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Parents' Guide to

Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX

By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Nostalgic monster raising limited by clunky play, controls.

Game Nintendo Switch , Windows 2021
Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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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.

Game Details

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