The second entry (or rather, entries) in the roguelikePokémon 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.
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.
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.
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.
Bold Explorer: The famous explorer Dusknoir provides some necessary exposition, and you can rescue the ill-fated legendary explorer Scizor.
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.
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:
"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!"
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.
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.
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 positive 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.
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.
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. Alleightmembers.
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 against a sunrise, which indicates that the future is beginning to change.
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").
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.
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 villainous 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.
However, upon the player's first glance into the desolate wasteland of what is the future planet, it genuinely does look like there is no life. Dusknoir can be thanked for yanking both the player and the partner into this place..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last Stand: The final Boss Battle in Special Episode 5 of Sky. Even as the Delayed Ripple Effect starts kicking in, Grovyle, Celebi, and Dusknoir have to knock out Primal Dialga to keep him from going back in time to stop the player from changing history.
The Load: Cresselia is this so much during Dark Crater.
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 initial transformation into a Pokémon.
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.
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.
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.
Parental Neglect: The player and the partner do this to manaphy. Feeding him or not, they do spend most of the day away exploring, leaving manaphy alone either hungry and crying in the guild with Chatot, or just sitting in the guest nest at Sharpedo Bluff.
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.
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.
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.
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 (e.g. you can be on this floor for 50 turns) before you are forcibly evicted from the entire dungeons. This is particularly noticble in dungeons such as Temporal Tower where the layout leads to a lot of dead ends and back tracking to find the stairs and there aren't a great many turns you can spend on each floor.
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.
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.
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, 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.
Delayed Ripple Effect: After repairing Temporal Tower and saving the future, the player has just enough time to say goodbye before they disappear.
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. To a lesser extent there is also the player's encounter with a Groudon at Fogbound Lake, with the Guild describing exactly what a Groudon is even as the player's battle is about to begin.
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...
Utsuge: Doesn't seem like it at first, but by the end of both the main game and After Game, as well as some of the spinoff stories, this becomes more obvious.
Verbal Tic: Loudred likes to EMPHASIZE random WORDS in his SENTENCES!
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.
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.
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.)
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.