destiny Tower are 99 floors.
  • Medium Awareness: Armaldo frequently references such things as Stock Puzzles and Dungeon Bosses.
  • Message in a Bottle: These sometimes wash up on the beach, though they just contain missions not unlike the boards at the guild.
  • Mini-Game: Diglett's sentry duty involves guessing Pokémon species by their footprints.
  • The Mole: Two of them. First we have Dusknoir and in Sky we have Snover.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Grovyle, when you reach the end of Treeshroud Forest with him, has this kind of reaction.
  • Mythology Gag: The tickets from Sky are red, green, gold, and silver.
  • Never Say "Die": During the post-game arc, you're repeatedly told that you have to 'disappear' for the world to be saved.
  • The Night That Never Ends: The Bad Future is frozen in time where the sun never rises. This was Darkrai's ultimate goal.
  • No Indoor Voice: Dialga and Palkia, although to be fair they are two of the largest Pokémon in the world; it's really just their normal tone of voice.
    • It tends to enter into Narm territory, though.
    • Loudred. Especially when he wakes you up.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Chatot, at least early on, to a frustrating degree...
  • 108: Spiritomb declares that he is a fusion of 108 evil spirits, matching the species' description in the main series.
  • One Steve Limit: Thanks to the Species Surname, rarely does the player encounter more than one NPC of a given species. Averted by the Poochyena brothers, the Shaymin tribe, and The Invincible Haunter, who is actually three of them.
    • Grovyle doesn't make the connection between his "partner" and the player until it's specifically pointed out to him by Dusknoir, though he might have not known the name of the latter at that point.
  • One Time Dungeon: The dungeons you explore in the future, and post-game dungeon The Nightmare. That being said, the game will make an out-of-story exception in regard to Friend Rescues, should your friend fall in one of those dungeons and need rescuing.
  • Orifice Invasion: When Grovyle gets his ass kicked in the future, he claims that Spiritomb took control of his body by entering through his nose. Spiritomb also does this to Celebi later.
  • Pet the Dog: Late in the game, a defeated Skuntank returns the partner's Relic Fragment, to which his subordinate Zubat chuckles, commenting that maybe his boss "isn't so bad" after all.
  • The Plan: Dusknoir's Grand Theft Me plan in the Special Episode.
  • Plot Coupon: The five Time Gears.
  • Plot Tunnel: The expedition the Guild sets out on early in the game is one of these, consisting of about 4 back-to-back dungeons with no way to return home until it's done. A darker variety also happens when you're trapped in the future for some time, and again briefly in the post-game when Palkia warps you to its realm.
  • Point of No Return: Subverted; despite that Temporal Tower is about to collapse (and time itself with it), Lapras is able and willing to return you to Treasure Town if you ask it.
  • Poison Mushroom: Explorers of Sky specifically warns about "Lookalike" items, which have similar names to normal items but entirely different (though not always negative) effects. Like Oren Berries which inflict damage instead of healing, like Oran Berries do. An interesting inversion comes from the Dough Seed, which is a positive-effect lookalike of the level-decreasing Doom Seed.
  • Pokémon Popsicle: Scizor. Once rescued, he is quite surprised to learn that decades have passed since then.
  • Police Are Useless: Officer Magnezone and the other Magnemites are always requesting help in capturing outlaws. In some post-end jobs where he accompanies you to capture the outlaw, they're only level 16 or even less.
  • Poor Communication Kills
    • The Perfect Apples incident. The partner is never given a chance to explain that it was Team Skull who prevented them from retrieving any Perfect Apples for the Chatot and the Guildmaster.
    • Armaldo actually lampshades the fact that dungeon bosses always seem to be hard of hearing in addition to territorial.
  • Primal Fear: Primal Dialga's madness leaves it afraid of only one thing: Being erased from existence should history be changed.
  • Race Against the Clock: The distortions in time and its eventual destruction are caused by the gradual collapsing of Temporal Tower. By the time you reach it for your final mission, it is already starting to physically break apart, although this has absolutely no effect on your climb through it; it's not actually a Timed Mission, so go ahead and Take Your Time.
