Pokemon Ranger

We’re going to see some Pokémon in our latest encounter with the final build.

Pokemon Ranger showed up here at AMN earlier this morning and we’ve been able to log a few hours into Nintendo’s newest adventure starring all those cute and cuddly Pokemon creatures.

Pokemon Ranger is a bit of a diversion from the standard catch, train, evolve, and battle formula that has been laid out in the classic Pokemon games. Ranger has you playing the role of a Pokemon Ranger that’s dedicated to preserving wild Pokemon, their habitat, and peace in Fiore. The rangers are basically like the Boy Scouts of the Pokemon world: always doing good deeds and never turning down the opportunity to lend a hand.

In Pokemon Ranger you’ll be sent out on missions that will have you sometimes dealing with conflicts between townspeople, averting natural disaster, and seeking lost Pokemon or items. Early on, and after some quick training, you’ll be asked to locate a man’s lost Pokemon. The task isn’t too difficult, and it does a great job of easing you into the game. To capture a Pokemon in Ranger, you’ll need to use the stylus to encircle the creature. You’ll have to make circles around the Pokemon without it touching the line you create. As you continuously draw circles around the Pokemon (without lifting the stylus), a counter counts down. When the counter reaches a certain point, you can lift the stylus and you will have captured the Pokemon. Once you’ve captured a Pokemon you’ll be able to make use of its natural abilities to get things done, but eventually all Pokemon must be released back into the wild.

The game incorporates some interesting uses of the touch screen that will hopefully make their way into future Pokemon games and other RPG franchises. You can use the stylus to walk around (kind of like mouse navigation), but you can also tap on objects on the screen to interact with them without having to walk up to them. You can converse with anybody on the screen by just tapping them. This is a simple thing, but it makes reading signs, checking out objects of interest, and finding specific people much easier.

Graphically, Pokemon Ranger is pretty standard. The game uses 2D sprites and the backgrounds are colorful and range from lively to static depending on your location. It definitely looks nicer than the GBA Pokemon titles, however.

The music and sound effects are in line with what the franchise has always offered. There isn’t any voice acting to speak of, but the individual types of Pokemon have their unique grunts and screeches. The music is pretty similar to what Pokemon fans have already heard before: simple midi loops that are short but sweet.

Pokémon Ranger

A few hours in Pokemon Ranger has been enjoyable. It’s hard to say if the circling of Pokemon gameplay mechanic will be able to hold up throughout a lengthy adventure, but up until now, it’s been a nice diversion from the standard Pokemon formula. As we delve deeper into the game’s story and settings, we’ll really get a chance to see what Pokemon Ranger has to offer.

Keep checking back as the full review will be up in the coming days.

— Jeff Rivera