Pokémon Mystery Dungeon DX Controls and Top Tips

Need to know how to recruit new Pokémon, how to escape dungeons, or how to use all of your attacks in the latest Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game?


Announced quite suddenly in January as a part of Nintendo’s Pokémon Direct – which also showcased the upcoming Isle of Armour and Crown Tundra – Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX has been a welcomed early year release.

Up until now, there have been sparingly few big-name releases, with most of the news coming in the form of highly-anticipated titles being delayed. Dying Light 2, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Cyberpunk 2077, Iron Man VR, and Marvel’s Avengers have all been pushed back.


There’s a lot to do in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, from picking the best starter combination to recruiting new Pokémon to your team. As such, the game features many controls, which it introduces to the player gradually through the opening stages of the game.

In case you need a recap or find yourself wondering if you’re playing the game right, here’s a complete controls guide for the new Mystery Dungeon game on Nintendo Switch.

We’ll also be throwing in a few handy tips along the way, while trying to avoid spoilers.

Attack controls in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX

Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX features turn-based dungeon exploration and turn-based combat. Every time you take a step, Pokémon elsewhere on the map make a move.

When in a combat situation, after you’ve attacked it’ll be another Pokémon’s turn – either your partner Pokémon or your opponent.

How to use basic attacks

To use a basic attack selected by the game, simply press A when you come in range of an enemy Pokémon.

How to use move sets

To view and use your Pokémon’s full move set (of which they’ll have four moves), hold down ZL. A selection of four moves will show, and all you have to do is press the corresponding button to use that attack.

While this move select screen is up, your opponent or your partner Pokémon won’t make a move if it’s still your turn.

If you wish to customise how your attacks are set out when you press ZL, you can do so by holding down ZR and pressing the Right button on the direction pad to pick Move Settings.

In Move Settings, you then go to Assign Move Buttons to select attacks which you’d like to reposition on the ZL move selector.

Top Tip: While playing the game, you’ll become accustomed to just pressing A to attack. So, just in case you do rush into the ZL move select and accidentally press A therein, make sure you’ve set the move that you’ll more commonly want to use as A.

What do the attack symbols mean?

While in combat, you’ll notice that each move will have different icons next to it in your ZL move selector. Some of these symbols will show if a move is ranged, others its effectiveness against the foe at hand.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon DX Icons

Icons that take the form of little diagonal arrows or what looks like an explosion symbol indicate ranged moves, if a move can hit through a corner, and if the move will deal damage to a wide area (as seen below).

All of the move type symbols are fairly self-explanatory but shown in the image below for your reference. As for the effectiveness of the move, a cross means that the move won’t have any effect on your foe while a bullseye indicates that the move will be super effective.

How to equip items

Quite early in Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, you’ll encounter your first throwing item, Gravelerock.

To equip the item for use, you simply have to press B to open your Toolbox, hover over the item – in this case, Gravelerock – and select it with A.

You’ll then see a menu, with one of the options being to Register the item (to register an item is the same as equipping an item). If you register it, you can then quickly throw them at enemies by pressing ZL and ZR at the same time.

Over the course of the game, you’ll find different types of stones and spikes that you can pick-up, find in your Toolbox, and then register for use while exploring dungeons.

Top Tip: Be mindful when registering an item as your partner Pokémon will use it as soon as they see fit – which often sees your stockpile of equipped items get cut down very quickly.

How to switch targets

In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, you’ll often find yourself up against two opponents, sometimes in a two-on-one situation when coming out of a corridor.

To ensure that you don’t burn a turn on moving and you target the Pokémon that you want to attack, you can tap Y to switch which way you’re facing quickly, or you can hold Y and drag your aim manually.

How to stop partner Pokémon attacks

When you start to explore the deeper dungeon jobs, you’ll sometimes find that your partner Pokémon will burn through their best moves or their ranged moves very quickly. To help limit this, you can stop any of your team from using certain moves.

Simply hold ZR and press Right on the d-pad to go into Move Settings and then select Moves On/Off. In there, you can quickly deselect certain moves that you don’t want a Pokémon to use just yet.

How to recover PP

If you ever find that your Pokémon has run out of PP on a certain move that you want to use, simply press B to access your Toolbox and then select one of your Ether items to restore the PP of the move of your choice.

Movement controls in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX

Being a turn-based game, with each step contributing to your Pokémon’s level of hunger, movement selection can be quite important in Mystery Dungeon.

Here are all of the movement controls that you need to know:

Movement Button Movement Explanation
Walk Right Analogue or the Direction Pad Your Pokémon will walk in that direction at a moderate pace.
Dash Hold B and move in a direction Your Pokémon will very quickly move in that direction, stopping at a wall, enemy, or end of a corridor.
Walk Diagonally Hold R and move in a direction Your Pokémon will walk along the diagonal line that it’s facing.
Push Hold B while moving towards a teammate Your Pokémon will bump the teammate out of the way, but performing this move will empty its Belly quicker than usual.
Auto Mode Press L Your Pokémon team will explore the dungeon automatically.
Change the Leader Press + You change which Pokémon you are in direct control of and can switch back at any time.

If you find that the Dash function is too stop-start for your liking, you can press X to enter the Menu, select Others (symbolised by a cog), and then Options.

