My Pokémon Ranch

The games in the main Pokémon series are usually pretty good. The spinoff games, though, are pretty much hit or miss. But I feel this odd compulsion to try them out anyway.

With the introduction of WiiWare, Nintendo created a conduit where they could funnel games directly to me at a cheaper price, and since one of them had Pokémons on it, I guess they’d figure that they could make lots of sales on the thing, so long as it was passably mediocre, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

In the portable Pokémon adventures you capture and train little creatures to fight battles for you with the ultimate goal of being the best in the land. Problem is, though, that there is an ever-growing menagerie of creatures for you to capture, but the problem is that if you want to “catch ‘em all” you’re going to quickly run out of the kind-of limited storage space that you’re afforded in the games. The solution, then, is to buy some kind of add-on game that lets you satiate the desires of your inner pack rat.

Which is essentially what My Pokémon Ranch is. It’s just a massive storage utility in the guise of a ranch that you can send your pokémon to so that they can rest, relax and have fun. You can also send your Miis into the ranch to interact with your little critters. But you don’t really do much of the interaction. You just kind of watch them as they mill around and do their thing, which is every bit as exciting as it sounds.

So the ‘game’ kind of goes like this: you catch a whole bunch of beasties in your game, you transfer them to the ranch, then you just kind of sit there and watch them. Occasionally some ‘toy’ will fall into the ranch and you can bust it open to let the wandering pokémon play with it. And that’s pretty much the extent of your interaction with the game. Occasionally your monsters will do something spontaneous like creating a totem pole or something like that, but that’s not really interactive. Mostly you’re sitting around watching what amounts to a virtual terrarium.

But there’s a hook. A nefarious hook. The ranch-master, Hayley, will bring different pokémon to the ranch depending on a number of factors. As it happens, one of the conditions is that you deposit 1,000 pokémon into the ranch, and she’ll bring to you one of the super-rare and highly sought after creatures, Mew. Which really seems like a whole lot of work for the payoff, but I guess I’m going to end up doing it anyway.

Gotta get some kind of reward for my ten dollars.

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