28 – Pokemon Ranger (Nintendo DS)
The Pokemon Ranger games are unique both in the Pokemon world and in the RPG world. You play as either Lunick or Solana, a Pokemon Ranger accompanied by either a Minun or Plusle, trying to stop the infamous Go-Rock Squad from manipulating Pokemon in what amounts to a weird insurance scheme. Pokemon are not permanently captured in Pokemon Ranger, but are allied with by using the touch screen and stylus to loop each Pokemon with a “styler” machine, which a Pokemon may attempt to attack, or to flee from. Partner Pokemon can use abilities to make the process easier. These Pokemon allies join the protagonist in a journey across Fiore to expose the Go-Rock Squad and save Fiore from a threat held in check by four elemental Pokemon.
The writing in Pokemon Ranger was pretty cheesy, but otherwise it was a solid spin-off RPG for those looking for a unique Pokemon adventure with a solid-length storyline and an open world to explore after the main story is completed. Its use of the touch screen, then still a novelty, also adds to its value as a title. It’s just a shame they didn’t do more with it in future titles.
Next: #27 - Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness