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The fifth installment in Spike Chunsoft's roguelike Pokémon Spin-Off series, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. First announced on 21 May 2015, the game was released in September 2015 for Japan, November for the US, and February 2016 for Europe and Australia.

Keeping with series tradition, you play the role of a human who has been transformed into a Pokémon, whisked into a great mystery whereupon Pokémon all over the world are being turned to stone, whilst also helping your partner create a map of the world. Upon your journey, you will encounter various legendary Pokémon, who will aid you in your endeavor to solve the mystery of the worldwide petrification.


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Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon contains examples of:

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    #-C 
  • 100% Completion: You can connect with all 720 Pokémon and complete every dungeon available; doing so will net you a silver and gold badge on the save record screen. Completing every dungeon, in addition, allows you to travel to any dungeon directly from the Nexus.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Under certain extreme circumstances including the entire final dungeon, the Harmony Scarves grant you and the partner temporary evolution and doubled stats. Subverted in the second half of the final battle, as the Tree of Life runs out of energy and you both revert to your base forms.
  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: When you receive your Harmony Scarf, it is actually visible on your Pokemon's body (except in their dialogue portraits). The members of Ampharos's guild are also shown wearing Expedition Badges when they make their formal introductions. Both scarf and badge are prominently featured on the game's cover art.
  • Accidental Misnaming: A Sawsbuck wrongly calls Amaura "Aramau", much to Amaura's chagrin.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: In-Universe. At the start of Chapter 8, your partner asks you if you are going to stick together with him, given the partner's fear of ghosts. If you refuse, although it predictably ends up asking the same question again, the partner is nearly driven to tears by the answer. The player character, while feeling a little bad about the partner's reaction, thinks it was fun to make fun of it for once.
  • Automatic New Game: The first time you start the game, the 3DS camera provides a background behind the title screen, and you're taken directly to the personality quiz.
  • Adult Fear:
    • There are several Pokémon who will invite you "for tea" in their secret base (inside dangerous dungeons, miles from the safety of urban towns), only to assault you with a Monster House for no apparent reason other than deranged pleasure.
    • For once, this game averts the Free-Range Children trope, so there are a few moments of this in the first part of the story. One example is when you and your partner sneak out to stop the ghosts at the school, and Carracosta gives you an earful for it.
  • All There in the Manual: Averted. The How To Play tips in-game have some really vague descriptions that don't help at all and instead just hint stuff to you. What does the Large Pokémon entry say? You can befriend large Pokémon! ...And nothing else is elaborated on that, and when you do have one of these, you must get used to them by finding out through trial-and-error. What does the Mega Evolution entry say? "Shh. Secrets.🎵"
  • Always Someone Better: Generally, you tend to find evolved forms of Pokémon over their pre-evolutions well ahead of their pre-evolved forms, as if to sway the player from evolving them and lose the chance of owning the form forever.
  • Ambiguous Gender:
    • The player character's gender is not specified, so the player character can represent the player's own gender. True for your partner also. You choose whether they are "cool" or "cute", but their gender is never specifically mentioned.
      • Less ambiguous in the German, French and Spanish versions of the game, which assume the player character to be male and the partner to be female.
    • The Wigglytuff from this game is the same one from the earlier Explorers titles and was male there, but is referred to as female by Chatot (his partner). An Armaldo later refers to Wigglytuff as male, complicating the issue.
      • This is likely a translation error. Further complicated by the fact that the German translation has Wigglytuff as female, while the French translation has Wigglytuff as male. Spanish, Italian, and the original Japanese translations use gender neutral pronouns.
  • Amnesiac God: Your partner, who's an aspect of Mew.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • If you're unsatisfied with what Pokémon you get from the Player Personality Quiz, the game will just let you choose which Pokémon you want to be.
    • If the game detects that your system's battery is low, it will allow you to make an "emergency exit," allowing you to escape while keeping your money and items (note that Continuing Is Painful is the norm in this series).
    • A new one from the series, if your Partner gets knocked out in story-mode dungeons you won't get booted out even if you don't revive them, and will rejoin you in the next cutscene. Client Pokémon won't make you fail the dungeon either if they get knocked out, though you will have to revive them before you go to the next floor in order to complete their mission.
    • Certain IQ skills from the previous games have been integrated directly into your teammates' AI, which allows your allies to choose the most ideal attacks against enemies. If they have Quick Attack and Aqua Jet, they will use Aqua Jet if it can deal supereffective damage. They can also avoid stepping on traps you accidentally trigger but fail to work the first time they're uncovered.
    • You're given the option to use Tiny Reviver Seeds whenever you want instead of the much more useful Reviver Seeds.
    • Anyone can evolve at the right level without holding an evolution item.
    • You can rescue yourself at Pelipper Island instead of needing another game.
    • Throughout the story you'll be taken to several themed locations based on specific types. In case you choose a duo that's exceptionally weak to a certain type, the game will usually pair you up with an additional mon that has a type advantage over the area, such as Buizel in Fire Island Volcano.
    • All of the starters start off with a move that either is very strong on its own or is super-effective against types the starter is weak against, such as Riolu knowing Vacuum Wave, which can hit an enemy up to two spaces away, or Chikorita knowing Ancient Power to get over all of its weaknesses and potentially raising all of its stats by one stage.
  • Anti-Grinding: Unlike past games, and even the mainline games, it takes forever to level grind your main characters. Your other allies have it easier by randomly getting experience multipliers (x3) sometimes that affect only them. The only experience multiplier you get is x2 if you decide to bring an Unown to a dungeon (although your allies, who are already getting multipliers, get an even bigger multiplier by 6 when they're with the Unown too). Everyone in the party receives Leaked Experience, but the process is extremely slow that you're better off just recruiting. If you ever bring a motivated Unown, not only are you bringing a party member who has no battle potential, but you are also wasting a character slot on them.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: After saving, the game sometimes tells you to take a break before continuing, though it's only a suggestion and there's no mechanical encouragement.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can only have 3 Pokémon in your party while dungeon crawling, compared to previous games which allowed 4. To compensate, some story missions have you team up with NPCs that give you a group that goes over the limit, with 7 being the maximum, and large Pokémon still occupy only one spot (though you can have only one at a time in the party).
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • Any time an allied Pokemon gets low on HP, your partner will volunteer to use a healing item for you, instead of you having to spend your turn on healing duty. Similarly, when a non-essential ally faints (such as in optional dungeons), you are asked if you want to revive them, rather than the Reviver Seed activating automatically.
    • The partner AI incorporates previous Pokemon Mystery Dungeon IQ skills and then adds some skills. If a partner Pokemon has a ranged attack that's neutral or super effective, it will deliberately break away from the group to attack at a distance, even if they already have a move that's neutral or super effective that attacks close up. Similarly, if it has the Type Bulldozer emera equipped, which makes all not very effect or ineffective moves super effective, it will use moves that would normally be a bad matchup against certain Pokemon to abuse said emera's effect. Partner Pokemon will also split from the leader to fetch items, for the player's convenience.
    • One of the mechanics in this game is the ability for enemy Pokémon to evolve and gain a power boost after KOing another Pokémon. This other Pokémon does not need to be on your team. This leads to dungeon Pokémon intentionally knocking out a fellow Shedinja in one hit in order to evolve.
    • Dark Matter's ultimate attack is to charge up for a few turns, then shoot up dozens of shadowy spikes through the floor tiles that are flashing red, which is almost guaranteed to be a one-hit kill. The partner prioritizes finding a safe spot as opposed to just standing there.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Yet, AI-controlled Pokémon will try to attack Shedinja with a non-effective move, even if it is knowledgeable to know type matchups in most other scenarios.
    • Wild Pokémon won't realize the presence of Trick Room and will use Agility and the like to slow themselves.
    • Braixen and Delphox will waste the charges on their wands even if their target is already incapacitated.
    • Pokemon will use floor-changing moves such as Sunny Day or Wonder Room frequently, canceling their effects half of the time.
    • Mr. Mime might attempt to use Wide Guard on its allies and then Quick Guard the turn afterwards; the latter move has no effect due to Wide Guard's effect.
    • Wobbuffet will repeatedly use Counter and Mirror Coat before letting their effects to expire.
    • During battles, your teammates will occasionally take a hit for you. While this seems helpful, they will do this even if you're immune to the attack's type or if they're low on HP and you have more than enough.
    • AI-controlled Pokemon have absolutely no idea of PP conservation. They are perfectly happy to spam ranged or room-wide attacks even when it's unnecessary (e.g. room-wide moves on a single Pokemon). Get ready to spend lots of your Elixir on Pokemon with either kind of move.