    • Technically every dungeon is this as each floor has a counter for how many moves you have before a mysterious force kicks you out, but said limit is very generous, ranging from 500-2000 turns depending on the dungeon.
  • Rainbow Speak
  • Really Dead Montage: At the end, in regard to the player character. Then subverted; the player's partner is so heartbroken that Dialga asserts his Deus ex Machina power over the flow of time to bring the player back from their Ret Gone.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Lampshaded heavily when Team Skull hands over the Relic Fragment in Brine Cave. Also discussed in Special Episode 5; Dusknoir's whole reason for villainy is for self-survival, so joining up with Grovyle is effectively a death sentence upon himself.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The covers depict enemy Mons with red eyes. To be fair, red eyes are actually a natural color for certain species — just not the ones used on the covers.
    • Also, Primal Dialga.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: There are swirling red clouds around Temporal Tower.
  • Ret Gone: Changing the future means that everyone from that future disappears from the world forever.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Disappearing from the timeline doesn't erase one's effects on the present day, nor others' memories of them.
  • Scenery Gorn: Any and all shots of the Bad Future.
  • Scenery Porn: A ridiculous amount, especially Fogbound Lake and the Hidden Land.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The entire plot. The Bad Future was caused by the collapse of Temporal Tower, and protagonists from the future went back in time to stop it from happening.
  • Ship Tease: Special Episodes 3 and 5 tease Sunflora and Loudred and Grovyle and Celebi respectively.
    • Sometimes you and your partner look like they're ship-teasing themselves, especially if you're the opposite gender.
  • Shout-Out: When you receive a letter of challenge from the Pokémon Mewtwo, he states "I challenge you, Team <Team Name Here>, to a duel!"
  • Sound Test: Explorers of Sky finally added one of these, with all 141 songs available on the Sky Jukebox. Good thing too, considering the soundtrack is amazing.
  • Spanner in the Works: If Dusknoir had just left you and your partner in the past, you would never have figured out that the world was already in danger, nor how to save it. It's almost a case of Nice Job Fixing It, Villain.
    • It goes further than that: because the Relic Fragment is needed to reach Temporal Tower, Darkrai could have succeeded in his plan simply by not attacking Grovyle and the player, and thus not resulting in the player and partner meeting. Unlike Dusknoir's case, the protagonist landing on the beach was complete chance, but it still counts.
  • Start X to Stop X: Stop time to prevent time from stopping.
  • Stop Drowning and Stand Up: Team Raider "rescues" Dugtrio from the watery nightmare that is getting splashed by the tide.
  • Surprise Creepy: For starring such cute critters, the Explorers games get uncomfortable fast.
  • Surprisingly Easy Mini-Quest: Most of the special missions in Explorers of Sky can be pretty daunting for the most part, but Igglybuff the Prodigy is very easy, thanks in part to Igglybuff already maintaining the Badass status he carries as Guildmaster Wigglytuff. He already has pretty high stats to begin with, and on top of that, being below Level 20, he levels pretty quickly, and each level boosts his stats by ludicrous amounts as well. There are also practically no bosses to speak of in any of the dungeons he explores, either.
  • Suspend Save: The only way to save inside a dungeon if not at a Kangaskhan Rock. Your permanent save can't be loaded if a suspend save is present. If the player faints from a suspend save, turns off their console, and reloads their permanent save, they'll still have lost money and items. Particularly cruel if you didn't actually faint but your game froze.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: "I don't have any special feelings for him or anything!" (said by Celebi, of Grovyle)
    • A non-romantic version of the same kind of denial is also used in Bidoof's Special Episode, when Chatot insists he was not concerned for Bidoof's safety. Even the rest of the guild makes fun of how much he fumbles over his words.
  • Tag Team Twins: Although the exact relation between them is never explained, in Explorers of Sky, the outlaw Pokémon called the "Invincible Haunter" is actually a group of three; when one is KO'd, the other two use a blinding flash of light to hide the fact that they're swapping him out.
  • Team Rocket Wins: Team Skull manages to beat the heroes at the end of Apple Woods.
  • Terminator Twosome: Grovyle and the player were sent back in time to change history for the better, while Dusknoir was sent back to stop them.
  • There Is Another: Grovyle came back with a partner, which he reveals is still back in time (or would be), had Dusknoir not located and captured said partner.
  • This Is the Final Battle: Spoken by Grovyle during Special Episode 5 in Explorers of Sky, when preparing to take out Primal Dialga.
  • This Page Will Self-Destruct: In Sky, the jobs given by the Pokémon Exploration Team Federation upon being bestowed the Secret Rank.
  • Time Skip: After you defeat Primal Dialga, the game moves forward several months as your partner deals with the aftermath of losing you.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball
    • Delayed Ripple Effect: After repairing Temporal Tower and saving the future, the player has just enough time to say goodbye before they disappear. This also happens in the fifth Special Episode, where Grovyle, Celebi, Dusknoir, and Primal Dialga all have enough time for a Final Boss fight even as they begin to fade from existence.
  • Tsundere: Loudred and Celebi show signs of this. Loudred is definitely more of a Type A, while Celebi seems to be more of a Type B.
  • Twenty Bear Asses: To get through the Aegis Cave, you need Unown Stones spelling out the words "ice", "steel", and "rock", dropped by the corresponding Unown inhabiting the dungeon. There's only a chance that they'll drop it, and only a chance that they'll actually be on that floor. You need to do this every time you visit the dungeon, even after you've beaten the mission and previously cleared the way.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: When Lapras appears at Brine Cave to escort the player to the Hidden Land, while Wigglytuff explains how he met Lapras in the first place. Also used to great effect, there is the player's encounter with a Groudon at Fogbound Lake, while the far-away Guild discuss just what a Groudon is, as if to highlight how screwed you are.
  • The Unchosen One: The player isn't the one destined to go to the Hidden Land and save the world, it's the partner. The player is essentially the sidekick-in-disguise who helps the partner fulfill their destiny.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Unlike in the main game, Sleep gets nerfed in the post-game, with the advent of IQ skills. Several Pokémon are suddenly immune to sleep or recover from status effects quickly. Suddenly, Spore and Sleep Powder seem a lot less useful...
  • Verbal Tic: Loudred likes to EMPHASIZE random WORDS in his SENTENCES!
    • So does SPIRITOMB.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • You can reject a defeated pokémon's request to join the exploration team, and then steal their stuff. You can also accept them and steal their stuff.
    • Sometimes, a pokémon in Spinda's Café will ask the party to do a job. You can accept the job, delete it from your job list, then talk to the pokémon again about how glad they are that you accepted it.
    • Go ahead and leave the baby pokémon that almost nothing is known about starving and bawling with Chatot. It's not like he'll die.
  • Video Game Settings:
    • Bleak Level / Alternate World Map: The Bad Future.
    • Bubbly Clouds: Sky Stairway, inspired by the Sky Tower from the first set of games.
    • Death Mountain: The eastern portion of the map.
    • Dream Land: The aptly-named dungeon, The Nightmare. You only go to it once.
    • Green Hill Zone: Several plains or savannah-themed stages pock the map, especially around the middle-west.
    • Jungle Japes: Mystery Jungle. Oddly, it's directly connected to Treeshroud Forest, though the latter is more like a rainforest.
    • Lethal Lava Land: The island at the upper-left corner of the map, including Giant Volcano and Dark Crater.
    • Lost Woods: Scattered around the map, especially around the south and mid-east parts of the mainland.
    • One Time Dungeon: The future dungeons.
    • Shifting Sand Land: The northwest portion of the mainland.
    • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The island at the bottom-left corner of the map, known collectively as Blizzard Island in the present and Frozen Island in the future.
    • Temple of Doom: A couple of them are around the southern part of the mainland.
