Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: EVERY BUDDY!
Years ago, I played the original Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon (known then as Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon) on the Wii at a friend’s house. I never got past the first boss fight, since it wasn’t my game to spend hours and hours and hours on, and yet I loved it so. It had the mystery dungeon features I’d come to love from the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, as well as a wholesome, fluffy little player character. Who can resist Chocobo’s sweet little face after all?
So imagine my surprise when a remaster hit the Nintendo Switch, complete with new classes, new mechanics, and all the nostalgia my little heart could take. Imagine how quickly I popped open my wallet to see if it was a reasonable immediate purchase.
And imagine how many hours I’ve sunk into it by now. Imagine higher. Higher. Now you’re getting it!
Anyway, if you’re looking for a new game to pick up, let me show you all the reasons Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon EVERY BUDDY! is worth checking out!
Look at that face!
Is he not the cutest, friendliest little birdy you’ve ever seen? Look at his wave, his cheery smile, his gently squishable face! And all that adorableness shines in this game.
You may not get close-ups in the game save for cut-scenes, spending the rest of your time with an overhead view of your dungeon-crawling exploits, but you do get this sweet little bird wearing all kinds of costumes. He can be a White Mage, a Knight, a Dancer, a Beastmaster, all kinds of things! And he looks damn cute while doing it.
(Note, though, that a fair few of the fun classes are DLC, $1.99 for each class. I purchased them because I had Gold Points and a little extra money to spare at the time, but it is a tiny bit frustrating to see them locked behind a paywall.)
This endearing design applies to the rest of the game, too. The human NPCs are all distinct and welcoming, while the dungeon creatures provide a stark contrast, intentionally menacing. It sets the tone with remarkable clarity, and also makes it a blast to use the buddy system!
Speaking of which…that system is new!
Easily one of the best parts of Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon EVERY BUDDY! is the buddy system. Absent in the original, it now allows you to take one support character into every dungeon, each one with its own distinct abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Personally, I love bringing Shirma with me now that I’ve unlocked her, because her healing skills are vital in later dungeons. But depending on the dungeon’s special rules, each companion can be valuable in their own right.
There’s also a way to see which companions you’ve unlocked, giving the game a little bit of “gotcha catch ’em all” flavor. These companions even include enemies you encounter while dungeon crawling, recruited after you defeat oh-so-many of them! No two dungeon crawling teams look the same as a result, and there’s a certain delight to watching your cute Chocobo team up with the ugliest one-eyed bat on the planet in order to save the day.
Sadly, they removed the card game system.
While this played a far bigger role in Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales, there was a card-based battle minigame in the original. For reasons unknown to me, they removed it, but left the location where you played it otherwise the same. It was never critical to the story, but I do miss it, because it was a nice respite from some of the more grind-heavy areas, especially early on, when it’s easy to get frustrated.
And that grind is no joke, either.
Personally, I love it. The cutesy art style gives you the sense that this game is going to be a breeze, and then the dungeons absolutely destroy you in response. You have to play smart to get through some of the more elaborate dungeons, especially some of the optional ones, and it’s a good test of your turn-based RPG skills!
It’s also grind-heavy, so if you need to kill time, this is a great game for it. At this point, I’m probably a boss or two away from beating the game, but I’ve stopped to level grind since the fights starting becoming punishing and drawn out. You can always tell when you’re not quite on par with an enemy, and you always have the chance to buckle down and level-up. Plus, you have to switch between classes to level up unique abilities that give you different advantages based on the opponent in front of you, so level grinding evenly is important.
Of course, that may not be for everyone! If you don’t enjoy strategic level grinding, the later areas of the game could get quite frustrating for you. If you do enjoy it, though, like me, then you’re probably in for a treat! Plus, the satisfaction of making your dungeon crawling easier because you over-leveled to hell and back? So good.
All around, Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon EVERY BUDDY! is joyful and engaging!
If I wasn’t expecting the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon remake in a little over a week (cue intense screaming, please and thank you), I’d be diving back into this, grinding my way toward the final boss. Between the cute style, the simple mechanics, and the turn-based RPG dungeon crawler elements, I’ve had the time of my life. Plus, the nostalgia gremlins upstairs are having a field day. Since my family’s Wii is in sketchy condition, I never thought I’d get the chance to play this game again, but here comes Nintendo, saving the day!
I really can’t recommend it enough if you like dungeon crawlers and want something that’s not too dark or grim. And if you want to see more, like screenshots or specific DLC content, drop by its official page on the Nintendo website. It’s $39.99 for the Switch right now, not including that DLC, and if you’ve got Gold Points on your account waiting to be used, it’s a delightful thing to use them on!
So, have you played a Chocobo game before? Are you more of a Final Fantasy core series person? Or do you just really like dungeon crawlers? Hate them? No matter where you’re at, let’s chat!