    • Enemy Pokemon like using Rock Smash on places where they will find absolutely nothing.
    • When an ally's tactic is set to "Let's go together!", they will separate from the group and pick up any item they can find, unless the Bag is full. However, if the Bag is indeed full, they'll refuse to go after money, even though they don't take any inventory space.
  • As Long as There is Evil: Dark Matter will continue to exist as long as the people of the world are led by negative thoughts. Except, well, if it is accepted as part of everyone.
  • Astral Finale: How else can they top the finale of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire? Why, have the entire final dungeon fly off to space. And instead of just Mega Rayquaza helping you, why not add every spacefaring or flying Pokémon out there for a scene akin to an epic space battle? The final boss battle sequence also takes place with stars and nebulas as a backdrop.
  • A Taste of Power:
    • In the story side, expect many of the later missions where you're practically being babysat by monstrously-powerful allies. Either you're luckily Pals with Jesus, you and your partner are conveniently within the Tree of Life's range to trigger a huge evolution boost (sans Mega Evolution) with doubled stats and doesn't begin to compare to straightforward evolution, or you Zerg Rush single enemies with abnormally large parties. The last bit may be completely justified, however.
    • In the side quests, nothing is stopping you from putting that level 50 Salamence next to your level 15 protagonists! (Unless the game randomly excuses the most powerful members by a leave of absence on certain days).
  • Baby Talk: There is a Tyrunt in the game who cannot pronounce his R's and sometimes, his L's.
    Tyrunt: I'm widdle but stwong!
  • Back from the Dead: Almost everyone, at one point or another, is turned into stone by Dark Matter or its minions, but are eventually brought back to life.
  • Bait-and-Switch: For those that played the previous games in this series, there's the fact that it's the partner who has to leave at the end of the main story, instead of the player character. In fact, the ending was built up to look like it was going to be the latter who had to leave. This change of events even gets lampshaded.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss:
    • In the Ancient Barrow, you have to fight Giratina, even though it's still really early in the game! Actually, it's not really Giratina; you fight an illusion created by a Solosis.
    • Both Groudon and Kyogre come in their Primal Forms, unlike how the avatars next to their dungeon titles may show otherwise.
    • You don't get to fight Rayquaza in Dragon Gate directly. You first have to fight two other bosses first—and then you fight Mega Rayquaza.
  • Big Bad: Dark Matter, which is a living Eldritch Abomination born from all negativity of the world.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • In the Voidlands, just as your character is about to perish from being sucked into the muck of the Void Shadows, Suicune, Entei and Raikou show up and destroy the Void Shadows with their attacks, freeing you from them.
    • Also, after going through the Prehistoric Ruins, when you, your partner and Beheeyem are in the depths and the Tree of Life is not there, Nuzleaf is about to turn you to stone again...when Ampharos, Jirachi and Celebi show up to stop his attack, then Ampharos attacks Nuzleaf and sends him off.
    • After that, Arceus, Mega Rayquaza, Mega Mewtwo Y, Deoxys, and every flying Pokemon that hasn't turned to stone helps the party after your partner just barely fails to catch the Tree of Life.
    • When Dark Matter reforms, all seems lost... until Nuzleaf and the stone crew come out of nowhere to kick ass so they can atone for what this monster caused them to do. It fails, however, and the gang is petrified. To add to that NO! moment, the one who feels the worst about it can't even finish his sentence.
  • Blob Monster: Void Shadows are apparently indigenous black... things... that reside in the Voidlands. They also have the ability to impersonate other Pokemon.
  • Blown Across the Room:
    • The moves Roar, Whirlwind, Circle Throw, Dragon Tail, and the item Whirlwind Wand send enemies flying back.
    • The Whirlwind emera gives the player character's default 'A' attack the same effect.
    • Dark Matter can do this too if you piss him off by breaking him a little.
  • Book-Ends:
    • The player character and partner initially leave Serene Village by sneaking out, while Espurr telepathically informs everyone. When the protagonists return to Serene Village after beating the Big Bad, Espurr again has told everyone, but this time, the villagers are the ones sneaking in a surprise party.
    • The game begins with the player character suffering from a headache and not remembering what happened, and coming across Nuzleaf and three Beheeyem. The final epilogue mission involved the player character suffering from a headache and (initially) not remembering what happened, and eventually coming across Nuzleaf and the Beheeyem.
  • Boring, but Practical: The effects of the Power Boost X and Power Boost Y emeras aren't very showy, but they provide much-needed, consistent damage boosts in a game that will challenge you. Equipping both in the same looplet adds an accuracy boost which is equally non-flashy and equally useful.
    • Emeras can also be used to temporarily boost stats for that dungeon only; this is the best use for some of the more situational emeras.
  • Boss Rush: You have to go through Dialga and Palkia right before facing off against Rayquaza at Dragon Gate.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • The badges you get for completing certain tasks are this. Said descriptions even say they're not worth taking to dungeons.
    • Arceus is the most powerful Pokémon available, but it's also the last one you can connect with and is at the end of Destiny Tower, an extremely hard dungeon. Once you've gotten it, you probably won't need it.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Anybody evil you meet is possessed by Dark Matter.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • The first time you find the Djinn's Bottle in Sahra Town, Hoopa comments that there's no 'Connected' cutscene—so he does it himself.
    • Nuzleaf while taking you through Open Pass and Lush Forest.
    Nuzleaf: You hold B to dash!
  • Brother–Sister Incest: In one of the bonus videos, The Jellicent Show: Pokémon Friendship, the Umbreon and Espeon from the previous game are being interviewed by two Jellicent, the female one of the duo seemingly convinced that the two are involved romantically, a fact that neither of them confirm or deny. Similarly, if what their connection orb quest hints at, they do have something resembling romantic feelings for each other... However, in their debut game, it was stated that they are a brother and sister team. So, either this fact has since been Retcon'd, or this trope is in play.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Destiny Tower, returning from Explorers of Sky, has 99 floors and does away with all sense of logic by switching what Video Game Settings you're in every fifth floor. Furthermore, you'll come across a huge amount of Pokémon capable of using entire room attacks on the first five floors alone.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Ampharos is an utterly silly person until his "management" skills come to light.
    • Hell, in the Expedition Society, everyone but Mawile is this, if destroying the Nexus several times in the past over trivial problems mean something.
  • But Now I Must Go: Expect to go through a tearful goodbye sequence after saving the world. This time, however, it's not you who leaves the world but your partner, since they were a reincarnation of Mew and fulfilled their role of saving the world.
  • Came Back Wrong: In terms of gameplay, if you knock out a Nincada, after a few turns, a Shedinja will spawn where the corresponding Nincada was defeated. There's no sign of Ninjask, though...
  • Call-Back: Basically every Pokemon that can potentially be a cameo from a previous PMD game is one, including cameos from the Japan-exclusive WiiWare titles. These include:
    • At one point, you can run into the Hydreigon from Gates To Infinity. He's shocked that you don't remember him. Either way, this is a simple nod rather than a plot-important clue.
    • During the epilogue, the player searches for (and eventually finds) Mew in the Mystery Jungle, the dungeon from the Explorers games where Mew guarded the Grass Cornet.
    • Many of the connections in the Connection Orb reference previous games, such as:
      • Makuhita with Marowak and Electivirenote 
      • Duskull with Persiannote 
      • Whiscash with Alakazam, Charizard, and Tyranitarnote 
      • Octillery with Blastoise and Golemnote 
      • Gengar with Ekans and Gardevoirnote 
      • Skuntank with Koffingnote 
      • Corphish with Croagunk, Loudred, Bidoof, and Sunflora; Chimecho with Diglett and Dugtrionote 
      • Diglett and Dugtrio with Skarmorynote 
      • Scizor with Froslassnote 
      • Ninetales with Absolnote 
      • Chatot with Wigglytuffnote 
      • Grovyle with Dusknoir and shiny Celebinote 
      • Igglybuff with Armaldonote 
      • Palkia with Cresselia and Azurillnote 
      • Espeon with Umbreonnote 
      • Virizion with Keldeo, Dunsparce, and Emolganote 
      • Snover with Gligar, Bagon, and Bidoofnote 
      • Gurdurr with Timburr and Scraggynote 
      • Munna with Kyuremnote 
      • Swellow with Wurmplenote 
      • Manaphy with Walreinnote 
    • Wynaut's mission is to help him beat Primeape, a reference to a side mission in Rescue Team where Wynaut and Wobbuffet want you to defeat the Mankey gang in Uproar Forest.
    • Arceus' mission has you go through the Destiny Tower to connect with him on the 99th floor.
