|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: HAL Labs||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 10, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The visual style of Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia is very nice and is reminiscent of most other Pokémon titles for the DS. All the characters have a sprite-based structure and have an anime-stylized look. As mentioned before, the environments all look great and the game is a pleasure to look at, despite not having the most technically impressing graphics.
Control in this game is exclusively stylus-based, and you are able to select menus, Pokémon, and move your character around with just a tap on the touch screen. However, if you really hate using the stylus, you can pull up menus and move around using the D-pad and shoulder buttons, but you will have to use the stylus eventually to befriend the different Pokémon, which can result in the dreaded stylus and button shuffle that has plagued so many other DS titles. But no matter which way you decide to control this game, it works very well.
The sound in this title is also reminiscent of other Pokémon games, and features a cute little background score as well as some retro-inspired sound effects. Although the different Pokémon noises do sound a lot different than the cutesy Pokémon sounds in the anime, those who are familiar with the Pokémon series of games will undoubtedly appreciate the unchanged sound effects.
Overall, I really wanted to enjoy Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, but it was really the repetitive nature of the game that weakened the overall package. I really enjoyed most of the different aspects of the game, including the cutesy story, the level design, and even the music and sound effects. But whenever I was faced with a mission, I cant say I ever looked forward to the main battle mechanic, as I ended up finding it just a little too tedious to be enjoyable. To its credit, Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia does play well in small chunks, but if you are planning on playing for any substantial amount of time, it tends to get quite boring. This title is best suited for those who are Pokémon enthusiasts or for those who dont mind repetitious gameplay. But for everyone else, this title is best left off of your Pokédex.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor