Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX are getting re-released on the Nintendo Switch, iOS, and the PC (via Steam ) on the 9th of December 2021.
It’s borderline criminal how Monster Rancher gets almost no love in the West. Whilst there have been a number of Monster Rancher games released outside of Japan, the series popularity is so limited in the West in comparison that I believe the latest console release was Monster Rancher EVO on the Playstation 2.
The series just never really took off here, and this is a great shame because the first Monster Rancher game for the Playstation 1 was incredibly innovative. You see, the series of video games and the anime revolves around raising monsters and summoning them through disks.
How this was achieved on the very first Monster Rancher game was the player would enter the summoning chamber and the game would prompt them to open the disk tray on their console, remove the Monster Rancher CD disk and insert another CD, like a music album, or another Playstation game, then based on that CD’s metadata the game would summon a specific monster once the player inserted their Monster Rancher game back into the console.
While this might not seem incredibly groundbreaking in an era where ray-tracing and virtual reality headsets exist, back in 1997 this feature blew people’s freaking minds.
The game was incredibly original – raising and becoming attached to a specific monster was really rewarding when it came to showing them off in the battle arena and it’s a shame that the games were less and less successful thereafter, to the point where we just haven’t seen one for some time.
I know what you’re thinking: “Why didn’t Monster Rancher blow up, if it was so great and innovative?”
This is down to a few factors. While it is true that monster taming games were a license to print money in the 90s, the release of Monster Rancher 1 for the Playstation would predate that of Pokemon Red and Blue and Digimon World 1. Meaning, that while the world might have been mad for the genre in this era, it would take a succession of those games to really begin this trend. By the time this fad had begun, Monster Rancher 1 had been out for a year and was pretty distant in people’s memory.
The second factor is that both Digimon and Pokemon had infinitely better marketing for their franchise. By the time that their games had been released, the world was already familiar with their characters because they both had successful anime television shows that the world had fallen in love with. People wanted more of these franchises in whatever way they could get it.
Unfortunately for Monster Rancher, this wasn’t the case. They did things in reverse and released their games several years before an anime that tied in with the games would go to air. Despite the anime being great, and even holding up today with some really great review scores across the board, it just never really took off.
This is what got me so excited that the Monster Rancher 1 and 2 DX re-releases are happening outside of Japan. A port of the game is already available in Japan and came to iOS and the Nintendo Switch in 2019, and since then, news about those ports getting translated and available in the West has been pretty quiet, so quiet that loyal fans of the series had pretty much given up hope.
Not anymore. And those who were unfamiliar with the series in the 90s will now be granted the opportunity to finally give the games a try! I also recommend checking out a few episodes of the show, and throwing the re-releases on your Nintendo Switch or Steam wishlists to get notified when they release this December!
MGN will certainly be covering the 25th anniversary of the game, and we look forward to hearing all about your wild and wacky creatures in the world of Monster Rancher, so be sure to leave us a comment or drop by – we’d love to hear from you on the MGN.gg blog, our YouTube channel of course, the new MGN twitter @MGN_TV, and our Discord.
|Game||Monster Rancher 2021 Re-Release|