  • Canon Welding: This game confirms that all of the Mystery Dungeon titles take place in the same continuity. The continents from the Rescue Team games, Explorers games, and Gates to Infinity can be visited (including some old dungeons), the Connection Orb suggests that some of the Pokémon you recruit may be major characters from those games (although this generates some strange cases as the Guildmaster from Explorers being able to be Connected as an Igglybuff and as a Wigglytuff), and various past rescue/exploration teams, including Team ACT (from Rescue Team) Team Charm, Team AWD, Team Razor Wind, Team Raider, Team Skull, and Team Tasty (from Explorers) get explicit mentions and happen to be recruitable.
  • Cartography Sidequest: Your partner's main goal is to draw maps of various locations in the world.
  • Cash Gate: The Travel Passes needed to access other continents take a non-insignificant amount of Poke during that stage of the game to unlock. They are not mandatory for the story-required missions, however, for they all take in either the Water or Air continents.
  • Cassandra Truth: For the first time in the series, most Pokémon don't believe you're a human right off the bat. Most of them think you're just lying to get attention, and the only ones who actually do believe you are admitted Cloud Cuckoo Landers or know more about your situation than they let on...
  • Check-Point Starvation:
    • Remember when they would have checkpoints in the dungeons, indicating that a boss is up ahead, and you could save, so you could start again from the checkpoint and head back out again? ...Yeah. There is no possible way to save in checkpoints anymore. If you lose to a boss fight, you wind up at the very start of the dungeon.
    • This issue is solved with the Progress Device items, which let you save anywhere on a dungeon floor except boss floors.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Those Harmony Scarves you have? They were made using material from the Tree of Life, and they give the wearers the power to evolve to their last stages (except Mega Evolution) in case they're within the range of the tree and they're facing life-and-death situations or they must guard the tree from harm.
    • Later on, however, the scarves are sacrificed to bring your partner back, which nullify the need to evolve due to the plot. You can still evolve your Pokémon in the post-game, though it truly doesn't compare to the evolution triggered through the scarves.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Espurr. Though she initially seems to be forgotten about by the plot upon your move to Lively Town, she becomes involved in defeating the Dark Matter acts as a Double Reverse Quadruple Agent. After Nuzleaf turns all the Pokemon on top of Revelation Mountain to stone, Espurr seemingly betrays you to save herself by working for him as a mole in the Expedition Society. However, she is later revealed to to have only joined Nuzleaf so she could communicate Nuzleaf's movements to Ampharos and Jirachi while making Nuzleaf think that she's giving him information on Ampharos.
  • The Chessmaster: Nuzleaf made up a nasty plan on the spot in order to completely control your character's actions from the very beginning.
  • Chest Monster: Ditto becomes this in this game after being anything but a threat before in the series. Ditto spawns disguised as an item, and once you try to pick it up, it Transforms back into Ditto. And since Transform confuses all enemies in the room, you get a very nasty surprise.
  • Climax Boss: Yveltal and co. act as the most challenging bosses in the game. In contrast, the Final Boss is less brutally powerful, although the player has to go through several battles.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Among other things, emeras in dungeons come in six colors, and the color corresponds to which stat it boosts when you use it as an item (instead of equipping it on a looplet).
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • If a teammate is defeated by an enemy pre-evolution, they will most likely evolve and learn a whole new moveset meant to murder the rest of the team. Even the How To Play tip mentions an evolving enemy is a nasty foe and must be eliminated quickly.
    • Enemies on harder dungeons have very high HP, which oftentimes means they have higher HP than your party.
    • An inverted case for your AI-controlled teammates. They somehow know where traps are and will never trigger and avoid them while you're oblivious to their hidden tiles unless they're confused or you push them into them.
    • It's impossible to use the Primal Reversions for Groudon and Kyogre despite them having them as boss forms.
    • Some dungeon Pokemon, such as Aromatisse, have their Hidden Abilities. These are completely unavailable to players.
  • Combination Attack: Alliance moves cause your nearby team members to surround a target and execute specific moves simultaneously (at a cost of depleting the Belly faster). Beware that in the postgame, enemy Pokemon have access to these too.
  • Continuing Is Painful:
    • Expect the harder dungeons to have over 30 floors and be full of nothing but extremely long hallways to make you go hungry from madness, and small rooms with the stairs hidden between uncovered tiles you have yet to cross. Becomes even more stressful when you unwillingly walk the other way from the stairs and end up crossing several rooms on a single path until you hit a dead end. To make matters worse, you really can't just Mega bum rush or Rock Smash a tunnel in these dungeons.
    • The Progress Device+ item compensates for this, as you won't lose money or items if you get defeated in a dungeon if you used it.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In Serene Village, there's a Teddiursa and Ursaring who hang out together, and much like in Explorers, Teddiursa wants to evolve. However, this Teddiursa eventually decides not to evolve.
    Teddiursa: I went out to see Xerneas... But I decided to give up on evolving. I thought I would get even bigger than Ursaring... But then I heard I would end up about the same size. That just wouldn't have been enough for me. And I mean, wouldn't it be weird to see two Ursaring hanging out together?
    • There is a set of Looplets named after previous games (besides Gates to Infinity), including Japan-only Adventure Squad games, which were translated as Wildfire (Blazing), Tempest (Stormy) and Radiance (Light).
    • Quite a number of Pokemon are unlocked in ways that heavily imply that they are in fact the same exact Pokemon from previous PMD games. For example, completing Whiscash's mission unlocks Alakazam, Charizard, and Tyranitar (and Seviper) as playable Pokemon all at the same time.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Played straight or downplayed, depending on which status effects you try. Boss enemies are of course fully immune to anything that could truly cheese a fight (OHKO moves, Endeavor, Quarter Wand, HP-Swap Wand, etc.). Other effects can still be inflicted with the same reliability as on random mooks, but bosses will arbitrarily recover from them faster than they should, sometimes on the very same turn.
  • Cosmetic Award: The crowns you get for completing a Treasure collection are explicitly said to do nothing.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The Tree of Life. It keeps the world spinning and orbiting around the sun, meaning everything will be incinerated should it somehow die.
  • Crash-Into Hello:
    • Ampharos has this as another habit even when wandering around a rural/urban setting.
    • Though it doesn't actually show the two bumping, it is believed that the Hero and Nuzleaf meet by crashing into each other with a doof sound effect. However, the game only shows Hero stopping in front of Nuzleaf after he notices them.
    • For their second meeting, Partner crashes into the Player character and knocks them out in a desperate rush due to being Late for School.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Ampharos also just about has a lot of backup plans in case things go absolutely wrong. You and your partner would be toasted otherwise.
  • Critical Status Buff: Besides the standard abilities that boost a type of attack at low health, the Clutch Performer emera lets a Pokemon dodge attacks more easily at low health.
  • Crutch Character:
    • When you compare the rather abnormal boosts of power you and your partner get when evolving through the Harmony Scarves with the already evolved allies you recruit, the latter feels like this.
    • Additionally, in a few story-related expeditions, the player characters are often paired with temporary teammates that are at significantly higher levels than themselves, and likely have typing advantages over Pokémon in certain dungeons. This includes Goomy and Espurr in School Forest, Buizel in Fire Island Volcano, and Mawile and the legendary Johto Trio in the Voidlands.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • The perilous rock hopping climb your partner does to reach the flying dead Tree of Life. Doubles up as hilarious if they are a form that can't virtually jump that high several times.
    • The Legendary Beasts can pull out a massive roar-like attack that eliminates many Void Shadows around them. They can't use this during gameplay battles.

    D-L 
  • Darker and Edgier: While the first half of the game is lighter than its predecessor, this all changes by the game's second half with the case of Pokémon being petrified under mysterious circumstances, and then gets even darker when Nuzleaf betrays the player and their team by revealing he was the one behind the petrifications. Yveltal appears and turns the player and their team into stone, while the Beeheeyem turn the Prehistoric Ruins exploration group to stone as well, sending everyone into the Voidlands. It all culminates with the fight against Dark Matter, whose end goal is the darkest in the Mystery Dungeon series, intending to turn the entire world into a dead husk by detaching and killing the Tree of Life, sending the planet hurling into the sun.
  • Darkest Hour: After failing to revive the Tree of Life multiple times, Dark Matter gleefully tells the protagonists how everyone else on Earth has been turned to stone, so they have no reason to fight on. The player character only has to look at their partner to find a reason to fight.
  • Dark Is Evil: Dark Matter appears to be a case of this at first. However, the partner is able to halt their plans by realizing that they're Not Evil, Just Misunderstood.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Nuzleaf and Yveltal are Dark-types, but they're not truly evil, just being controlled by Dark Matter.
