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Sweet Dance Online Anime Dressup Mobile Music Dancing Game

I just started playing Sweet Dance, a pretty cute mobile game with a variety of music hits from around the world. Songs include English hits from the US and Europe as well as Chinese, Korean, and Japanese tracks.

The game has several different dance modes. In the first dance mode, bubble mode, you must simply tap the bubbles on the screen. In Trail mode you must tap left, right, or both sides of your screen depending on the colors of the bubbles. Pink is Right. Blue is left. Yellow is both. The beginning mandatory tutorial only makes you play Bubble mode so I was confused when I played Trail mode but eventually figured it out. There’s also a beat mode which is like DDR for your fingers. In beat mode you must quickly punch in a sequence of arrow movements and then lock in your sequence at the right time with the beat button (The right time is when the red dot is near the white line).
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CocoPPa Dolls New Anime Mobile Dressup Game From The Creators of CocoPPa Play That’s A Lot Like Love Nikki Dressup Queen.

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/cocoppa-dolls/id1489434676

I’ve been playing a new mobile Dressup game called CocoPPa Dolls. As its name suggests it is by the creator of CocoPPa Play although this new title plays a lot more like Love Nikki or Romantic Diary than CocoPPa Play.

The gameplay is simple. You play Gacha to get new items for your avatar to wear. Some Gacha are time limited and some have rare items and others are always available with less rare items.

Ok so I know what you’re thinking. That sounds just like CocoPPa Play but that’s about when the similarities end.

From here you have a few different unique features… Let’s look at them briefly. Pictures may not be related to the text here I’m just sharing cute screenshots I took while playing. read more

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BanG Dream Girls Band Party – English Release in Spring 2018

pastel palettes
pastel palettes

Bushiroad is bringing us yet another great anime rhythm game.

From the creators of Love Live School Idol Festival, and hot on the heels of the recent announcement of Klab’s English localization of Utapri Utano Princesama Shining Live, Bushiroads has recently announced plans to localize BanG Dream Girls Band Party.

More details can be found on the official website at https://bang-dream-gbp-en.bushiroad.com/

Not only are we getting the mobile game, but also English versions of the Weib Schwarz card decks:

[RELEASE ANNOUNCEMENT]
The girls from the upcoming mobile game “BanG Dream! Girls Band Party!” are joining the Weiß Schwarz stage! Featuring the vibrant scenes from the mobile game!

BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! TD+/BP on sale April 27th 2018!https://t.co/a9mUCYhoB1 pic.twitter.com/E0vI5P0qDQ

— Bushiroad Global (@BushiroadGlobal) January 12, 2018 read more

Utano Princesama Shining Live
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UtaPri Utano Princesama Shining Live English Version Coming in Early 2018

Utano Princesama Shining Live
Utano Princesama Shining Live

KLab sent me yet another new game announcement to share with all of you. This time, I think the game really fits in with my audience here as it is similar in many ways to various other mobile idol games I’ve reviewed such as Ensemble Stars, Idolish, IdolM@ster Theater Days, Aikatsu Photo on Stage, and of course Love Live School Idol Festival.

The new game is yet another rhythm idol collecting card game.  The game is based on the hit visual novel and anime series, UtaPri, Utano Princesama. It will feature advanced Augmented Reality features that let you take pictures with your favorite idols, as well as story modes and rhythm game modes that you can play on various difficulties. You can interact with the idols in 2D Live, an exciting technology that brings anime games to life. No more static images. It even says their facial expressions and behaivors change as you get closer to them. I also see mention of different stage outfits, so it may also have some type of dressup element as well.

Klab is currently running several pre-launch events across Twitter and Facebook – by following either of their accounts you get an Ultra Rare card of your choice once the game starts, so it’s definitely worthwhile to check out the events before the game launches in early 2018.

This game looks so cute! I hope we see more Global releases of anime and idol games soon!

Check out the full press release from KLab below:

“Utano☆Princesama Shining Live”

Global Version Coming Soon!

Social Media Campaign Featuring Poster Giveaway Contest, In-Game Rewards and More!

