The Let's Play Archive

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky

by How Ingratiating!

Part 1: Chapter 1: A Storm at Sea

VIDEO: PMD Time Intro

Here's the intro to Explorers of Time instead of the game I'm actually playing, because Sky's intro is loaded with spoilers. It's assumed the player has already beaten Time or Darkness, which share the same plot.

A Chimchar and a Pikachu explore an underground path.

Chimchar sees something ahead and hops up and down excitedly.

The source of firebutt monkey's excitement: a huge honkin' treasure chest.

The discovery of a lifetime!

The start of a new adventure! Welcome to a grand tale!

A tale that spans time...

...and darkness.

It's the dawn of epic exploration!

What's this? A shiny thing, of course! As explorers, it will be our mission to get every shiny thing.

And help others or something.

I'll show off Sky's actual intro later.

There's not much to the options yet, so for now, let's jump right in. New files get an introductory message:

Welcome! This is the portal that leads to the world inhabited only by Pokemon. Beyond this gateway, many new adventures and fresh experiences await your arrival! Before you depart for adventure, you must answer some questions.

Hopefully nothing personal, self-incriminating, or involving credit card numbers.

Be truthful when you answer them!

And absolutely do not use a GameFAQs cheat sheet to manipulate your results!

Now, are you ready? Then... let the questions begin!

The questionnaire always starts with this. Answering "yes" gets you questions more likely to result in one of the newly-added starter Pokemon, and increases your recruitment rate.

Then you get eight random questions. Each answer adds one or more points to one or more personality types. The personalities are based on natures from the main Pokemon series, so if you're aware of those, you might be able to guess which way a particular answer leans.

If the quiz results in a tie between two or more natures, it'll keep throwing questions at you until the tie breaks.

Social situations, am I right, guys? Ha ha... ha.

In every PMD game with a starter quiz, if I answer truthfully, I always get Jolly nature.

There's a bunch of school-related questions, though it's hard for me to say they're only for kids. I've been crap at studying my whole life, and I don't plan on stopping!

I included this one because it was interesting. And because I'd do it.

...You mean those green dots weren't sprinkles?

The final question, combined with your nature, determines what starter you get. Several starters can be either one, but will have a different nature depending on their gender.

Unlike Time and Darkness, PMD Sky gender-locks some of the starters.

Your aura is the energy that you radiate!

Relax. Calm yourself... And now press your fingertip gently on the Bow.

Touching your finger, stylus, toe, or nose to the bow results in:

That's right... Stay perfectly still... Take a deep breath... and now exhale...

If you stop pressing the bow too early, it makes you start over. But it only lasts about 7 seconds, and when it's done...

Your aura is...

a brilliant green!

Usually, your aura's color will be the same as whatever you set your favorite color to on your DS. The color doesn't matter; it's just for flavor.

This is completely accurate and not at all my fifth try at manipulating the quiz.

What a strong sense of curiosity you have! And you state your opinions purely, sharing exactly what you think. You also have an artistic spirit that isn't restrained by social conventions! You startle people with your spontaneity and vision. But when you overdo it, people can have a hard time keeping up with you...

They build up every personality like this. In PMD, there is no "wrong" personality. Just ones that are more like you, or less like you. At the very least, you'll find one relatable trait.

Have you noticed people looking at you oddly? As if for no apparent reason?

It's called "wearing silly hats in public," and it's intentional.

After the game makes you feel good about whatever personality you picked out/might actually be, it shows the starting Pokemon you'll become, and lets you pick a partner from the list of remaining starters. It leaves out choices that are the same type as the Pokemon you're becoming, so you can't have a starting duo of Water/Water, or Fire/Fire.

That's also why I didn't include the Normal-type partner options in the poll. Female-choice players can only get two Normal-type results, anyway, as the other two Normal-type Pokemon are only selectable as partners.

You're off to the world of Pokemon! Be strong! Stay smart! And be victorious!

And don't tease the RNG!

The story opens with thunder, lightning, wind and rain. All sound and no visuals, aside from some unattributed dialogue.

*: Are... Are you OK?!

Another flash.

*: No! Don't let go! Just a little longer... Come on! Hang on!

Thunder crashes.

*: No-n-no! I can't... hold on...!

The voice's struggle fades to white with one final scream.

*: Waaaaaah!

I'd hate to be whoever was dealing with this storm.

Too bad for them. Check out this cool Sharpedo-shaped rock!

Hours later...

*: Urrgh...

*: Where... Where am I?

...I can't... Drifting off...

The screen fades to black.


He paces a bit, then faces the building again.

No. I refuse to be paralyzed by this any longer! This is it. I have to steel my courage today.

The Phanpy steps onto the grate, and...

*: Pokemon detected! Pokemon detected!

*: Whose footprint? Whose footprint?

*: The footprint is Phanpy's! The footprint is Phanpy's!

He scoots off the grate like it's made of acid.

That was too shocking!

...I can't... I can't work up the courage to go in, after all... I told myself that this is the day, but...

I thought that holding on to my personal treasure would inspire me...

I'm such a coward... This is so discouraging...

Having gone to all that work to accomplish nothing, Babar leaves.

Hey, Zubat. Did you get a load of that?!

You bet I did, Koffing.

That little wimp that was pacing around... had something good, right?

That wimp had something, that's for sure. It looked like some kind of treasure.

They turn to each other.

Do we go after it?

We do.

Meanwhile, on the beach...

Oh, wow! What a pretty sight!

When the weather's good, the Krabby come out at sundown to blow bubbles... All those bubbles, catching the setting sun's rays off the waves...

It's always beautiful.

...This is where I always come when I'm feeling sorry for myself. But it makes me feel good to be here, like always. Coming here is uplifting. It cheers me up.

Hey... what's that? What's going on over there?

Waah! Someone has collapsed on the sand!

What happened?! Are you OK?


The other Pokemon wakes up, and gets to her feet.

You're awake! That's a relief!

Babar gives the other Pokemon some space as she looks around in confusion.

Do you remember how you ended up unconscious out here?

(I... I was unconscious? What happened...?)

And who are you? I've never seen you around before.

The other Pokemon explains herself.

What? You say you're a human? You look like a totally normal Skitty to me!

She looks herself over.

(It's... it's true! I've turned into a Skitty!)

I chose Skitty for a reason. If this was the worst/best starter someone else was talking about, I can't wait to hear your opinion.

(...But how did this happen? I don't remember anything...)

You're... a little odd... Are you pulling some kind of trick on me?

The Skitty vigorously shakes her head no.

You're telling the truth? All right, then. Your name? What's your name?

(My name? That's right, my name is...)

Maybe I should have decided the starter's name, as well.

But since I left it to a vote, I can blame it on you. All of you.

Babar nods. Girls with masculine names are fine with him.

OK. Well, you don't seem to be a bad Pokemon, at least.

Sorry that I doubted you. More and more bad Pokemon have been turning up lately, you see! Many Pokemon have grown aggressive lately. Things have grown somewhat lawless...

He says that just in time

to get mugged.

Well, I do beg your pardon.

Hey! Why'd you do that?!

Heh-heh-heh! Can't figure it out? We wanted to mess with you! Can't face up to us, can you?!


That's yours, isn't it?

No! That's...!

Sorry, kiddo. We'll take that!


Whoa-ho-ho! Not gonna make a move to get that back? What's the matter? Too scared? I didn't expect that you'd be such a big coward!

Come on. Let's get out of here.

See you around, chicken. Heh-heh-heh.

Wh-what should I do? That's my personal treasure. It means everything to me.

If I lose that...

He shakes himself.

No! There's no time to waste!

Like we have anything better to do. Like there's much else we can do.

R-really? You'll really help?! Th-thank you! Let's go quickly!

Our first mystery dungeon opens with a few words of advice. Everything's turn-based in dungeons, and the turn order favors the player.

The top screen can be changed to show a control guide, dungeon map, team status, or both the map and status at once. Currently we only have one room mapped out, with Michael as the team leader, our ally Babar, and an enemy Shellos.

All the action takes place on the bottom screen. Belly is a stat only the team leader has to worry about, and Weather's not important for now.

Movement is grid-based, shown here by pressing Start. You can also use this grid view to aim attacks at a different enemy.

Talking to ally Pokemon doesn't take up a turn, and their messages change depending on how much HP they have left.

Next are moves. While you can just slap enemies around with the A button, it's more damaging to use a move, and you're rewarded twice as much experience for using at least one directly damaging move on a foe.

Skitty and Phanpy are two of a few starters that begin with a full move list, and pretty decent ones at that. Skitty has Tackle, a basic damaging attack, along with Fake Out, which attacks up to 2 tiles away and always makes the target flinch and skip their next turn. Zen Headbutt is an egg move, something only a few of the starters get. It's like a powered-up Tackle that also has a chance to make the enemy flinch. Growl lowers the attack of the enemy in front, or affects all enemies in a room. We won't keep it long.

The player can select one move to bind to L+A and use at will.