    • Underground Level: There's quite a large number of grottos along the west coast, mixing this with an aquatic theme. There's also the World Abyss, which crosses this over with Big Boo's Haunt.
    • Under the Sea: The western portion of the map, along with a few Palmtree Panic dungeons.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: The games love repeating lines of text in a slightly different manner after something is said. Flashbacks also happen fairly often, and are usually to something that happened ten minutes ago at most.
  • Villain Exit Stage Left: After being defeated, Darkrai opens a time portal to escape to, essentially, anywhere but here. Palkia destroys it as he leaves, causing him to wash up somewhere in the past with no memories of his plans for World Domination.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Dusknoir
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Drowzee is the first Outlaw Pokémon you fight; his Psychic-type "Confusion" move hits relatively hard, and his "Forewarn" ability enables him to dodge roughly every other attack you throw at him. On top of that, he's immune to Sleep Seeds as well. Be prepared for a little grinding.
  • Watching The Sunrise / First Time in the Sun: Grovyle and Celebi get to do this at the end of the fifth Special Episode, as they're fading away.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: Whenever the player or partner faints in a dungeon during the main Story Arc, or when whoever the current team leader is faints.
  • We Can Rule Together: Darkrai offers this to the main character during the epilogue arc, who rejects rather violently.
  • Wham Episode: When the party is thrown into the Bad Future, they suddenly learn that Dusknoir is an evil Pokémon serving Primal Dialga, and Grovyle was trying to prevent the Bad Future by using the Time Gears to repair Temporal Tower. And that Grovyle was the player's partner before the player was turned into a Pokémon. The first thing they decide to do after returning to the present time? Finish what Grovyle started — steal the Time Gears back again. But at least everyone believes them this time.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The player's team, Bidoof, Loudred, and Corphish head to Aegis Cave with Team Charm. After reaching the bottom, the player's team and Team Charm hastily exit the cave to escape a cave-in. And the three other guild members?
    Lopunny: Looks like everyone's here!
  • Whole Episode Flashback: One of Sky's Special Episodes retells an important incident in Wigglytuff's childhood. Two other Special Episodes are presented as the featured character reflecting on what happened.
  • World Half Full: The future, where the entire planet has been submerged into perpetual darkness. Can be fixed though.
  • World-Healing Wave: Done near the end of the fifth Special Episode in Sky after Dialga regains his sanity as history is changed and the Planet's Paralysis is undone.
  • Wolfpack Boss: Quite a few, and that's not including ones where you specifically fight against another exploration team (like Team Skull). During the main arc there is a pack of eight Luxio, led by a Luxray, in the Amp Plains. (Explorers of Sky replaced them with functionally-equivalent Electrike and Manectric, possibly because Shinx is now a starter.)
    • There are more during the postgame arc: You battle against Wigglytuff and the entire Guild as part of a graduation exam, team up with another exploration team to take down Regigigas and a veritable swarm of Hitmonlee and Bronzong, and the final plot battle as well may be a case of this.
    • Explorers of Sky adds even more, such as Dusknoir and Grovyle against 4 and 6 Sableye during Special Episode 5, or teaming up with a Shaymin and Team Frontier to take out a group of eight Grimer and Muk atop Sky Peak.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: In Sky, Snover pulls one as part of a con act. Similarly, Dusknoir pulls a downplayed example by pretending to have been betrayed by Primal Dialga and the Sableye, whilst maintaining his dignity.
  • Yandere: Froslass, who encased the object of her affection in ice and held him hostage for decades.
  • You! Exclamation: Dusknoir, near the beginning of the final Sub-Episode in Sky.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Happens once in the main arc, then again during the epilogue arc.
  • You Shall Not Pass: Grovyle announces he's "Taking You with Me" when he shoves Dusknoir and himself back through the portal to the future.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue TeamUsefulNotes/Nintendo DSPokémon Conquest
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue TeamMons SeriesPokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity

alternative title(s): Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers
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