KLab Inc.

(TSE1: 3656)

Tokyo, Japan – January 10, 2018 – KLab Inc., a leader in online mobile games, together with BROCCOLI Co., Ltd., announced plans for the worldwide release of smartphone rhythm game Utano☆Princesama Shining Live in early 2018. The announcement was followed by the launch of the official Facebook and Twitter accounts for the global version of the game.

 

Building on the success of the Japanese release, the global version of the game will be fully localized into English and Traditional Chinese, with a Simplified Chinese version planned for simultaneous release in Mainland China.

About Utano☆Princesama Shining Live

Utano☆Princesama Shining Live is a rhythm game for Android™ and iOS mobile devices based on BROCCOLI’s Utano☆Princesama series. With over 2 million downloads* in the domestic market, the Japanese version of the game has found success with fans across the country since launching on August 28, 2017.

 Utano☆Princesama is a visual novel series that began as a portable console game. The series now spans multiple anime seasons, manga, drama CDs, live concerts, and much more.

Utano☆Princesama Shining Live features 11 idols from the groups ST☆RISH and QUARTET NIGHT. Players can set their favorite idol to appear on their home screen and tap him to see his various reactions and watch his affection go up, as well as form personalized teams to play songs in a rhythm game. The rhythm game component allows players to train their own original unit of idols as they play a suite of songs from the Utano☆Princesama series at multiple difficulty levels. Players can also unlock stories starring the characters. The game transcends the boundaries of traditional gaming with a special Camera Mode that takes advantage of AR technology, giving players the chance to take photos with their favorite pop stars whenever, wherever.

* Total includes players who have downloaded the game more than once.

Opening Act Social Media Campaign

A series of special events leading up to the launch of the game were unveiled along with the announcement. Players are encouraged to follow either the official Twitter or Facebook account (or both!) to participate in these events, as well as receive the latest updates on the upcoming title. The Opening Act Social Media Campaign is now being held worldwide, except in Japan where the game is already available and in Mainland China, where a separate series of events will be held. All players will receive increasingly extravagant gifts when the game is released based on the number of people who follow the game’s official accounts.

Details can be found below, as well as on the official website which opened earlier today.

Event Campaign Schedule

Starts on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 and lasts until the game’s release (UTC+9)

How to Sign Up

To participate in the pre-launch festivities for Utano☆Princesama Shining Live, players are simply asked to follow the official Twitter or Facebook account.

All players will receive a special ticket that guarantees them a UR character of their choice when the game is launched. Players will be able to obtain up to 300 Prisms by clearing the following pre-launch missions.

* Prisms are a type of in-game currency used in Utano☆Princesama Shining Live to acquire new characters, unlock new content, and more.

Shining Live Pre-Launch Missions

In addition to the choose your UR ticket prize, all players have the chance to receive up to 300 extra Prisms depending on the number of people who follow the game’s official accounts before launch.

– Step 1: 100 Prisms (achieved at a total of 5,000 followers across Twitter and Facebook)

– Step 2: 100 Prisms (achieved at a total of 10,000 followers across Twitter and Facebook)

– Step 3: 100 Prisms (achieved at a total of 25,000 followers across Twitter and Facebook)

Poster Giveaway Contest

As part of the excitement leading up to the global release of the game, fans will be given the opportunity to enter a contest to win one of 11 commemorative posters from the Utano☆Princesama Shining Countdown Live 2017-2018 campaign. To enter, fans are simply asked to follow the official Twitter and retweet the contest tweet. Each of the 11 posters will feature one idol, and the 11 lucky winners will receive one of these at random.

Features of Utano☆Princesama Shining Live

  1. Multiple hits from the Utapri series! Turn your smartphone into a star-studded stage whenever you want!

Utano☆Princesama Shining Live is a rhythm game featuring simple, intuitive controls that gives players the chance to enjoy the greatest hits from the popular series. Create your own personalized idol unit and utilize their unique skills to rack up points and rewards

  • Watch stories and scenes starring your idols and their daily routines unfold before your eyes in vivid detail!
  • read more

    Animal Crossing Pocket Camp
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    Animal Crossing Pocket Camp Nintendo Mobile Game Review for IOS and Android

    Title: Animal Crossing Pocket Camp

    Developer: Nintendo

    Genre: Simulation

    Release Date:

    Price: Free with optional in-game purchases

    Where to Get:

    IOS: https://itunes.apple.com/…

    Android: https://play.google.com/…

    Overall: 56/70 80% “B-” Very Good Game for Girls!

