Wii Fanboy Review: My Pokemon Ranch

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Wii Fanboy Review: My Pokemon Ranch

Another week in WiiWare, another new release. And, like the responsible folk we try to be, we're going to go ahead and review Nintendo's latest offering through their digital download service. Is it something Pokémon fans will enjoy? Is it something that those of you who could care less about the pocket monsters are going to like? Read on and find out!

Upon first inspection, My Pokémon Ranch might come off as a bit of a sim title. It presents you with a feeling that you're not just going to have a bunch of the little critters running around, but you're going to be charged with maintaining their happiness and enriching their in-game lives. The fact is, playing the game never feels like that.

Instead, it comes off as more of a screen saver than an actual game. Sure, you can move around the pen, and focus on individual Pokémon themselves, so there's definitely interaction there, just none that I felt actually had any weight or worth to it. What's to keep you in the game and playing?

You see, you can take pictures of the little guys, and you can even get their attention to make sure you take good pictures, but beyond that there is nothing worth doing, really. And, to be honest, those activities aren't that great, either. So where's the appeal? DS connectivity, my friends.

You see, Pokémon Diamond & Pearl are both compatible with the game. Any critters you captured in the DS title, you can easily upload into My Pokémon Ranch for ... uh, taking pictures and the other stuff you can do in-game. You can upload the pictures to your Wii Message Board so you can share with friends, but, really, who's going to care about your Pokemon in My Pokémon Ranch when any friends who're playing it themselves probably already have those in their own ranch?

The real worth with the DS interaction is using the title as storage space for your vast army of Pokémon you found in the DS games. You can store them in My Pokémon Ranch, which is likely going to be nice for those of you crazy about the pocket monsters, but little-to-no use for everyone else.

When it comes to the game's graphics, however, things are a different story. The graphical style of the game works and presents a very cute and appealing visual package. The Pokémon, ranch and Miis are all integrated into the game well and look colorful, fun and inviting. The Pokémon's animations are also fun, as it's nice to see them scurry about and attack each other now and then. So, here, Nintendo succeeds. But, this really only adds to the title feeling like nothing more than an interactive screen saver.

It's not that My Pokémon Ranch is a bad game. Fans of the franchise will find more than enough here to get them in and playing for quite some time, and the storage space will likely lure some folk in. For the rest of the world, however, the game fails to offer up any meaningful gameplay and comes off as a cute and quick diversion, offering little more than a few minutes of fun before you're off to play something better.

Final score: 6/10

We dig WiiWare and have been playing non-stop. Be sure to check out our reviews of Protothea, Actionloop Twist, Family Table Tennis, Toki Tori, Critter Round-Up, Dr. Mario, Defend Your Castle, Star Soldier R, Pop, LostWinds, and TV Show King, as well as our early impressions of My Life as a King and its review here. Keep up to date with WiiWare by keeping up to date with us!
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