My Pokémon Ranch (WiiWare)

Game Review

My Pokémon Ranch Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Alex Knox

Is this WiiWare release a Dude Ranch or a Dud Ranch?

My Pokémon Ranch follows the franchise’s long, tumultuous history of 3D games with questionable design choices and narrow appeal. Unfortunately, this WiiWare offering is one of the worst offenders due to its strictly passive “gameplay”, ineffectual features, and obtuse design. In fact, MPR is only a game in the most liberal sense of the word: there is essentially nothing here that constitutes legitimate gameplay. What we’re left with is a sort of half-assed service designed to help Pokémaniacs get the most out of Diamond and/or Pearl yet geared for the most elementary gamers, meaning the only people that need apply are those who own a DS and one of those games or are picking up a controller for the first time.

Luckily, for those young or stubborn Pokémaniacs, there is some value here. Basically the game acts as a sort of live box to store your various Pokémon (up to 1000) along with a few Mii ranchers (20). However, instead of simple static sprites you’re treated to charming real-time activities involving the Pokémon and Miis you upload. The Pokémon themselves are displayed in an odd, deformed Mii-style that renders many of them accurately, some cutely, others strangely, and a few creepily. Some lack appendages or possess only a few defining characteristics, which makes them look abnormal to say the least. Regardless of how they look, their animations are almost always charming.

As they roam around the ranch your Pokémon engage each other and the Miis in various interactions. Mr. Mime might go for a ride on Sudowoodo. Salamence might pick up a Mii and fly him or her around for a while before dropping them back to the ground. Cranidos might ram into everything that gets in its way. Moreover, each Pokémon has a fairly representative personality and even tends to use proper attacks/abilities. Spoink bounces around on its springy tail; Mankey is overtly annoyed and aggressively uses Close Combat on anyone who comes nearby; Groudon is a plain old bully and often pounds the ground in a blatant show of dominance; Snorlax is perpetually horizontal and does little besides sleep; Abomasnow freezes any who find it in a bad mood, and so on for the 493 Pokémon in the National Pokédex. Also, at various intervals they group together to form special poses like a totem pole, a sky parade, or a ring dance where they all dance in a circle around a fire. There are even daily toys to give to your Pokémon and watch them play with.

When you first play MPR a ranch hand named Hayley will introduce herself and explain the daily operations. Basically, she has six Pokémon at the start and will bring more on a daily basis. In addition, she’ll ask for wanted Pokémon to help fill out the ranch (and inadvertently, your Pokédex) and even occasionally offers trades for the Pokémon you bring in. These trades consist of Pokémon bearing rare items and egg moves that are difficult to obtain, so they are the primary reward for playing MPR - culminating in offers for a Phione and a Mew. Beyond that, it’s up to you to upload as many Pokémon as possible to upgrade the ranch; you start out with a maximum capacity of 20 and after reaching certain quantities the ranch will expand the next day to allow for more such Pokémon. Everything in the game is based on your Wii calendar, so although the in-game day-night cycles are about 15 minutes, all milestones are based on the passage of actual days. This is designed to keep people coming back to the ranch each day, but also severely limits the usefulness of the storage feature due to the contrived way of unlocking proper storage functions.

Compounding this problem are a few seriously misguided storage-related decisions. Specifically, there is no interface to conveniently organize all the Pokémon you have stored. This isn’t always a big deal, except that once the numbers grow it’s exceedingly hard to keep track of who’s who, especially if you have several of the same species. What’s more, you can’t withdraw Pokémon to a game card other than the one they came from. I suppose this is to keep family members from stealing each other’s Pokémon or something, but it effectively prevents people from using MPR to consolidate their Pokémon among various games into one convenient location. Also, if you start a new game on that game card the Pokémon you uploaded are essentially lost forever; there is no method by which to get them into any other game. You can’t even use MRP to trade with other people who are storing their Pokémon in the same ranch.

Sadly, this is par for all of MPR’s features. There is support for WiiConnect24 where your Wii Friends or even random gamers can come to your ranch (or vice versa) to view your progress and snap pictures (which you can also send to your friends via the Wii message board), but without the ability to trade or even communicate, what could’ve been an interesting and useful service is relegated to a mundane diversion. Actually, that’s probably a good summary of MPR as a whole.


Ultimately, My Pokémon Ranch is chock full of missed potential. But while it’s easy to chide the game for what it doesn’t do, it’s harder to express that there is still value here for the right audience. There’s no question it’s an ideal game for young, fledgling Pokémaniacs who are frustrated by the demands of most games. Here, they can freely watch and interact with cuddly Pokémon of all shapes and sizes while looking forward to new toys and Pokémon daily. For established Pokémaniacs you have a service for storing and obtaining various Pokémon that doubles as a screensaver while you’re playing Diamond/Pearl. As long as these audiences keep their expectations in check they may find themselves charmed by this goofy WiiWare title, but everyone else need only look at the screenshots and their gut reaction should let them know where they stand.

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User Comments (95)



AlexSays said:

i knew this game sucked.
but somehow more people have bought this than Toki Tori,
which goes to show how misinformed most people are.
i guess people will buy anything from Nintendo, especially if it has Pokemon in the name...

edit: this game has tied Critter Round-Up for the lowest scored game on this site,
but you're still selling well, so congratulations Nintendo,
you don't need us geeks after all.



DEMON212 said:

Could be worse, it could be a Final Fantasy game that has no action in it what so ever, wait... lol.

FFCCMLAAK is a truly amazing game, and it's irritating to see just how many people are A. Being idiots and buying it without researching it. B. Complaining about the fact that it's a sim game. And C. Saying it sucks because of the above.

I've never wanted this, it's always looked crap, and now I guess I have my proof.



DarkLloyd said:

well i would get this but NOT right away as for some reason there is no more to do in my diamond version the game is cool but it felt boring for awhile plus you can`t even randomly battle without having freind code.



ttplayer92 said:

Since when do games (or anything for that matter) sell on quality?



TheBaconator said:

I sold my pearl, but the cuteness draws my attention to much. Its like its hypnotizing me saying "buy the game back and get this one!"
Its working too. get out Mommie!



SmaMan said:

I might get it for those rare PokeMon trades, but I don't see much other reason. Diamond and Pearl give you plenty of room to "catch em' all"



Dazza said:

Great review Alex! I had no clue what this "game" would be like in practice but you have certainly convinced me that this wouldn't be my cup of tea!

All this Pokemon talk is like another language to me, I feel so old



AlexSays said:

Apparently games don't sell on quality,
which is beyond unfair for developers like Two Tribes who created a game in Toki Tori which is so much better than this crap, yet Toki Tori might not sell half as well.
well Two Tribes, i support you.
i'll be gifting Toki Tori to all my friends.



ReaperJ21 said:

well, i did get this game, and i think of it as not much of a game, but more of a pokemon mii channel or an odd add-on 2 D/P. I'm not a pokemaniac and yes, i do have pearl 4 my DS, (laugh if u want), but it is cool 2 see your pokemon roam around, interct, and kill your mii's with there attacks and the trades are good 2, but it could of been much better if u could at least either control your mii or interact with some1 if they visit your ranch, besides, my sister and my mom like getting picked up by Haunter and dropped at some random place if i would give it a rating, i'd give it a 5/10 since it truely is "mediocore"



WarioFan63 said:

Its not really that bad for what it does....its a really neat underappreciated utility for D/P, and I think this wouldve been better reviewed from a Pokemaniacs perspective rather then an average gamer. Im not surprised its selling so well, and I doubt its because people are misinformed or whatnot. Its because theres still a lot of people out there playing the game and catching em all twice over.

Or it might have something to do with getting Mew as a reward and from Pokedex Completist like me, thats a pretty sweet deal.



DEMON212 said:

How funny would it be if Alex had every Poke game, figures for all 493 Pokemon and then the trainers, comics, DVD's, wallpaper etc... Just so that Poke fans can't rag on his score?



Objection said:

"It's not really that bad for what it does" Really? You can only bring them back on your original save file. INSTANT LOSS OF PURPOSE. I like the RPG games and hate to lose my previous aprties when I start over but this doesnt eveen help you there. What a piece of crap. Every person over the age of 13 who gets this deserves to be "attacked" by Mr. Mime at night.



AlexSays said:

@ Demon212- how do you know there are 493 Pokemon?
you're one of them.

@ Objection_Blaster- i most definitely misread that...



2d4eva said:

well, I am not a pokemon fan, but i like this idea. I would say it needs to be updated with some of these points made here.
1st off, it should be able to trade with other carts.
2nd, definately should be able to trade with wii friends. I would also like "my ranch" to be viewable from a friends Wii. I would love to get random visiters that could come see the Powerful beasts I have accumulated. from the comfort of their home.
3rd. some sort of battle, c'mon. ptthhhh



Mario_maniac said:

Gah. I can't transfer Pokémon from Diamond to Ranch to Pearl? That bites... I might pass on this one for now.



TomMc said:

I was gonna get this when it came out in the Uk now im not because your right! They could of added so many things to make this game better! I'll probably wait till the next DLC comes out for my life as a king! (;



Ike-Mike said:

So it's what I thought it would be.
Not so great for the others but a great utility for Pokémon fans.



Jogurt_the_Yogurt said:

This game is a cheap attempt to rope in addicts. Offering a Mew for planting 999 pokeymans in your ranch is a pretty sneaky trick, since that Mew is probably the only reason most people will dump $10 on this sucker.



Starwolf_UK said:

Not so great for the others but a great utility for Pokémon fans.
Its not even that. Its a fundementally flawed ultility.

A great ultility would be Pokemon Box on the gamecube. I suppose you can Play Pokemon ranch without a Pokemon game but thats the only advantage.



chiefeagle02 said:

I got out of Pokémon around Silver and Gold (before a majority of the franchise's current players were even born). I agree with the review, in that it's a wonderful diversion for its target audience. Great review.



MrPoo6321 said:

For some reason I want to buy this. I have a DS and Pokemon Diamond, but the limitations on this game are kind of retarded and I'm not sure I would really put the time into this game to make it worth the purchase. Also, I'm worried about space on my Wii.... I already have 3 WiiWare games and a crapload of VC titles and I'm sick of deleting things.



DEMON212 said:

Super Mario, I read Alex's review, where he states that there's 493 Pokemon _



Tides_of_Chaos said:

If you can't trade pokemon from diamond to pearl through this game, then even Pokemon Box was a better deal than this! What a ripoff....



MaxPlastic said:

I was so disappointed... This game isn't even a decent storage box...
They could have revamped Pokemon Channel to be used with the Wiimote, put THAT up for sale on the VC, and it would have been twenty times worth what this rubbish is...
@x.SuperMario.x: : I would totally DL Toki Tori, but I don't have 256 free blocks of memory on my Wii... But only geeks and Otaku want more storage space on the Wii
Nintendo of Europe = Fail



ttplayer92 said:

Dont forget the bet . Oh and I agree that pokemon ranch sucks even for a storage box.



ReaperJ21 said:

@ mrdziekuje same with me, but also 4 phione since i didn't even have pkmn pearl when the event happened, also from my last comment



Mendez said:

Hmm, I saw this coming ages ago but I still hoped it'd turn out good. Ah well.

What's the bet Europe will get this alone for the next fortnights release?



ACK said:

Yeah, My Pokemon Ranch is unfortunately a step back for Pokemon utilities everywhere. Somehow it doesn't seem right. There is still so much untapped potential in this franchise and Nintendo consistently chooses to focus their efforts on maintaining the status quo or worse.

The reality is, without the Mew and Phione, this 'game' would be a wash even for the most devote Pokemaniacs. That said, I don't see the purpose of reviewing it from that perspective because such largely insignificant details distort their perspective of MPR's value. Whether or not I'm one of them, I need to write reviews for all of our readers--most of whom probably have little interest in this franchise.

Anyway, the positive thing about my experience with MPR was that it inspired me to get back into Pearl (after 300+ hours had burnt me out proper)... Well, at least I assume that's positive...



Serpent said:

i got this but only for my pokemon diamond/pearl. But i will agree that its one of the worst wii ware tittles. I wouldn't even call it a game.