    Geeky: 5/5 – Animal Crossing has a huge cult following because of its unique and strange gameplay and quirky cute characters. There is so much to do and see and it all takes place in an ever evolving changing persistent world that keeps you playing for hundreds or thousands of gaming hours.

    Sweetie: 5/5 – Very few games come close to being as cute as animal crossing with its chibi anthropomorphic citizens and bright colors. This game is full of charm and wonder.

    Gameplay: 8/10 – Animal Crossing is finally on mobile, which quite frankly is where this franchise has always belonged. It just makes sense as a mobile game given the style of gameplay which it innovated back in 2005. Now almost 12 years later, technology has evolved to where mobile makes the most sense for these types of games, having it with us in our pockets and purses, playing it on commutes, or while waiting in line at a busy store, or while at an appointment, or those few moments before sleeping or getting out of bed.

    Animal Crossing is best enjoyed in these little breaks and little moments. It’s also best enjoyed when played often as things change and happen in a living breathing world inside of your game. There are holidays and special events and animals come and go in and out of your areas. Having it on your phone puts it always at your finger tips.

    If you’ve never heard of Animal Crossing before (which is highly unlikely but just in case lol), Animal Crossing’s gameplay consists of quiet, calming activities, and cute, and quirky characters, who are, as you have probably guessed by now, animals.

    These animals may ask you to complete quests for them and in exchange give you random furniture and clothing. You can also craft your own furniture and clothing as well. Certain games in the series even score you and award you more items and points for decorating your home such as Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer.

    In fact, collecting these things and dressing up and designing has always been a big draw to the series. But it’s not the only thing that players love. Many players love to spend hours fishing, gardening, or catching bugs in the game. You can use them as items to trade with NPCs to complete quests or give them to other players or display them in your home or the museum, or sell them for bells (the game’s currency) to buy new items.

    Buying new items is addictive too, every day you turn on your game, you will see new items to purchase. Only available for that one day, and completely unique to just you. Not that the same items won’t appear again for you, or for other players, but this particular “collection” of items is unique to you. You may have on one day, a boom box, kitchen sink, and pink sofa, while your friend may have a dining room table, expensive rug, and statue of Link from Zelda. – Of course some items are more rare than others, and since friends can visit your home, you can show off all your rare items and score bragging rights.

    Nearly everything about these games are customizeable, from your character’s gender, name, appearance (initially determined by answers to questions presented when first starting the game), to your home, to your world around you. This also is another big draw to these types of games.

    New animals will appear and disappear from time to time in your world. This also increases incentive to stay active and stay in touch with your favorite NPCs. After an NPC leaves (in the traditional versions of this game, not sure about mobile), they will send letters to you and sometimes give you gifts.

    The games also feature night and day and weather cycles which add more variety to each play through. What you do on any given day is up to you! There is no objective, no goal, no ending, no progression it’s just a sandbox, a living breathing world for you to explore and interact with each day.

    This sounds like a huge plus – and in many ways it is, but it can also be a drawback as there is very little urgency or pressure or nothing really compelling you to keep pushing forward. Many times my love for these games starts strong, but 3 or 4 months in and I find I’m barely logging in, but without fail always 6 months later I’m back to being addicted and wanting to play daily. My interest in these types of games goes through spurts like that. I think I burn out from the casual nature, but then find myself wanting to relax and enjoy a cute game and gravitating right back to it, for the same reason that I left it in the first place. It’s almost a double edged sword.