In this section, you can change the setting to Interrupt Dashes in Emergencies in the Basic 2 tab as well as make your Pokémon dash through corridors instead of walk while in Auto Mode.

Top Tip: If you do prefer to use Dash, you’re much better off turning off the interrupted dashes option as the time it takes to start moving again after an interruption is very tedious to someone who wants to get around quickly.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX Change Leader

In Mystery Dungeon DX, your leader is whichever Pokémon you’re directly in control of when you’re on a mission in the dungeons.

When you set up your team, the Pokémon that you put in slot one will be the Pokémon that starts the mission as your leader. You can go on missions without your starter Pokémon or starter partner Pokémon, so any rescue team member can be your leader.

However, you can change the leader at any time during a mission to one of the three Pokémon which start the job on the team. You cannot change to a Pokémon which joins your team mid-mission.

To change the leader in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, simply press the + button. You can see which Pokémon is your leader by the yellow ring around their base: others that you can control have a green ring around their base.

Healing and eating controls in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX

As is the case in most Pokémon games that feature battles, HP is a critical factor. In Rescue Team DX, however, you also need to keep your eye on your Belly metre. Each step and move will reduce your Belly from 100 to zero. When the metre hits zero, your movement will start to cut away at your HP.

To remedy this, you have to eat food. From the beginning, you’ll be given Apples, but you’ll also be able to pick up plenty of Berries along the way which fills up your Belly metre and offer other benefits, such as restoring some HP.

To find Apples, Berries, and other consumable items, such as Ether, press B to access your Toolbox and then select the item that you wish to use.

If you’re pressed for food or HP, you could try your luck with the blue item dots on the dungeon map and hope that one of them is a useful food item. To heal HP, all you have to do is move around without taking damage.

If you’re suffering from lowered stats, you can seek a Wonder Tile. Marked by a green cross on the map, just standing on a Wonder Tile will return your stats to normal regardless of if your stats have been boosted or lowered.

Top Tip: If you find that your preferred Pokémon’s Belly metre is running low, but you’re either short on food or don’t want to use an Apple or Berry, simply switch the leader by pressing the + button. While moving around the dungeons, only the Pokémon that you are directly using (the leader) will see their Belly metre fall.

How to save in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX

Rescue Team DX automatically saves your progress, even if you’re in the middle of a dungeon. So, if your Nintendo Switch runs out of battery, you likely won’t be too far from where you were.

You can also perform a manual save by pressing X to access the menu and then going into Others. Here, you’ll see the option to Save and Go to Main Menu.

How to leave a dungeon in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX

The main ways in which you leave a dungeon in Mystery Dungeon are by completing the mission and leaving when prompted or by being defeated. If your team gets defeated, you’ll lose all of the items and Poké money that you were carrying.

If you find yourself wandering around a dungeon having completed the mission that you entered there to do, you can locate some stairs and select the option to no-longer continue exploring, which allows you to leave the dungeon.

To get out of the dungeon quicker than waiting for enemies to defeat your team, you can opt to Give Up. By pressing X to bring up the Menu, you can then select Others, and then you’ll see the option to Give Up near the foot of the selection.

The other way, which is certainly the preferred way, to get out of a dungeon in the game is to use an Escape Orb. If you have one, you can find it in your Toolbox by pressing B. Escape Orbs allow you to get out of the dungeon while keeping all of the items that you’re holding at the time of using the Escape Orb.

Top Tip: At the start of the game, your partner Pokémon will show you around the town, with Makuhita’s Dojo. Speak to Makuhita immediately and run through all of its Tricks of the Trade list.

Not only are the tasks very easy, but they’ll also reward you with loads of useful items, chief of which is five Escape Orbs for completing the challenge called Push a Pokémon!

How to recruit new Pokémon in Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX

One of the first things that any player will want to do is recruit a bunch of new Pokémon to their rescue team.

You won’t have this feature available to you from the start, but once you’ve completed the mission at Mt. Steel, the story will unlock the features necessary for you to start recruiting.

Once you have spoken to the newly unlocked Pokémon in town, you’ll be able to pay for Camps which allow you to recruit new Pokémon.

While almost any Pokémon that you battle in a dungeon has a chance of becoming a new recruit, your chances of triggering this will be fairly meagre early on – especially with good Pokémon. The likelihood of a Pokémon wanting to join your team is tied to your rescue team’s rank – which is raised by completing missions.

Furthermore, only Pokémon that your leader defeats can potentially become a recruit in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX.

Top Tip: You need to make sure that you have already purchased the right Camp to allow a new Pokémon to become a part of the team – for which, there is a handy in-shop Pokémon guide. You’ll likely find that the majority of your Poké currency is spent on buying these items as they aren’t cheap, but they are necessary if you want to expand your team.

Those are the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX controls that you need to know as well as some top gameplay tips for good measure.

Looking for more Pokémon Mystery Dungeon DX Guides?

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon DX: All of the Available Starters and the Best Starters to Use

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon DX: Complete Mystery House Guide, Finding Riolu

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon DX: Every Wonder Mail Code Available

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon DX: Complete Camps Guide and Pokémon List

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon DX: Gummis and Rare Qualities Guide

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon DX: Complete Item List & Guide

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon DX Illustrations and Wallpapers


Ben Chopping

Will give almost any game a chance, particularly those that include wildlife, monsters, or prehistoric creatures of any kind.

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