The days of reading disks and making monsters are long gone. Now, you scribble and shout! Breeding monsters the maniac way, only on the Nintendo DS!
Monster Rancher has come a long way since its first incarnation on the PlayStation. Many of the monsters are the same but with the new DS control scheme and ways to play, the game is a little different. This game focuses on collecting all the monsters, in a similar fashion to Pokemon. In the classic Monster Rancher style, you have to raise, freeze and combine your monsters in order to get some of the special ones.
The game play is very simple. It runs in a pattern; make a monster, train your monster, battle in a tournament, freeze your monster before it dies, rinse and repeat and repeat and repeat. Making monster is simple enough through the three options the game provides. You can scribble on the bottom screen, scream at your DS, or browse through an encyclopedia of monsters you’ve already created. Once you have your monster you are free to train it. However, in addition to training it, you have to feed it, make sure it rests and keep it from getting stressed out. If you forget to let it rest or your monster gets too stressed, it will be rushed to the hospital and you will be unable to continue the game until it comes back. This can last up to four weeks game time.
Training your monster is fairly simple, you tap on each stat you’d like to train your monster in and it does the rest. Tap strength, watch the un-skippable cinematic, its strength goes up +3. Tap again, watch again, +3 again. After finally reaching over 200 on all stats (there’s a possible of 1000 on everything), you can finally compete and win in the first tournament. The tournaments are effortless, you enter your monster and fight others to see who is the best. You can either control your monster in the battles or let it fight on its own. If you’ve leveled up enough, you can let it fight on its own and it will almost always win. After winning a tournament, the next level opens up and you receive an item. There are a total of six tournaments, beginning with tournament E and ending at S.
Visually, the game looks wonderful on the DS, just about on par with Super Mario 64 DS. The monsters are vivid and well animated. The environments are a little less impressive but still have a good quality to them. What really catches your attention are the animations that have been added in with the monsters. I had one that lost its eyes and chased them as they rolled way from it. Each monster has its own unique animations which adds a second layer to the creatures that you’re breeding.
There is a story in the game but there isn’t much depth to it. It involves a girl named Cleopatra, her father chasing her around with his assistant and a woman who easily gets lost. You could easily beat the game without paying any attention to the story. The game certainly had potential, unfortunately it loses steam after the first hour or so and begins getting repetitive. You could honestly stop paying attention and still win. To those readers who are wondering, I didn’t finish the game. I couldn’t finish the game. It was so monotonous, I forgot I was even playing a game several times and just ended up watching YouTube videos.
In short, it is a good game if you need to kill several hours or absolutely love collecting. Unfortunately, it’s just a penguin yearning to fly.
2 out of 5