  • Dark Reprise: "Treasure within Your Heart" plays toward the beginning of the game, when you and your partner are becoming friends. "Time to Part Ways" takes the core melody and twists into one of pure heartache.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Although you'll still lose your items and money, the final boss won't regenerate health if your team faints and chooses to give up, allowing you to continue the fight like nothing had happened once you re-enter the boss area.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Inverted with Dark Matter. It gets defeated for good after The Partner accepts it as part of everyone.
    • Played straight on the expeditions where you're challenged to a fight by someone or you're asked to deal with a troublemaking Pokémon, as the losing party always gets connected to you and your team.
  • Deuteragonist: Despite the other PMD games focusing mainly on the player, this game focuses a lot more on the partner, such as when the partner must leave instead of the player, as it was in past games. This is because the partner regained their memories as Mew and had to leave the world behind after fulfilling their role of saving it.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • During the main storyline, every plot-relevant character has something unique to say for each day. Pokémon will recognize the new scarves you're wearing, or if you're traveling without your partner, or that Mew is in your team.
    • The Expedition Society's leader, Ampharos, is Agent Peacock. His movepool by default contains Swagger, which he does not normally learn except through TM.
    • The player cannot put Jirachi to sleep in his boss fight, as he is already sleeping.
  • Difficulty Spike: Choose any dungeon early on that's not from the story mode or the Water Continent, and your sorry kiddy ass will be handed back to you.
    • In terms of the story, Poliwrath River is a major one especially if you chose Fire and/or Water types. Prepare for Luxio dealing insane damage with a Charged Spark and Heliolisk hitting an entire party with Razor Wind. The three Poliwrath (and Poliwag) waiting at the end are no joke either, as they will try to surround one Pokémon and spam Round, which gets stronger as more Pokémon use it.
    • The Submerged Cave is outright cruel, with wild Pokémon being able to use Hydro Pump to hit a whole team in a straight line. The damage can easily cap above 100 HP, while your choices haven't left the double digits yet. Grass-type starters may barely survive one hit (without taking into account that Rain Dance may be in effect), but everyone else...
    • If you chose a fire-type as your player character, the Sand Dune of Spirits is probably going to give you a hard time if not outright kick your butt. There's no avoiding it, because you are required to get through it to advance the post-game. The reason why it's so challenging if you're a fire-type is because you have to go through it alone in order to find out how to get your partner back and the dungeon is crawling with high level rock and ground-types. Further complicating matters are two fire-types with Flash Fire (Growlithe and Houndoom), an ability that completely nullifies any fire attack you throw at it.
    • Going through Mystery Jungle as a Grass type is simply hellish; literally every Pokémon in there is a Poison type, with a fair few of them also being Bug or Flying type, and they are perfectly capable of ending you in one hit. Similar to the Sand Dune of Spirits, it is also plot-demanded and you cannot bring allies on your first visit.
    • In general, many dungeons and Connection Orb missions can seem like this due to the heavier emphasis on the Roguelike side of the gameplay. This seems to have been done to encourage players to swap their team members out rather than sticking with their player and partner. Since leveling your Pokémon is so slow, it's easier to do the harder missions with a team of the higher-level Pokémon that you gain access to early on in the game.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The way that the Connection Orb quests work allows you to possibly obtain several powerful Pokémon very early on, including a level 50 Salamence when your team is probably no higher than level 14. Although it's subverted in that after you use a higher-leveled Pokémon, it'll be unavailable for several days, when you do use it you can expect to curb-stomp everything in the dungeon. These Pokémon can only be used in side quests (and the final epilogue quest), unfortunately.
    • Some starter Pokémon get strong moves very early. Chespin learns Rollout (a move that hits multiple times in one turn) at a mere level 8 while Charmander starts with Dragon Rage (a Fixed Damage Attack which does enough damage to defeat most early Pokémon in one shot).
    • Much like Companion mode in the last game, Pelipper Island allows one to tackle extra dungeons as well previously completed dungeons in the main story without being forced to progress with the story. While the extra dungeons can get pretty hard, playing previously completed story dungeons are a great way to stock up on items and money early on. In addition, the Pokémon you get in this mode join at a much higher level and have far better moves than the protagonist of the main story, which makes going through the previous dungeons with them a breeze.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Carracosta's and Watchog's cheerful portraits are rather... interesting.
    • Additionally, Krookodile's drinking habits, need for quick cash, thug-like mannerisms, and character development are reminiscent of a recovering drug/alcohol addict.
  • Dual Boss: Zekrom and Reshiram are encountered as a pair in Sky Ruins.
  • Dummied Out: There is a track not in the jukebox that uses the same Leitmotif as the Tree of Life, yet it doesn't seem to play anywhere.
    • Every starter has a high-res model used during close ups, including Eevee and Ralts, which are not playable starters. Their high-res models can be seen here, and look like a retextured Pikachu. Bonus points for having the word "dummy" written on the model itself, and for the model filename being "dummypokemon_00".
  • Dwindling Party: More and more Pokémon get petrified as the story continues. By the time of the final battle, you and your partner are among the very few unpetrified Pokémon in the world.
  • Eldritch Location: The Voidlands, which are a hellish realm the spirits of Pokémon are sent to after they've been turned to stone. Though the terrain isn't particularly strange for the most part, the unnatural colors and perpetual twilight lend it a very alien feel.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors:
    • One notable change introduced is that types that were supposed to be immune to certain types but weren't previous can now properly No-Sell as intended like the home series. (This can be overcome with the Type Bulldozer emera however.)
    • When visiting Fire Island, Ampharos specifically lampshades how Mawile, being both Steel and Fairy, doesn't fare well against Fire types, while Buizel's typing fares much better. (Ironically, Entei is able to Fire Blast Buizel to exhaustion despite the fire/water matchup, while Mawile is able to deflect the same attack with no ill effects.)
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The Big Bad's plan for this is to kill the Tree of Life, which will stop the rotation of the planet and send it hurtling into the sun.
  • Easily Forgiven: Pancham. He treats the partner like crap, but nobody ever calls him out on it. Not even the partner. Especially not the partner.
  • Eternal Recurrence: The power of Dark Matter grows and shrinks When the Planets Align. The player characters fought it off in the distant past, and had traveled through time to finish it off for good the next time the planets aligned.
  • Exact Words: When you and your partner first meet Ampharos, and your partner asks if Ampharos is a member of the Expedition Society, the answer is "no". Which is technically true, as Ampharos is the leader of the Expedition Society, though you and your partner don't find this out right away.
    • In the epilogue, Xatu tells the player that Mew resides within the Mystery Jungle. This is completely true, but he never said anything about the partner being there, or Mew actually knowing about the partner and Dark Matter, which it doesn't.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Entei, Raikou, Suicune, and Mawile knew they likely wouldn't escape from death after being Swallowed Whole, hence why they seemed to act a lot more selflessly.
  • Fake Longevity: A dungeon is classified as completed the moment it is visited instead of being walked through. In short, you can completely skip those pesky and super long level 5 dungeons with a handy Escape Orb. You do have to go all the way to the end for dungeons that house treasures and legendaries if you want to Catch Them All, though.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: That tree-like design on the game's cover art? You'll see it again when facing the Final Boss.
  • Fisher Kingdom: As with PMD games in general, it's never explained why your character gets turned into a Pokemon before arriving in the Pokemon world, it just happens.
  • Flat Character: If you're not talking to an important character, expect only to hear a generic one-liner every time you speak to them.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The characters repeatedly make mentions of how it's so hot during the Summer season. The complaints keep coming up for a lot of the chapters until it's revealed that the planet is being pulled into the sun.
    • Upon reaching Fire Island Volcano, Ampharos pairs your team with Buizel under the explanation that his Water typing will come more in handy than Mawile's Steel-and-Fairy typing against the Fire types of the area. Buizel objects that Mawile is strong enough that type matchups don't really matter to her, but goes anyway. Indeed, in the bout with Entei Buizel is taken down rather easily while Mawile No Sells Entei's attack effortlessly.
    • There's a lot of foreshadowing regarding Nuzleaf's true nature: the character is often gone for long periods of time without any explanation of where they're going or why; they carry Frustration among their other moves; they attempt to climb Revelation Mountain despite it being explicitly forbidden; they constantly warn you about Beeheeyem, yet when Beeheeyem actually show up, they attempt to get you to stay; and, in a meta bit of way, they are like Dusknoir and Munna in that they are initially presented as a friendly, trustworthy Pokémon even as they are serving the Big Bad.
    • During the cutscenes with Roselia and Budew after Nectar Meadow and Ampharos after Poliwrath River (on the hill, at night time), the doors to the Ancient Barrow are visibly open in the background.
