This in no way means that I’m not looking forward to the Switch remakes of Diamond and Pearl, just that I’m looking forward to playing Monster Rancher again that much more. Pearl is my favorite Pokémon game, honestly, and I can’t wait to check out a modern reimagining of it. But Monster Rancher has held a very special place in my heart for almost 25 years.
And I mean, I get it. Pokémon was lightning in a bottle, giving the world exactly the kind of monster-collecting RPG it didn’t know it needed, then building off that for decades. It’s a fun series with fantastic creature designs and mechanics that are as accessible as they are unexpectedly deep. I prefer Monster Rancher precisely because it’s not most of those things.
Monster Rancher takes a much more personal approach with its structure: you live in a small town and have a new ranch where you plan to raise monsters. That’s about all. You’re not traveling around the country to “Be The Very Best, Like No One Ever Was”—you’re trying to carve out a modest life for yourself.