Here's what the king of elephants starts with. Defense Curl increases Babar's defense one stage. Ancient Power is Phanpy's egg move, a Rock-type attack with a chance to raise all the user's stats one stage. Just like in the normal Pokemon games, buffs and debuffs stack.

Allies can be set to only use certain moves, and prevented from using the basic A button attack to maximize usefulness.

Here's Skitty's starting stats. Pretty good all around, lots of HP.

In PMD, if a Pokemon has two possible abilities, it'll always have both, even if they cancel each other out (Riolu's Inner Focus and Steadfast, for example). Cute Charm has a 30% chance to cause infatuation, shutting down further attack from the inflicted enemy.

Skitty's second ability is one of the reasons I chose her as my starter. Normalize even makes the A button attack Normal-type instead of typeless, and gives it STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus, 1.5x power to moves of the user's type). This means Zen Headbutt, a Psychic-type attack, is Normal as far as Skitty's concerned.

Phanpy starts out with less HP, higher defenses, and a lower experience curve. You guys picked a beefy partner.

Pickup has a chance to work each time I change floors. It can even find items in dungeons that don't have them lying around.

If you want to move diagonally, you have to hold R to switch from cardinal to diagonal movement. I take my first turn doing that, making the Shellos move down one tile in response.

I could move up one more square to reach Shellos, but that would give him a free hit on me. So I attack an empty space...

...And Shellos comes to me instead.

Then I clobber the hell out of it. PMD Time, Darkness, and Sky were released during the 4th generation of Pokemon games, which was when the Physical/Special/Other split for move varieties was implemented. Tackle is Physical, working off the Attack stat.

It's more than enough to crush a weak little sea slug. All team members get equal, non-split experience, so it's worth it to use moves for the exp. boost as much as possible.

Some dungeons have dim lighting, meaning you'll see a whole room just fine, but only a couple tiles in front or behind when in corridors.

Like any self-respecting mystery dungeon, there's nice stuff just lying on the floor.

"P" is the currency of this world. We're gonna get a lot of it, and spend it frivolously.

Here's the map again to show that it's expanded to everywhere we've been on the floor. Under normal circumstances, you have to walk around to uncover the floor's map yourself.

Next floor!

A Shellos starts right next to Babar, so I attack the air to make Babar fight her.

Babar's Tackle is pretty underpowered compared to Michael's.

Enemies can also pick up items. They aren't lost, however, and most enemies are too dumb to use the items, so you just have to find them and beat it out of them.

In dim hallways, it's easy for unseen enemies to get the first hit on you.

Mud-Slap always lowers accuracy one stage. The RNG already loves to make the player miss, so lowering accuracy even once can be a huge pain.

I backtrack to the green arrow in the stairs room. Stepping on it clears all buffs and debuffs. Fortunately, only the player and their allies can use Wonder Tiles.

A Shellder! Maybe it's the one that has the Oran Berry.


Items that drop on water tiles can only be picked up by Water-type Pokemon, Pokemon able to fly over any terrain, and a few others who fit in watery environments. Skitty and Phanpy fit none of those categories.

Here's Zen Headbutt in action.

Corsola would usually take more damage from the move, but being Water/Rock, its Rock typing halves damage from Normal-type attacks, which is everything Skitty uses.

Normalize is double-edged, but I can eventually make it work in my favor.

Moves that attack 2 tiles away won't hit allies in front of the user. So Michael just sorta hops on Babar's back and swipes at fools.

Babar's the first to get a level.

Pokemon can only remember 4 moves at a time, so Babar forgets Growl to learn Flail. Flail's not that great, either; it's a Normal-type attack that increases in power the lower the user's HP is. Babar has much better options coming up in later levels.

Allies all get level-up messages, as well.

An enemy or two later, it's Michael's turn to get stronger.

Attract, like the Cute Charm ability, causes infatuation in the target. Unlike Cute Charm, it actively causes the status instead.

In PMD, it's one of Skitty's more broken moves.

Use Attract on the opposite gender,

and stop them from taking any actions. They'll be crushing on you too hard to fight back. In the original PMD games, gender wasn't specified, and Attract worked on everything that didn't have the infatuation-preventing Oblivious ability.

Got a corridor jammed with enemies? Attract, and reduce them to paste.

Michael gets through both Kabutos here without a scratch.

Beyond them is a room with a new type of item.

Sleep Seeds induce the sleep status in whoever eats it. This works on the player as well, so it should be thrown at enemies.

Since PMD Time and Darkness put a gender on every Pokemon that has one in the main series, Attract became slightly less broken. Pokemon of the same gender are 100% not interested.