  • Free-Range Children: Averted. Unlike previous games, the story here heavily undermines your authority just for being children. Turns out evolution is taken as Serious Business in order to become a free adult, and the characters constantly remind you about not going to dangerous places. And even when you get to those dangerous places, chances are you're being led by an experienced adult looking out after you.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: It's very difficult to spot if you aren't looking for it, but during the scene after beating Dark Matter and your partner shatters it there is a very brief window of time where white text appears in the middle of the screen as the scene fades to white, reading "ThAnK yOU." This foreshadows the fact that Dark Matter is gone for good this time, having found peace in being accepted as a natural part of everyone.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Most ranged moves will specifically hit only enemy Pokemon, and will simply pass over/through any allied Pokemon that might otherwise be standing in the way. (Unless the user is confused, in which case they're a valid target.) There are exceptions (such as Earthquake) of course, so pay attention to whether a move is described as targeting "enemy" or "all" Pokemon.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Just before entering the Ancient Barrow, if the player runs through the field and temporarily leaves the partner behind, the partner will be frozen to the spot and crying with fear, and won't move again until the player shows up.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Nuzleaf's character model shows him with a worried frown while his character portrait shows him with a nasty smirk.
    • Similarly, certain starter Pokemon were just designed with better model reactions to story events than others. Pokemon like Riolu, Fennekin, and Snivy tend to have good model reactions that match up with their portraits and the mood of the scene. However, some Pokemon like Chikorita will have their model react to shocking events with a wide open gaping smile!
    • The types of your main characters never come into question when going through a Lethal Lava Land dungeon. Your picks may be strong against Fire-types, but your superiors prefer to criticize your age first.
    • Despite the fact that Deerling changes form depending on the season, by the time summer vacation rolls around, she's still in her Spring Forme.
    • After you evolve, others will continue to call you a kid.
    • When you and your partner first visit the Air Continent with Archen, the dialogue suggests that it took you several hours to cross the relatively short difference. Afterwards, you can visit all the continents in a day and the time it takes to get to each one is completely irrelevant.
    • Many of your recruited teammates can usually be found on certain continents. Despite this, they can somehow join expeditions on completely different continents with no explanation as to how they got there.
    • According to the writing you find in the Voidlands, the Pokemon there are just phantoms. However, the Connection Orb still recognizes them.
    • On the Grass Continent, Pangoro has you fight a Pyroar, and once you complete the mission, refers to the Pyroar as 'he'. Pyroar are one of the few Pokémon species with significant gender dimorphism, and this one is obviously female.
    • Emeras, looplets and Treasure Boxes are introduced at specific points in the story. Before those points in the story, dungeons you visit won't have them; after those points in the story, though, you can revisit those dungeons and the boxes, emeras and looplets will appear like in any other dungeon.
    • On the map, the island where the Tree of Life is located is drawn as fairly small and covered in forests. During the cutscenes where various characters try to reach the Tree of Life's roots, the surrounding landscape is mountainous and extensive.
    • When Audino begins teaching the class about evolution, none of the characters have a clear idea of what evolution exactly is. However, this includes the partner even if they're a Pikachu, the one Pokemon out of all the possible player/partner options that has already evolved.
  • Gender-Neutral Writing: The player's Pokemon is never assigned a specific gender. And even though your partner is always assigned either "cool" (male) or "cute" (female), they're never actually addressed as such either.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: The Dark Matter. Justified in that it's the negative emotions of the world's inhabitants in physical form.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • After completing the mission of going to Flareon's secret base, Flareon comments that Espeon and Umbreon love playing with each other, which they quickly deny:
    Flareon: By the way...Espeon over there and Umbreon mostly prefer to play with just each oth—
    Espeon: No, Flareon! What did you just say...?!
    Umbreon: T-that's preposterous!
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy: Averted. After years of not appearing in the series Arceus itself spearheads the final assault on the Tree of Life and Dark Matter. And while it doesn't partake in the battle directly (probably not a good idea judging how the enemy could just turn it into stone instantly) it instead commands all remaining Pokemon via telepathy.
  • God Was My Copilot: Your partner, again.
  • Happily Adopted: Your partner, by Carracosta, who found them when they were just a baby and adopted them.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Krokorok and Krookodile go from being the biggest crooks in Lively Town to milk delivery men.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Shelmet is easily smitten by any cute female, even the school nurse.
  • Here We Go Again!: The Pokémon Nexus is said to be destroyed on a regular basis that it always forces the Expedition Society to start from scratch on their mapping, and not even Jirachi's wish power is enough for it. Thankfully, the player averts this frustration on starting from zero after it is seen getting wrecked once.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: From a "Skitty got your tongue?" to an actual "Now hold your Ponyta!", every animal-based metaphor substitutes a Pokemon name in place of the real-life counterpart.
  • Honor Before Reason: In the epilogue, the player character is willing to bring Dark Matter back if it means bringing their partner back as well. Thankfully, the scenario was just an elaborate ruse....
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: While the following are in fact beatable, there's no consequence for losing:
    • The sudden drowsy Jirachi boss fight is this. It comes absolutely out of nowhere that makes you totally unprepared for it, especially since said boss can heal its obscenely large HP bar. You can win it, but the Difficulty Spike is rather absurd. Later on, you and your partner wisely avoid talking to it while it is sleeping to prevent another brutal smack down.
    • The first round against Entei is also one of these. Even if you triumph, Entei merely shrugs you off with a loud roar.
    • The Beheeyem fight in Lively Town is not as hopeless, but a win is not required for the plot to progress.
  • HP to 1:
    • The Payback emera gives its wearer a chance of reducing the opponent's HP to one after being attacked.
    • Moves such as "Final Gambit" that normally cause the user to faint upon use instead leave them standing with just 1 HP.
    • The Two-Edge Wand lowers the target's HP to one, and the user's HP by half.
  • Hub Level: As always, there's a town you can walk around in between exploring dungeons. Interestingly though, there are multiple towns in this game compared to one major one you can visit, each having their own specific themes and features, though Serene Village and Lively Town remain the hubs from which your characters wake up each morning.
  • Hurl It into the Sun: This is Dark Matter's goal: By draining the Tree of Life of its energy, the Tree will fly into the sun and destroy itself, soon to be followed by the entire planet.
  • I Choose to Stay: Invoked by the player character when they consider that they will have to return to the human world since they were sent to the Pokémon world to defeat Dark Matter. Their friendship with their partner has gotten so strong that they would rather stay with them, which leads to a cruel twist of irony when the partner turns out to be the one who has to leave.
  • Identical Stranger: Your character choices and random dungeon Pokémon aside, there are really odd instances in the game where there are two normal Blaziken/Venusaur running around yet aren't related through blood or friendship. Odder yet, the copies of those two are in the Connection Orb as possible choices.
    • Subverted. Additional Pokémon are added if there's a gender difference between them, as is the case with Blaziken and Venusaur, for example.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Many of the stereotypical comments from some of the NPCs can fall into this. A Luxray comments about always using his x-ray vision to find foes, and then he later retracts and mentions he doesn't use it for other stuff. Then of course there is the Braixen who gingerly states why it has a twig in its bushy tail.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • The player can find Gold Bars in the dungeons between Serene Village and Lively Town, before Cofagrigus formally introduces his service.
    • The interface will give away that a Pokémon is a Zorua or Zoroark by mentioning it has the Illusion ability.
  • Jerkass:
    • Pancham is the resident school bully who loves to make fun of the other children, especially the partner. Shelmet mostly just follows along.
    • Several Legendaries are also this, which come with being extremely territorial and easily pissed with any trespasser. This is lampshaded by your partner.
  • Just a Kid: The many, many ethical barriers holding you back are based on this trope.
  • Kid Hero: You and your partner are considered children, yet you save the world and beat the crap out of Dark Matter with the support of the adults who wanted you to stay out of danger, ironically.
  • Killer Rabbit: The Little Canyon dungeon is chock full of first-stage starter Pokémon with absurdly high stats.
  • The Lancer: Espurr is an extremely helpful person despite not being part of the main party. You will see why.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: The Toughness emera acts the same way that a Focus Sash would act in the main series—upon taking damage that would be fatal, it allows the wearer to survive with one HP while causing the emera to disappear.
  • Last Stand: The Go For Broke emera, which gives its bearer an increase in damage in exchange for not being able to revive.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Talking to Munna from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity reveals to newcomers she was evil for much of that game.
  • Late for School: Causes a Crash-Into Hello with your partner which knocks you out.
  • Lazy Backup: Averted; when you visit Pelipper Island from the game's main menu, you're assigned a secondary team of three Pokemon. Afterwards, if your primary team faints in any dungeon which allows rescues, you can send in your secondary team (or anyone you've recruited) to revive them.
