Chocobo is back. It has been just over 11 years since Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon showed up on the Nintendo Wii, sending Chocobo, Cid, Irma, and Volg through a portal and into the town of Lostime. Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! has now shown up worldwide to expose even more people to the friendly roguelike, with am emphasis on the “friendly” aspect this time around. A new buddy mechanic takes “it is dangerous to go alone” to a new level and gives you a chance to bring friends into the equation.
Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! isn’t shy about starting people off with friends. In the game, people can recruit characters, monsters, extra, and DLC characters to their Buddy Registry, then take along one buddy into a dungeon at a time. While the tutorial dungeon, where someone goes into Mayor Gale’s mind to help him remember information about a strange baby that hatched from an egg, is a solo affair unless someone preordered and received DLC (or acquired an add-on ahead of time), that first dungeon makes it very easy to get enough Buddy Points (BP) to likely get a Bat, Goblin, and/or Skeleton as a new friend. Once you have some friends, you can equip one as your buddy outside of a dungeon to have them appear with you.
Getting these extra people as allies is relatively easy. Some are automatic acquisitions Character buddies appear after completing the dungeon tied to them. For example, you get Cid after Cid’s Memories is done and Camilla shows up after A Maiden’s Memories has been completed. Different monsters show up in different dungeons and require you to accumulate their Buddy Points to earn them as a friend. For example, if you want a Tonberry on your side, you’ll need to fight a lot of Tonberries in the Freja’s Memories or the Guardian of the Light dungeons. The Extra buddies pull in characters that were summons in other games and can mean doing something like beating Phoenix in the Guardian of Flame dungeon to add that friend. The collection element can be a huge help, since it can let you experiment with jobs for Chocobo you might not otherwise use, since you could have Shirma come along to handle healing. It also could mean extra help when you do get to some later dungeons.
Pulling someone in as a friend to help play is just as easy as it is to collect enemies. It is as simple as setting a buddy before you go into a dungeon, heading in there, passing another person who is in the same room as you a controller, and having fun. You don’t have to worry about one person being weaker. Buddy levels are tied to Chocobo’s, and their stats are influenced by the items Chocobo has equipped. They have extra durability, since their deaths don’t mean the end of a run. As long as Chocobo is still going, they will revive on the next floor. Having them around is a good failsafe. If someone is new to a roguelike or maybe a younger player, they can take the reins of this other ally and play without worrying about repercussions.
But the Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! buddy system really helps with encouraging grinding. It might be tempting in one of these mystery dungeon games to go through an area rather quickly if you aren’t having too much trouble defeating enemies and happen upon the stairs to the next floor. Knowing that certain dungeons contain certain enemies and that you need to accumulate enough points to befriend one can trigger that Pokemon-like urge to collect them all. Especially since each one has its unique skills and elements to it, which can help make exploring easier. This means trying to “catch ’em all” could result in you really boosting up job levels or even returning to dungeons you might not have gone back to in the original game at the church.
Having the new buddy system makes going through the game’s dungeons a little more enticing. For people using it as their first mystery dungeon, it can be a way to easy into things. If you have someone nearby, you can even pass over the second controller to have them venture forth with you and help you out. Grinding for Buddy Points can give people more reasons to spend time on floors. It just generally feels more friendly and like going into dungeons is more rewarding when you know you could be building up a collection of comrades.
Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! is available for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.