    Anyways now that I’ve given you the basics of the franchise, let’s talk about what Animal Crossing Pocket Camp does differently than the other games in the series. For starters, as the name suggests, the entire game takes place in the great outdoors. You’re given a campsite you can decorate. And you have a camper trailer that you can decorate both inside and out. You travel and visit other animals (or visit your friends) and you can take quests, craft, shop, and do all the good basic animal crossing stuff.

    Some areas will be blocked from exploring initially. You need to either pay leaf tickets (special in game currency obtainable with real money (but quite often also given for free as quest rewards), or get the help of friends to enter these new areas.

    New areas open sometimes for special events like right now there’s a Christmas area where you can get more candy canes to help craft the time limited Christmas themed items which you need 5 friends to help you unlock.

    You can link the account to your nintendo account or link your facebook and twitter to find more friends! 🙂 Playing animal crossing with your friends is now easier than ever.

    So those are a few of the positive features.

    On the downside, they’ve removed the actual houses, so that’s a bit disappointing for those of us who liked modeling our homes.

    Also my biggest gripe is too much is just “handed” to us. In previous games, we each had a random fruit. In this game, when I get to the tutorial, I’m given tons of different fruits I can hoarde to plant back at my own campsite. Making the need to work with friends less important in this game.

    I also don’t know / haven’t tested how inviting a friend over to your campsite works and how or if you can communicate with them and what activities you can do together. I feel like it may be more limited than in the other games, but maybe I’m wrong.

    Other than that, the game offers a feeling of playing the console and handheld Animal Crossing games right on your mobile phone.

    Story: 4/10 – Story has never ever been Animal Crossing’s strong suit, and I think for me personally, that’s why I get bored of the games so fast and have an on/off love/hate relationships with them. I play games primarily for story above anything else. So lack of really much to offer here makes it a bit dull to me.

    Characters: 10/10 – The characters are charming and cute and have always been the best part of the animal crossing games.

    Graphics: 10/10 These graphics look just as good as any Animal Crossing game I have ever played, and it’s a free mobile game, now that’s impressive!

    Music: 5/10 Music is just sort of average. Nothing to write home about. Sometimes it can be cute and catchy, other times repetitive and annoying. Depends on my mood and the song in question.

    Replay Value: 9/10 – The very nature of Animal Crossing as a franchise is a slow and steady journey meant to be enjoyed through several (often times daily) small playing sessions. Animal Crossing offers much to do, from fishing, bug catching, gardening, to crafting, to shopping, to collecting, to decorating your home and dressing up your avatar. However, it does get repetitive because of the slow and lackadaisical gameplay style. – Which don’t get me wrong, that gameplay style has also always been the game’s strong suit and its unique charm, and what makes it so much fun. There also are time limited goals, time limited items, and time limited quests to complete which will keep you logging back in. However, it’s also the type of game you can play for 10 hours a day for 6 months straight and then feel bored of. It’s much better to enjoy it about an hour a day, as if you immerse yourself too long, you will burn out quickly. But kept in small doses, you will be playing this, or any other animal crossing title for years to come. Now that animal crossing is on our mobile phones we are all doomed to be playing it religiously for the foreseeable future. And future updates will make this even more enticing.

    Overall: 56/70 80% “B-” Very Good Game for Girls!

    Other Games You May Like:

    Castaway Paradise – pretty much an animal crossing clone. It was fun, but ain’t no animal crossing. Now that animal crossing is on mobile, I see no reason to play this.

    Animal Days by Gree  Sadly this is no longer around, but probably one of my all time favorite mobile games, you should check it out since there’s still a wealth of images and info available online with a quick Google search; it’s interesting to read about just because of how unique and fun it was. It had the cute animals, moving in and out of your village, and most excitingly, you could BREED your animal villagers to create new villagers. There were time limited release villagers, and all kinds of really cute things to decorate your home, and a cute story too. I was sad when it closed. I heard they underestimated how popular it was going to become and couldn’t manage well with the production schedule for new releases and updates. I wish someone would buy the code from them and revive this project, but it’s been dead for 5 years now, so it’s not likely to happen. I would rather play Animal Days by Gree over even the best Animal Crossing game, because the breeding and randomized aspects make me so excited.

