A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Players raise, train, and play with a variety of creatures, keeping them fed and happy as much as possible, building the titular monster "ranch." The flip side of this, though, is that the creatures are being raised mainly to fight each other in monster vs. monster combat.
Positive Role Models
The raising of and competition between monsters is par for the course in the Monster Hunter universe. Players will get assistance from good natured folks that show up from time to time to help them become good ranchers and handle their creatures with care.
While there are over 400 different monster combinations of every size, shape, personality, and more, when it comes to the human interactions, there's very little diversity between the NPCs and they don't ever get much of a chance to show off any backstory or character depth.
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Ease of Play
Summoning, combining, and raising monsters all require a lot of micromanagement and menu navigations. Using the album database to summon creatures is an interesting but imperfect way to bypass the disc swapping of the original games.
Violence & Scariness
Creatures fight using a variety of attacks. There's no blood or gore during the fights, but some creatures do use weapons and firearms against their opponents.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some creatures are humanlike in appearance, with a few female creatures appearing with low cut cleavage highlighting their breasts and exposed rear ends.
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Some potentially offensive words, such as "d--k," "bastard," and "bitch" occasionally appear in the game.
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Products & Purchases
The game is part of the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Monster Hunter franchise. Also, the album database features a large reference of various albums and artists.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some of the randomly generated words in the creature creation can sometimes include references to drug use.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX is a fantasy role-playing game collection available for download on the Nintendo Switch and Windows based PCs. Players run a ranch where they raise and train all kinds of strange and unique creatures to compete against others in large tournaments. There's a lot of micromanagement in the game, including everything from finding albums in a database to summon monsters, combining monsters to create new monsters, feeding and training them to boost their stats and learn abilities, and directing them in some ways for combat. Combat includes a lot of flashy effects and even occasional weapon use, but there's no blood or gore. Some monsters are humanlike in appearance, with some female creatures presented in a sexualized manner. The game also includes some mild language, as well as some references to drug use.
Is It Any Good?
There's an ongoing trend in gaming of publishers dusting off some of their fan favorite franchises to tap into a wave of nostalgia with remakes, reboots, remasters, and more. Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX takes the path of a basic re-release of both games, with very little altered or enhanced to bring the series up to date. On the one hand, this absolutely fuels the feeling of nostalgia as a pixel perfect recreation of the original experience. On the other hand, these games are also more than two decades old and there's no denying that they haven't aged very well. The graphics and audio are far from high def, and the controls are clunky and rough. Still, the series always had a certain level of appeal, and this re-release just barely manages to hold onto that.
The biggest draw of the original Monster Rancher games was the way that disc swapping was built into the gameplay. To create new monsters, players would be prompted to swap out the game disc for a game or music CD from their own collections, which would then be scanned, and the data used to create a monster with uniquely generated stats. Unfortunately, that's not a viable option on modern systems. Instead, the game includes a huge database of music CDs that players can use to search for specific albums and artists, generating the monsters from the virtual CD data. While the database is a functional replacement for the original disc swapping, it's just not as fun or as robust. The problem here is that it relies on players' musical knowledge to find an exact match, and even then, there are plenty of holes in the database. It also skips over the multiple game CD that players were originally able to use to create new monsters. As a result, this mechanic isn't as fun or engaging as the original titles.
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