  • Leaked Experience: Every Pokémon you have connected with will receive EXP from defeated foes, even if you've never taken them into a dungeon. (Unlike Gates to Infinity before it, they level up off-screen, instead of receiving the backlog of EXP on their first step in a dungeon).
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: All 720 officially revealed Pokémon are in this game and are available to recruit.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • There are a few dungeons where only you or you and your partner can go to without bringing any other mons. However, this doesn't stop you from bringing Hoopa along, since he is summoned via an item.
    • Because Hoopa is summoned through an item, he can bypass item or level limits, making him very useful for dungeons that impose such limits.
  • Lost in Translation: The lines "I aM... No, ME! I'm... We ArE... altOgETHer... DaRk MATter!" may seem confusing in English, but in the original Japanese, it's "わたしは......ボクハ......ワレハ......ダークマター!"—Dark Matter is picking a Japanese Pronoun to go by.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: The Bonus Material clips:

    M-P 
  • Magical Accessory: Harmony Scarves, which are imbued with the energy from the Tree of Life and act as Transformation Trinkets when its wearers are near the tree.
  • The Maze: The final floors of Sandy Cave, Snowy Cave, and Holey Meadow are filled with twisty little passages.
  • Memory Gambit:
    • The player character and partner are a human and Mew, respectively, who wiped their memories to make sure History Doesn't Repeat from their previous mistakes. Unfortunately, Nuzleaf exploits this gambit for Dark Matter's needs.
    • In the epilogue, the player character allows the Beheeyem to wipe parts of their memory in order to bring their partner back through The Power of Friendship.
  • Milholland Relationship Moment: When Budew gets into trouble at Nectar Forest, your character and your partner end up skipping school to go rescue Budew, so your partner realizes that you both are probably going to be in big trouble the next time you go to school. You even get a choice between either being honest and taking your lumps from Vice Principal Watchog, or giving up and skulking home...and either way, Espurr intervenes and distracts Watchog, allowing you both to make it to class on time, and Principal Simipour decides that you skipping school isn't as important as the fact that you did it to save Budew, so there will be no punishment this time.
  • The Mole: Espurr happily admits to working for the Big Bad to avoid being turned to stone. In truth, she was a Reverse Mole for Ampharos to keep him informed of Nuzleaf's moves.
  • Mood Whiplash: The first 3/4ths of the game is downright saccharine, but then Chapter 16 hits and the game slams the player with the dark storylines the series is known for.
  • Musical Spoiler: During the first fight with Entei the battle theme is 'Boss Battle: Expedition Society Fight', just like the previous battle against Magmortar and his crew instead of getting his own theme. A few moves into the fight the battle ends and 'Showdown with a Volcanic Entei!' plays in the following battle, which shares a Leitmotif and overall similar sound to the 'Fire Island Volcano' theme.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Riolu stands out as a sore thumb among all the starters including Pikachu. The only assumed reason why it got to return as a choice at all is surely because of its known history of being one of the first to Mega Evolve in the mainline games, which is only helped by its popularity. Don't go expecting the Harmony Scarves will make it Mega Evolve, however.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Wild Pokémon can evolve if they defeat your allies. Your side will never achieve this through this method. For added insult, there is the Enemy Evolve Orb, which evolves every enemy in a room.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Deoxys and Rayquaza appear to fight each other once more. That's actually not true. They don't show up at all during the main storyline except for a few quick cutscenes and a Big Damn Heroes moment at the finale.
    • If you have seen the boxarts for Explorers of Time and Sky, you'll see Piplup and Prinplup there respectively in chronological order. In this game's boxart, you have an Empoleon.
  • Nintendo Hard:
    • Occurs much, much earlier on compared to the previous games, primarily due to the game having much, much more of an emphasis on the Mystery Dungeon side of the crossover, especially when compared to the rest of the series, which usually included a balance between the Pokémon and Mystery Dungeon elements. Whether this is a good change or a bad change is hotly debated, especially with how the RNG of the Roguelike gameplay can clash with the linear story missions.
    • Wild Pokémon can evolve during a dungeon if they defeat another Pokémon, even the ones that should need a Hold Item. This wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't first introduced during a gauntlet of story-related dungeons, during which you have no chance to grind or restock on items. As an example, may Arceus give you mercy when that Wailmer evolves into a Wailord and suddenly learns Water Spout to drown your entire team.
    • The Awakening emera can also aid enemies should they pick up a looplet with it equipped. Needless to say, it becomes a survival-horror game if the enemy Mega Evolves and forces you to encounter the stairs quickly, as fighting them is impossible due to gaining invincibility for a dozen of turns. A reason why you should always come with wands.
    • Either because of the story going so fast or your leveling up going so slowly, you'll have to take on the final chapter at around Level 25-30 which is shockingly low and doesn't give you a lot of room for error. Even a mission that is only 1-star difficulty can go south pretty quickly because your level and stats are still too low.
  • No Hero Discount: So nearly the entire world is petrified with the casualties rising and you may be the last hope for saving the planet, but the Lively Town shop owners won't let you get items for free anyway.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • Quite a few of the dungeons have names that imply that the majority of Pokemon therein are of a certain type, but in fact there may not be any of that type in the dungeon at all. Take Dragon's Gate for example which has Normal and Fairy as the dominant types.
    • Some dungeons have names that imply that the dungeons themselves will be a certain type, but they're not. For example, the 'Buried Ruins' dungeon consists of cliffs.
  • Noodle Incident: It's heavily implied throughout the game that the reason the Expedition Society won't let kids join is that they tried it in the past and it went badly wrong, but no real details are mentioned.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: If the Nexus was destroyed as often as is implied, you'd think by now someone at the Exploration Society would have thought to backup the map data somehow, or at least rebuild it where it's less vulnerable or out of something sturdier, so they wouldn't have to keep remapping everything from scratch.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Serene Village is a pretty rural and peaceful village where no incidents occur, while everywhere else the Taken for Granite issues pop all over. Sure, there was the Litwick incident, but that was going to pass away soon enough, and the protagonist is endlessly being paranoid of the Beheeyem that attacked him. This is actually much darker than it looks like due to the following reasons: one, the village isn't aware of the fact that it's giving housing to a villain - a possessed Nuzleaf - who is capable of turning people into stone; two, the adults and the local sheriff unit keep the nearby mountain under heavy watch to protect a sacred spring; and three, it is also giving housing to an amnesiac war hero of the past who had reincarnated as your partner.
    • The dullness of how peaceful things are in the village and how there is much more happening outside of it is lampshaded by the children themselves. And they are right, if the name Lively Town wasn't obvious enough.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Like the Bittercold before it, the final boss, the Dark Matter Core is an almost eldritch force that's definitely not a Pokémon or anything like it, is powerful enough to turn even Legendaries into stone with virtually no effort, and is something far different than what we've come to expect out of the franchise.
  • Overrated and Underleveled: Exaggerated with Kecleon. Unlike previous games, Kecleon simply asks to join your team after having 750 Connections. Kecleon in dungeons take Shoplift and Die very seriously, what with having boss-like stats and doubled speed, so you would expect your recruited Kecleon to be the same. Nope. He's not that strong. He's not even on the same level as normal Connected Pokémon. He's level 1.
  • Pals with Jesus: You'll be finding a lot of Legendaries early on. Do you know how to recruit Victini? Just talk to it.
    • On the story side, the Expedition Society has Jirachi as part of their team, and it's hinted that he's pals with his other fellow Foil Legendaries that aren't the monstrous beasts trying to kill you on-sight.
    • The biggest example of this trope is your own partner, who's actually an aspect of Mew itself.
    • The player character similarly can recruit Shaymin the same way they recruit Victini, but only if it happened to have a mood to talk with you, which per se, occurs randomly.
  • Parental Substitute: Nuzleaf acts as this to the player. It's a ruse to get you to trust him while he's under Dark Matter's control.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Due to how you can befriend every singular form of Pokémon and there are never copies, once they evolve, you can never hope to get the former Pokémon pre-evolution ever again.
  • Personal Horror: Several characters end up with this trope. Nuzleaf, Yveletal and Beheeyem are all controlled by the Dark Matter to turn everyone into stone and go into self-imposed exile after breaking free and helping to defeat Dark Matter.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: Think Mega Evolution is so hot? In here, it's kind of a double-edged sword. If you do not remove the Awakening emera as the rage gauge on the touch screen fills up completely, your Mega Evolution will go berserk, gain extreme boosts of power, and it will start tearing the dungeon AND your party a new one with huge AOE attacks before it goes back to normal to its normal form. Otherwise, the Awakening emera won't make non-Mega Evolution berserk and gain invincibility without a price. No, the rage gauge doesn't go down if you do unequip the emera. The only way is to letting your Mega Evolution go loose...