    Happy Street – “sort of” a clone of animal crossing, but completely different gameplay, still, animals at random move into your village, and you fish and mine and craft and so on. but yeah, just it’s different, it’s more like mobile clicker type gameplay, but it has the same charm and theme as animal crossing and is a fun and different enough game that you should play both! 🙂 — There’s also a version of this put out by Line Play, and the name is escaping me right now. Same game / user interface, but different graphic assets and run by different companies. It still has cute animals moving in and out of your village and same gameplay mechanics. I think Happy Street was marketed more and took off more rapidly, and thus the Line Play “clone version” is a lot less widely known – might be worth checking out for you if you love Animal Crossing or Happy Street though!

    Seabeard – This has a huge massive open sandbox world and captures some of the unique gameplay aspects of animal crossing.

    Line Play – for the fishing and dressing up and decorating and kawaii style.

    My Nyan Place Cat Simulation Game for IOS and Android Kawaii Game Review
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    My Nyan Place Cat Cafe Simulation Game Review

    My Nyan Place Cat Simulation Game for IOS and Android Kawaii Game Review
    My Nyan Place Cat Simulation Game for IOS and Android Kawaii Game Review

    Title: My Nyan Place

    Genre: Simulation

    Release Date: 2016

    Publisher: ESTGames

    Official Website: http://www.mynyancafe.jp/main/

    IOS: https://itunes.apple.com/app/id1080565581…

    Android: https://play.google.com/store…

    Geeky: 2/5 – not much to the game play really, but it does have some pretty graphics. Not as robust or as many features as other cafe simulation games such as I love pasta and I love coffee which I reviewed here.

    Sweetie: 5/5 – cats, cats, and more cats coupled with cute anime graphics and a casual and easy to play family friendly game.

    Overall: 49/80 63% D “Average Game for Girls”

    Concept 10/10: My Nyan Place is the perfect IOS and Android game for all cat lovers. You will need a Japanese or Korean Itunes account to play the game. You can create a Japanese or Korean Itunes account for free which I cover how to do in depth in my review of Aikatsu Photo on Stage here.

    My Nyan Place allows you to run your own cat cafe while collecting rare and cute cats, decorating the cafe, and playing fun mini games. You will need to feed, play with, and groom your cats. They need ample space to play, hide, climb, scratch, and sleep. And all of the accessories that come along with it.

    Guests will come to the cafe and play with the cats as well as purchase food and beverages which earn you gold which can be used to purchase new items for your cafe.

    As you level up, you can begin adding more cats and even more floors or buildings to hold the cats which will then need more decorations and more items for your cats and attract even more guests and earn even more gold.

    Gameplay: 5/10 – Gameplay is simple and intuitive enough that you can enjoy this game without knowing Korean or Japanese languages. There are some quests and tutorial items that can be challenging at first to get past without knowing the language, but luckily, you will clear many of these obstacles through the natural flow of the game.

    You start with a completely empty cafe and are given a few items such as a table, feeder, and cash register to get you started. You also get to select one free starter cat from the old man’s shop to begin your game.

    The old man’s shop refreshes once every 24 hours and gets lots of rare and unique cats. These cats cost a lot of bells, but give you the benefit of knowing exactly what type of cat you’re purchasing.

    The alternate way to obtain more cats early in the game is with tickets or bells that can be exchanged for “blind box” type cats. With this method, you can exchange tickets or bells to receive one random cat. You may get a rare cat this way, but you’re much more likely to get a common cat. Different types of boxes have different cats, including rare event boxes and cats that appear only for a limited time.

    Now you will need to add some important items to your cat cafe to make sure your cats are healthy and happy. With the cat feeder, you can cook your own food and treats for your cats. Each cat is a unique individual and has likes and dislikes when it comes to food. Feeding your cats food and treats that they like will boost their mood and earn you more gold from your guests. You can also grow your own catnip, which can also be used as a treat for your cats. The catnip can be harvested once a day.

    Your cats need a place to sleep. Some beds can hold multiple cats, while others are only enough space for one cat. It’s better to select items for multiple cats because they take up less room on the “grid” layout of your cat cafe.

    You can expand your cat cafe to hold one more row on the grid per each upgrade, but there are level blocks that prevent you from expanding too quickly. There are also level blocks that prevent you from holding more cats, or having more than X number of certain items (tables, feeders, beds, etc).

    You can hire staff to help run the cafe when you need to go offline. Your friends can also help you by visiting your cat cafe and clicking on up to three items that need attention.

    Cats love to play; there are a lot of items which the cats can interact with which help to boost their mood, which as mentioned, help make your cafe more profitable. These items range from scratching posts to exercise wheels to cardboard boxes and anything in between.

    The cats in the cafe will play with these items on their own. When you see them playing, boost their mood by clicking on the pink hearts. You can also tap on a cat and interact with that cat directly to boost its mood by grooming, feeding, or playing with the cat.

    Cats also like to sleep, but they won’t sleep on their own. You need to monitor their moods and if you see a bubble with a “Zzz” click it to make the cat go to sleep. You also feed cats in the same fashion. A bubble will appear with a blue food dish; click the bubble to feed your cat.

    When an NPC guest character visits your cafe, place one of your cats on each of your open tables. The NPCs will sit and pet, feed, play with, and take photos of your cats. They will also order food and drink for themselves to enjoy as well. You will need to restock, clean, and arrange the food and drinks several times a day.

    Although the game is in Korean (or Japanese depending on the version you choose to download), the game sends me notifications in English, telling me “the food stand is strange and to hurry and come clean it”. As well as other notifications in English, which also help with figuring out the gameplay.

    Be careful not to accidentally sell your favorite cats. I speak from experience. When trying to transfer from your apartment to your cat cafe, one of the buttons will let you sell the cats. Another screen will pop up asking to confirm, but since it is not in English it is easy to accidentally click the wrong button and accidentally confirm that you want to sell the cat. I recommend if you see the popup, and you think you may accidentally be selling your cat, to restart the app completely. (To do so on an IOS device you hold the power button for a few seconds, then release, and hold the home button for a few seconds, this will cause any IOS app to restart).

    Each cat is an individual. While some may look alike, they have different personalities and also grant different stat bonuses such as increased gold, increased luck, better moods, and other status effects. Make sure you’re using your best cats on the best tables for the best results and keep an eye on their moods, sleep, and hunger levels.

    That is the basics to the gameplay. As you level up there will be new features unlocked to you such as capturing stray cats in the wild to add to your cafe, you new minigames that allow you greater interaction with your cats.

    Story: 0/10 read more

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    Romantic Diary Anime Otome Dressup Game Dating Sim with Cooking and Crafting

    I just discovered, Romantic Diary, an anime Otome Dating Sim which is part Dressup Game, part Visual Novel, part Cooking Game, and has an extensive crafting system. At the core, this game looks quite similar to Hello Nikki! Which I reviewed here. However, it seems to have more robust features, and a heavier emphasis on story telling and dating elements. It’s also a “Stat-Raising” game similar to Princess Maker (which I reviewed here) or Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side (which I reviewed here).

    Are you thinking about playing this game? If so please use my friend code (input it later after the tutorial at the “friend” screen). We’ll both get free stuff! <3 Use Invite Code: 82477180 read more

    Monster Rancher EVO, Monster Rancher 5, Monster Farm 5, Monster Farm 5 Circus Caravan, Monster Taming, Monster Raising, RPG, JRPG, Dungeon Crawling, Games Like Digimon, Games Like Pokemon, Pokemon, Digimon, Retro, Retro Game, Playstation 2, Playstation, Review, Retro Gaming, Retro Gamers, Retro Game Review, Retro Game Reviews, Retro JRPG, Retro RPG, Cute Game, Kawaii Game, Anime Game, Circus. Circus Game, Exploration, Adventure, Story Rich
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    Monster Rancher EVO | Monster Rancher 5 | PS 2 | Monster Taming | Retro RPG | Review

    Monster Rancher is a series of games (there’s also an anime) in which you (at certain prompts) insert another cd, dvd, or game disc into your machine to generate a monster which you then take back to your ranch to train for battle.

    I’m reviewing Monster Rancher EVO today because it stands out the most for its story and characters, although its gameplay deviates significantly from any of the other games in the Monster Rancher world. I recommend this game, but I also would recommend any of the other Monster Rancher games as well. I’ve played them all (with the exception of the hand held ones). It is truly a great monster taming series.

    Also, although no new games have been released in over half a decade, there are 2 different mobile games which come close to capturing the spirit and fun of Monster Rancher for fans who miss this series. These two mobile games, include one actual real Monster Rancher game by Mobage. And another app called Monster Nursery.

    Of those two apps I prefer Monster Nursery because it has the monster generation mechanics (It uses your facebook friends to generate a monster – they don’t get spammed or notified either, it just reads their “name”).

    You can check the apps out at the end of this article I will put some links there for you. But first, here is my review of Monster Rancher EVO.

    Title: Monster Rancher EVO (Monster Rancher 5) (Also known as Monster Farm 5 Circus Caravan in Japan)

    Platform: PS2

    Release Date: April 2006

    Where to Buy: Amazon – prices range from $10 to $40 depending on the condition of the game. Buy Monster Rancher EVO on Amazon.

    Genre: Monster Taming RPG

    Geeky: 5/5 stars

    Sweetie: 5/5 hearts

    Overall: 68/80 85% B “Very Good Game for Girls”

    Concept: 9/10 The concept of these games is truly unique. I don’t know of any other games that allow you to insert CDs (or DVDs) as part of the actual gameplay. That was the most fun and addicting element of these games. And I had a massive huge collection of games to try too. Still have most of them too, though I have sold parts of my collection over the years. Would love to see a new Monster Rancher Game (maybe on PS4 :)).

    Beyond just generating random monsters from your CDs and DVDs, you then take that monster to your ranch to train him for battle. In Monster Rancher EVO you can have up to 3 monsters in your battles while adventuring at once, which is different from most of the other games in the series which allowed only 1 on 1 battles. Though in this entry tournament battles have been replaced with a circus minigame. I kinda do miss the tournament style from the other games. I would’ve liked to see the tournaments also used, but I understand they didn’t fit the story or theme of this installment so I won’t deduct a point for that.

    As mentioned above, Monster Rancher EVO also introduces a Circus minigame element to the mix. You must perform different tricks with your monsters through a series of minigames to progress through the game. The tricks start out simple, but increase in difficulty as you progress through the game.

    It also had a decent story – more so than most of its predecessors. You play as Julio, a circus performer who trains monsters for his traveling circus troupe. You begin to doubt your training methods when one of your monsters runs away from the circus and dies as a result. A mysterious girl also shows up and joins your group.

    Each week you must meet with your Ring Leader in order to review the schedule for the upcoming week. You can choose from tasks such as Training, Performing, Adventuring in dungeons, or just going to town to shop for items to talk to NPCs

    Also in this series, the number of main species is only about half as large as Monster Rancher 4 which is rather disappointing (deducted 1 point here).

    Gameplay: 6/10 – While the concept/theory of this game sounds good on paper, many of the minigames in the circus performances – which are required to progress through the game – become very challenging, to the point that they can become more frustrating than fun later on. Also, although generating the monsters and caring for them is a novel idea, the gameplay in all of these games, not just EVO, does have a tendency to become very repetitive if you play for long periods of time.

    Still, it is kept fresh with a huge variety of things to do, from the circus performances, to adventuring and battling with a party of monsters, to just going through your CD and DVD collection looking for rare monsters to add to your book. Also more than any other Monster Rancher game this one feels the most like an RPG because it focuses more on story, character development, and NPC interaction.

    It was also nice how the circus theme was tied to every single thing in the game – even at the cost of losing the beloved feature of the tournaments. It kept me feeling like I was playing in part of a world, with a goal, a story, and characters that I cared about, which ultimately caused me to enjoy the Gameplay more. It was more structured in this game, and less sandbox style as its predecessors.