While Michael faffs about, Babar takes the initiative.

Babar's first use of Ancient Power happens to get the secondary effect of buffing all his stats one stage. Speed buffs in PMD mean the user gets to take more turns than usual.

So Kabuto gets a turn, then Babar's speed lets him move before Michael. Notice the damage increase from Babar's buffed Special Attack.

Sometimes, enemies spawn asleep.

Entering an adjacent tile will wake them up, but won't make them attack you. A small thing that makes PMD one of the gentler rogue-likes.

Besides Wonder Tiles, going to the next floor also resets lowered or raised stats to normal. It also clears status problems, and any separated team members are called back to you upon reaching the next floor.

Let's get this dungeon over with.

A couple of punks loiter around a dead end.

Time for punishment.

Well, well... if it isn't our old friend, the big chicken.

Babar starts to back down, then steels himself.

That's my personal treasure! It means everything to me!

Treasure, you say? So that thing really is valuable, huh?

It could be worth more than we'd hoped for, I'd say. We ought to try selling it. Who knows? It might get a good price. Whoa-ho-ho! All the more reason not to give it back!

If you want it back that badly... Come and get it! Heh-heh-heh!

Dramatic battle transition!

Time to crack some mugger skulls. It's a boss fight, but not difficult in the least. I could win by mashing A, but let's make this interesting.

First, I swipe at the air, and make Koffing and Zubat move into range.

Then I make sure Babar uses only his best move.

The plan was to take Koffing out in one move, but Normalize means Zen Headbutt, normally super-effective against Poison-types, makes it barely not strong enough at Michael's level.

But Koffing flinches, so everything works out.

Then Babar kills Zubat in one hit, as Flying is weak to Rock.

Michael taps Koffing to finish the fight.


Ugh... We got roughed up...

B-blast it... How'd we get wiped out by wimps like them?

Bah! Here you go. Take it, then!

Zubat throws Babar's rock on the ground.

Whoa-ho! Don't think you're so awesome. Your victory was a fluke!

Yeah, you just remember that!

They flee for their lives.

Oh! It's my Relic Fragment!

He picks it up.

Am I ever glad... I actually did manage to get it back.

It's only because you agreed to help me, Michael.

Thank you, Michael!

Back on the beach...

Thank you! Seriously!

(...I only helped because I happened to be there... was that the right thing to do?)

(I guess so. This Pokemon is clearly grateful. It's nice to be appreciated.)

Here's what they stole. This is a Relic Fragment. ...Well, at least, that's what I started calling it... But this Relic Fragment... It's my precious treasure.

You see, I've always liked legends and lore... I always get so excited when I hear tales from the past! Don't you feel the same way? Hidden troves full of treasure and strange relics...

...uncharted territories veiled in darkness... and new lands just waiting to be discovered! Such places must be full of unimaginable gold and treasure! And history! Wouldn't it be amazing to make historic discoveries?

That's what I always dream of. It's all exciting to me. So one day... I happened to come across my Relic Fragment. I admit that it looks like junk, but take a closer look.

See? That inscription forms a strange pattern, doesn't it?

(It's true. There is a strange inscription. I've never seen a pattern like this.)

There must be some significance to this pattern. This Relic Fragment must be the key to legendary places! To areas where precious treasure lies! At least that's the feeling I get.

That's why I want to join an exploration team. This fragment must fit into something... somewhere! I want to discover where that is. I want to solve the mystery of my Relic Fragment! So earlier, I tried joining an exploration team as an apprentice...

But... I chickened out.

What about you, Michael? What are you going to do now? You lost your memory. And you somehow transformed into a Pokemon... Do you have anywhere to go and stay after this?


If not, can I ask a big favor? Would you be willing to form an exploration team with me?

So will you? Please?

(Wah! What should I do? I'm getting recruited out of the blue!)

(I don't know what an exploration team is...)

Selective amnesiacs. Logic never applies to them.

But why leave all that gold and treasure unlooted?

(It's true, I do have nowhere to go... I don't have any clue what I should do next. I guess it wouldn't hurt to team up with Babar for now. Maybe I'll eventually discover who or what I am by hanging out with this Pokemon.)

(OK! That's settled!)

Yes? Really?! You'll form an exploration team with me?

Yes! Thank you!

We're going to be a great combination! Let's make this work!

First, we should go to Wigglytuff's place and sign up as apprentices. That's where we need to train to become a first-rate exploration team. I'm sure the training will be very tough...

And so, Babar and Michael formed an exploration team. This turned out to be their very first step into many fantastic realms of adventure that awaited their arrival.