  • Player Personality Quiz: Returns here after being absent from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity to determine what Pokémon the player becomes, as well as their partner. Unlike previous games, you can choose to ignore what Pokémon the quiz gives you and choose what you want to be.
  • Plot Tunnel: The game does give the player free days to do Connection Orb missions, but those moments are more limited than previous games, and the plot will advance on its own rather than allowing the player to Take Your Time. This is especially true of the late game, where you have to go through several dungeons without access to the usual shops (only your Deposit Box) for several dungeons in a row.
  • Point of No Return: Submerged Cave is the first of a group of five dungeons in a row until the ending, and you are unable to return to Lively Town once you get past it.
  • Pokémon Speak: Averted, as per PMD norm, with exception of a male Wobbuffet, who is locked into talking like this.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In the epilogue. Mew was beating up Nuzleaf and the Beheeyem badly because they hadn't told him the kidnapping was a ruse. Once they do, Mew stops immediately.
  • The Power of Friendship: It's only good for swaying an Eldritch Abomination from ceasing to exist and bringing two best friends together.
  • Power Up Letdown: Evolving through straightforward means doesn't exactly give you big boosts of power compared to evolution triggered by Harmony Scarves.
  • Pungeon Master:
    • All of the Unown you can talk to are prone to making puns about the letters they stand for.
    • Linoone cannot avoid saying something about lines in every line it says.
  • Purposely Overpowered: Arceus has the overall highest stats, and its Multitype ability grants every party member the STAB bonus for every attack they use.
  • "Psycho" Strings: "Terrifying Shadow".
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    R-Z 
  • Random Encounter: In addition to the usual Monster Houses and Summon traps, some items in a dungeon actually Dittos in disguise, every village/town will have a few randomly selected Pokemon from one day to the next, and on some dungeon treks you'll find a traveling (or fainted) Pokemon that you can meet up and connect with.
  • Rare Candy: In addition to the series-standard vitamins (HP Up, Protein, Iron, etc.), there are a variety of specialty treats (available from Cofagrigus) that can boost your stats permanently. There are also many items to boost your stats for the duration of a dungeon crawl — such as emeras (which you can either equip on looplets or use as items). Oran Berries boost your maximum HP by 10 in addition to healing 100 HP if the latter is more than enough to heal you fully (which is almost always the case).
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Early in the game, Nuzleaf decides to take the player and partner up Revelation Mountain to see exactly what is hidden at the top. While you easily make your way up the first part, you soon find that there is a very heavy guard further up... so you have no other choice but to turn around and go home.
    • No, the other students don't instantly believe that you're a human turned into a Pokemon, given that it's a fantastic story and you have no evidence.
    • Unlike the previous games, your team members aren't always available to go on expeditions, and are sometimes off doing their own thing.
    • During the confrontation at the summit of the Fire Island Volcano, Buizel tries to fight Entei, reasoning that since he's a Water-type and Entei's a Fire-type, the outcome is clearly in his favour. As it turns out, that doesn't really matter if you're fighting a Legendary Pokemon, and Entei easily defeats Buizel.
    • The partner is cheerful and friendly, but has a bad tendency to drag people into schemes that often go wrong and get people hurt. As a result, while the other kids mainly like them, they're not too keen on getting roped into the partner's adventures, and as a result, the partner doesn't have any close friends until the player arrives.
  • Recurring Riff:
    • "Partner's Theme", first previewed in both "Main Theme" and "Title Theme", is the game's primary leitmotif and is reprised in several other tracks such as "No Frustration, No Giving Up", "Make It!", the final boss's theme, and "Epilogue".
    • The Tree of Life also has a Leitmotif, first heard in "The Mystery of the Scarf?! Evolution!", playing in the relevant dungeons, and appearing again in the final boss's theme.
  • Recycled Premise:
    • Dark Matter is pretty much the Bittercold from Gates to Infinity, only replace freezing everything and causing an Apocalypse How thanks to negative emotions with turning everything to stone with negative emotions.
    • The plot of this game bears a very striking resemblance to the events of Pokémon: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction when you find out Xerneas is once again a living tree and Yveltal is capable of turning people into stone.
  • Red Herring:
    • When Yveltal, a living synonym of death and chaos shows up, you most certainly believe you will come to blows with it to truly end the story, when in truth its hinted dark thoughts let something else use it as a major pawn.
    • Also, Krookodile is a red herring in addition to being a red crocodile Pokémon, as he seems to be the culprit behind turning Legendary Pokémon to stone. In truth, Krookodile is only guilty of spreading the "warnings" around, and this is because he was paid off to do so. He's a crook, but he's not the culprit.
  • Replacement Goldfish: During the post-game, the carefree Mew becomes this to your group while you're figuring out if your partner is still alive.
  • Rescued from the Underworld: Despite getting turned to stone at the end of Chapter 16, the three legendary beasts of Johto help you fight your way out of the Voidlands and return to the physical world, this time knowing what you need to do.
  • Rescue Romance: Shiny Celebi is feigning being fainted on a somewhat dangerous dungeon just so a very oblivious Grovyle has to save her for attention. He even points out how she's very strong enough to make it out on her own, despite her type.
  • Reverse Escort Mission: In the Voidlands, Entei, Raikou, and Suicune are the ones escorting you out. You're still leading, though, because they're using you to gauge the threats ahead.
  • Rewatch Bonus: The very start of the game takes on a new meaning after certain reveals later in the story:
    • Namely, it's never said this is when you first arrived in the Pokémon world, only that the main character can't remember anything. The main character also mentions their head hurting, which at the time you'd assume is some kind of Teleportation Sickness. Actually, they're physically hurt, they were just in a battle with the villains.
    • Nuzleaf's "Eek, I'm scared!" clearly comes off as a lie on a rewatch too.
    • Nuzleaf repeatedly asks about the player character's memory, but he never does much to resolve it. It's clearer after The Reveal that he didn't want to restore the player character's memory, but rather keep it erased.
  • Rocket-Tag Gameplay: Thanks to the slow leveling speed of the game, most of your stats will come from stat-boosting items like vitamins, which you can get primarily through trading Gold Bars. As a result, it's usually most worth it to buy attack-boosting vitamins since, even with defense boost, most boss-tier Pokemon will end up one-shotting you anyways nine times out of ten. As result, most of the gameplay will come down to one-shotting Pokemon or getting one-shotted yourself, as well as spamming Reviver Seeds and status Orbs/Wands against major bosses in the game.
  • Running Gag: Every once and so, Mienfoo gives martial arts classes in the center of Lively Town. Talking to the Pokemon that are taking the class will have them practice their attack... on you.
  • Scarf Of Asskicking: Those spiffy scarves you and your partner wear aren't just for show. They're made from the Tree of Life and allow their wearers to temporarily evolve and get doubled stats.
  • Seen It All: The Expedition Society is initially surprised when the player reveals their human identity... for a mere moment. Afterwards, they treat it as ordinary and go back to devouring food on the table. The player and the partner, oddly enough, don't try to pursue the issue more, as the society suddenly treats it as important in the next days.
  • Sequential Boss: Dialga, Palkia, and Rayquaza have to be fought back to back in one of the Bonus Dungeons. Thankfully, after you beat one, you can spend a few moments on the floor to heal up before tackling the next one.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Invoked. A Bronzor comments that its shape and the Connection Orb are exactly the same and fears that the player is going to connect to it literally. At no point is the striking resemblance brought up by the society itself.
  • She's a Man in Japan: Like how both characters in the previous game were male in most countries outside of Japan, in German translation of Super, the partner is always female, while the protagonist is always male. Supposedly, this is because writing gender neutral characters in German is hard due to a lack of gender-neutral pronouns.
  • Ship Tease:
    • While the series has teased the protagonist and partner in the past, this game gets rather heavy with it in the end and after game. While they never admit it directly, a lot of their late game dialogue makes it apparent they have more than platonic feelings for each other.
    • When the protagonist and partner escape the Voidlands, after seeing the partner managing to bounce back after a short pause, the protagonist remarks "that's my 'insert partners name here'!"
    • Then, when the partner is trying to catch the Tree of Life as it ascends into space, when the protagonist helps them when they start to fall behind, they remark how they've always been there for them, and cut themselves off just before they say any more.
    • Then when they confront Dark Matter and the latter manages to drain their 11th-Hour Superpower, the protagonist begins to lose all hope since they're stuck in their weak base forms while nearly all the Pokemon in the world had been turned to stone, feeling like they have nothing left to fight for. The partner then gives a Rousing Speech about why they shouldn't give up no matter the odds. The protagonist's response? That they had something worth fighting for standing beside them the whole time.