    Losing the feature of the tournament style gameplay was super disappointing though. It is a hallmark of the series and well, in a way, what makes Monster Rancher, Monster Rancher. I’m not sure how they could have tied it into the circus theme, but I really did miss the tournament style gameplay throughout.

    Story: 8/10 Out of all of the Monster Rancher games, this one easily has the most immersive story. It’s not the best RPG for story in the world, but it was highly engaging with characters and a unique theme that pull you in right from the start. Then it develops more mystery and intrigue which keeps you wanting to continue to play to see how things evolve throughout the game. Story in most Monster Rancher games takes a back seat to gameplay. I would say in Monster Rancher EVO, the gameplay and story are of equal importance. Sadly, the story is executed better than certain aspects of the gameplay. But both story and gameplay are joined together with the overarching theme of the traveling circus troupe. I enjoyed the unique setting and unique characters and feel that it’s worth playing for story alone, even without the other gameplay elements which make the series so unique and engaging (such as generating monsters from discs, etc).

    Characters: 10/10 As mentioned a few times above, this is a very story and character driven RPG which focuses a lot on NPC interaction and really makes you care about the cast of unique and unusual characters. The characters are also all drawn in a very cute, colorful, and bold style. The monsters themselves have also always been “characters” within these games with many species making a return, and a few new arrivals as well. Having more of a focus on story in Monster Rancher EVO really lets the trainers and NPC cast members shine just as much, if not even more than, all of the cute monsters in the game.

    Graphics: 10/10 I fricken love the graphics in this game. They mix in Cell-Shaded 3D graphics with 2D anime cutscenes to give it a very colorful anime feeling. There’s also character portraits that are nearly full body when talking to NPCs which have a bright vibrant style. The monsters are always cute in these games. While EVO and MR4 both feature slightly more “realistic” designs, and less “cartoony” artwork for the characters – all of the human trainers in EVO are very “cartoony” or “anime” feeling. EVO upgrades all of the textures, environments, and character designs SIGNIFICANTLY even from Monster Rancher 4. It’s hard to believe both of these games are on Playstation 2, because EVO looks so much better than Monster Rancher 4 that it looks almost like it should be a PS3 game. Everything about this game is super colorful, stylized, and unique helping it to create a lasting impression.

    Music: 8/10 The music, while bright and innocent sounding, and rather simplistic or even childish in a way, fits perfectly with the circus theme. The music is just another testament to how the theme of the circus was carried out into every single aspect of this game. It fits with the cute vibrant nature of the Monster Rancher series, and helps to further immerse into the game world.

    Replay Value 7/10: While this is a linear game, and while there are other Monster Rancher, or even other Monster Taming games in general, this one definitely keeps you coming back – In fact, you may find yourself putting in 100+ hours or more just trying different CDs and combining your monsters before you even complete the story mode. It offers a ton of things to do and is very fun – but ultimately since it is a linear game with very repetitive gameplay and sometimes unforgiving difficulty and minigame mechanics, I’d say there are some people who would probably prefer to play other installments in the series or move on to other similar games.

    Overall: 68/80 85% B “Very Good Game for Girls”

    Other Games You Might Like: As mentioned in my introduction, there are 2 mobile games which you may enjoy if you like Monster Rancher. These are Monster Rancher by Mobage, and Monster Nursery. Check out the links below to get these free games.

    Monster Nursery for IOS

    Monster Nursery for Android

    Monster Rancher by Mobage for IOS

    Monster Rancher by Mobage for Android

    Edit: apparently Mobage has closed the US version of Monster Rancher. However, if Monster Nursery above is still not enough to satisfy your Monster Taming goals, I did find Neo Monsters – but it is a paid app. (99 cents) and looks closer to Pokemon than Monster Rancher – You can grab it here: Neo Monsters on IOS.

     

    Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Monster Rancher Universe. These are great games, and if you like one, chances are you’ll like the others.

    Also I recommend Dragon Seeds on PS1, Digimon, and Pokemon. I also presume that you’d like Yokai Watch although I’ve not played it myself yet :). Lastly, check out the Petz games, especially dogz and catz 3, 4, and 5 for the PC.