31 – Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia (Nintendo DS)
Modify the gameplay of the original Pokemon Ranger ever-so-slightly, and throw the player into a new region with an even-less-interesting plot that the first game, and you have Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia. The second title in the Pokemon Ranger series added the ability to stop drawing loops around the Pokemon while capturing them to “dodge” attacks, and four different types of stylers, each holding a different ability to help capture Pokemon. These mechanical differences improve upon the basic Ranger formula somewhat, but ultimately don’t change the fact that the gameplay is just drawing circles on the touch screen over and over.
The story begins at Pokemon Ranger school, where the protagonist graduates in the top of his or her class, but quickly turns into a collection quest for different colored gems to stop a villain. While not necessarily a bad game, Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia is instead decisively average: entertaining in the most basic way an RPG can be with a unique but repetitive battle mechanic thrown in.
Next: #30 - Pokemon Trozei