    • Then there's the after game, where the protagonist doesn't take losing their partner all that well. They flat-out admit their partner was the main reason they wanted to stay in the Pokemon world, and nearly let slip how they feel like nothing without them...
  • Shout-Out:
  • Solo Sequence: The Sand Dune of Spirits and Mystery Jungle dungeons in the epilogue require the player character traverse them without any teammates. (Well, they can smuggle Hoopa along.)
  • Spanner in the Works: Suffice to say, the Big Bad's plans would've been a big success hadn't it been for Espurr acting on her own to aid the party.
  • Spotting the Thread: Mawile attacks a fake copy of Bunnelby on the grounds that he should've said "saw" instead of "seen".
  • I'm Standing Right Here: This exchange during the epilogue:
    Dedenne: I'm glad to have a new member! Plus, Mythical Pokémon are super rare!
    Jirachi: Um...you do remember that you've already got one Mythical Pokémon right here? Here I am, flying, right here?
  • Stationary Boss: The game's Final Boss occupies a fixed 3x3 area of the arena. It also has attacks that blow you away from it, and a charged attack that hits marked squares.
  • Stepping Stones in the Sky: Near the climax of the storyline, the player character's partner leaps atop of the crumbling earth from the rising Tree of Life get to it before it flies into the sun.
  • Summon Magic: Hoopa can be summoned with the Majin Lamp in either Confined or Unbound forms, who in turn can summon Legendary Pokémon into the dungeon you're at. There's about a fifty-fifty chance the Legendary Pokémon will either want to help or attack you, so generally it's best to use it when summoning a Legendary Pokémon who will attack you can't possibly make the situation you're in any worse.
  • Super Mode:
    • Mega Evolutions appear as a feature. Though since both the player and partner cannot evolve past their starter forms, only allied Pokémon who have a final form capable of Mega-evolving can achieve this. Just be careful not to let them stay in that state for too long or else...
    • The player character and their partner are able to temporarily become the final stage of their evolution (except Mega Evolution) line during dungeons.
  • Super Weapon, Average Joe: Wild Braixen and Delphox are always holding several wands from the dungeon they spawn in. This can range from the mildly annoying Whirlwind Wands to the incredibly deadly Two-Edge Wands.
  • Suspicious Video Game Generosity: As is series standard, a room with a whole buttload of extra items in it is probably a Monster House. In an aversion of Interface Spoiler, "meet me at my secret base" missions always look like this, whether the client actually plans to ambush you or not.
  • Taken for Granite: Sure, PMD has had a paralysis-like Status Ailment called 'petrify' since the beginning, but this time Pokemon literally are being turned to stone, including several of the series' Olympus Mons. Even you get turned to stone in the late game.
  • Take Your Time: Completely averted for a first in the series. Once a story event shows up, you cannot do any other missions (outside of Pelipper Island) before completing it.
  • To Hell and Back: A chunk of the game involves trying to escape from "The Voidlands" which is Hell in all but name. (The first dungeon in the Voidlands is even called "Hell Badlands" in Japanese.)
  • Troll: Some Connection Orb missions involve going to visit someone's secret base or visit their friends only to reveal they lured you into a Monster House ... or to simply joke about how it could have been a Monster House. Thankfully, across 720 species it happens enough that you can learn to tell the difference between which secret bases are Monster Houses and which ones aren't.
  • Tsundere: Unusually enough, Hoopa, as evidenced by the lines he says upon being rejected or accepted, but not having enough inventory space for the Djinn's Bottle. It's not like he really wants to go along with your adventures, so fine!
  • Unexplained Accent:
  • The Un-Reveal:
    • The details on how Nuzleaf and the Beheeyem became corrupted through Dark Matter are left in a mystery. It is only justified for Yveltal, who's a living definition of negativity.
    • You never find out the complete version of your Amnesiac Hero's past either, only that Mew erased your memories.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • Mega Evolution. No one in the game treats it as a big deal or mentions it at all. The people are more concerned with normal evolution over Mega Evolution, but surely for good reason.
    • Mythical Pokemon. No one is surprised upon knowing the likes of Jirachi, Celebi or Mew, although it's partially justified as Jirachi is part of the Expedition Society, Celebi is an acquaintance of Ampharos and only the Expedition Society knew Mew was a Mythical Pokemon, and they were already used to Jirachi. This gets lampshaded when Mew joins the Expedition Society, with Dedenne forgetting that Jirachi is too a "super rare" Mythical Pokemon.
  • Vague Age: Even though everyone thinks the player character is a kid, their real age is never revealed, and their observation that they "must look like a kid" seems to hint that they're older in human years than they seem. The revelation that they also defeated the Dark Matter once in the distant past also seems to imply this.
  • Vendor Trash: Sure, you can buy and sell Apples at a Kecleon shop, but the sparkly-fresh Apples found in dungeons fetch a much higher selling price.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • Combee and Beedrill end their sentences with "buzzy-busy".
    • The Poliwrath brothers have "Wra-a-ath" with varying degrees of 'a's.
    • Raichu says "zap" after every sentence.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Equip an Ally Reviver emera, put a teammate in front of you to shield yourself from incoming enemy attacks, watch your teammate croak and then come back to life, rinse and repeat until the enemy is down.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: While they aren't villains per se, the Pokemon that guard the entrance to Revelation Mountain include some of the earlier bosses - namely Beedrill and Poliwrath. When Krookodile decides to get through the entrance, all the guards are effortlessly defeated.
  • Units Not to Scale: Perfect Apples are massive, larger than even Pokemon like Garchomp, which are already very big to begin with.
  • Welcome to Corneria: After you finish the post-game story, everyone is regressed to repeating the same one-liners, just like previous games.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In Chapter 4, after clearing the trek through the School Forest dungeon, your partner gets chewed out by everyone in the class after carelessly leaving Goomy behind in the dungeon.
  • Wham Episode: When you reach the top of Revelation Mountain at the end of Chapter 16. You find a spring that only a human can unseal, then Krookodile shows up, then Raikou and Suicune show up to avenge Entei being turned to stone, then Nuzleaf reveals he's the one responsible (promptly turning Krookodile to stone), THEN Yveltal shows up and turns everyone to stone, you included. The scarves that helped you stand up to Entei clearly did not protect you here.
  • Wham Line:
    • You get one from your partner near the end of the story: "The truth is... I'm Mew." And as if that wasn't enough, it's soon followed by "It's not you who has to go, 'player name'... It's me."
    • During a Newhart Phonecall:
    Espurr: "How are things going on your side, sir? ...I see. The Partner and The Player are headed to the Prehistoric Ruins as we speak. ...Right. I understand. Then I won't try to call them back. Yes. If anything changes, I'll be sure to let you know...Mr. Nuzleaf."
  • White and Grey Morality: Nobody is truly evil in this story. The only true evil is an Eldritch Abomination who's not even a Pokémon.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: The Hunger mechanic returns after being mostly absent from Gates to Infinity. Just like before, if you don't keep your Belly meter above 0 you'll lose HP ... and fast this time. There are more ways to have Belly reduced, as well, such as Hunger Trap and (sometimes) Sweet Scent, which reduce Belly by 10.
  • Wolfpack Boss: In PMD series tradition, many boss encounters are against several foes, starting with the group of Combee and Beedrill in Nectar Meadow. Usually there will be different Pokemon that are clearly leaders of the group, with the fight against Void Shadows in Chapter 18 being the only exception.
    • Some fighting missions will have you beat a group of the same Pokémon, though defeating the leader is enough to beat it.
    • Also, one dungeon has Genesect as the only Pokémon spawning inside, making the whole trip this trope.
  • The World Is Always Doomed: The reveal that all the main games take place in the same universe means that the Mystery Dungeon world has suffered at least four near-apocalypses in the span of a few years and is undergoing a fifth.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The Player, after defeating Dark Matter, assumes that, with his job being done, it must be time for it to return to the human world, and wonders how everyone else will take that when it's time (and how to stop that from happening, if possible). It's only half-true - someone has to leave, but it's not the player character.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Dark Matter and the Void Shadows use unnamed attacks - the messages shown when they are about to attack describe the move's effect with varying extent. Similarly, everytime Dark Matter's core is cracked, it will change to a type that resists the last move that it it, but it's never stated by the game.
  • Your Answer to Everything: Biting is this for Poochyena.
  • Zerg Rush:
    • Monster Houses appear once again, littering rooms with items and hordes of Pokémon.
    • The player party can do this during certain story missions.

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