ChocoDK said:

I still don't understand why they priced this stupid looking game at 1000 Wii Points other then paying for the name "Pokemon." I agree with your review and it has the same score as on IGN.



Clayfrd said:

NO! Don't tell Nintendo that they don't need us geeks! We'll never get our hard drive!



Final_Starman said:

I was appalled by the worse-than-N64 graphics I saw of the game. Make the weird... deformed... low-polygon-count moving dolls look SOMETHING like the Pokémon themselves, please! Also, this disgrace would most likely anger Pokéfans if anything.

And DarkMatter, I could agree with you more because this looks WORSE than Bill's PC.



pApEr_y0sh said:

i got out of pokemon after the silver and gold days. and i am glad i did, now seeing where pokemon is headed wit this game



DonWii said:

Love it. The low poly graphics means it isn't 300+ blocks, which is a plus in my opinion.

It looks good.



mr_niceguy said:

I didn't get out of Pokemon until last year, with the disappointment of Diamond and Pearl. I'm suprised I didn't grow out of it sooner, I hadn't enjoyed a pokemon game since Gold and Silver, and I detested most other RPGs, most of which were of higher quality than Pokemon. I suppose pokemon just has a way of doing that to people, and the reason why Nintendo can afford to sell crap like this and have it sell so well.



pApEr_y0sh said:

@over9000- thats cause all the little 8 year olds want it and ask there parents for it cause they think its an actual pokemon game. if it was i could see why it would be first, but it is a stupid game where you sing with them around a campfire.



tgjorgoski said:

Would you guys say that this title would be fun for a 5 year old? Thinking of buying it for my daughter...



AlexSays said:

@ tgjorgoski-

I honestly hate the game, but your daughter would probably enjoy it. It's basically a place to store Pokemon, and does about as much as a screen saver so there's no thinking involved in this game, whatsoever, which is probably a good thing for a 5 year old anyway.

There isn't any kid-friendly WiiWare games besides this one, so this is really the only game you could get her. If she enjoys collecting Pokemon, looking at Pokemon, and taking pictures of Pokemon, she'll enjoy this game.



tgjorgoski said:

@x.SuperMario.x , Thanks! I think I'll give it a try (when it appears in Europe that is)



oooooomonkeys said:

mr.niceguy .
bill's pc is the in game (pokemon ds/gba) pc to store your pokemon.

on another note the release of this has made me order pokemon for the ds, as i havent played a pokemon game in a few years now.



NESgamer said:

Is just a storage thing for people like me with no room left for the pokemon, IS NOT A GAME XD, so i don't even think is worth a review...

People that don't even have diamond or pearl, don't even try it.



elekid said:

This is very disappointing. The main reason I wanted this was so that I could safely store all of my hard earned Pokemon and start a new game on my Diamond cart. Without the ability to do that this "utility" is completely useless to me and I can't understand why they couldn't have made it more flexible.



CanisWolfred said:


I should warn you, the pokemon games have changed little since the Gameboy games, and still feels like one. This may not be a problem for you, as you may simply be looking for more of the same from back in the old days. I, however, was expecting the the series to have evolved over time, just as every other series does, so I was thoroughly dissapointed when I found out that it's pretty much the same thing as the old Gameboy Color games with a few added gimmicks that does little to change or improve the gameplay.

And please don't tell me you bought one because of Pokemon Ranch! It's literally a $10 screensaver that apparently doubles as a flawed Box system. You'd be throwing your money away if you intend on getting that. I suppose if you could afford it and know what you're getting into then it's okay, but there are better ways to throw your money away than that. Like my way for instance...



Ricardo91 said:

Mickeymac, you might be right, but the pokemon games are still awesome. Even though few innovations are added to each new entry. The DS games are also cool cuz you can take 'em online, though I haven't gotten that feature to work yet...

I have to admit that I'm somewhat tempted to buy this because it offers oppertunities for rare pokemon like Mew, but I'll try to resist. I must!



CanisWolfred said:

Again, Action Replay, it only costs $20 and worth every penny! And the Online ain't worth it, as it's only for trading(you need the Wii Pokemon Stadium to battle online) and there are never fair trades available. That's why I got an Action Replay.



Ricardo91 said:

No, you CAN battle online w/o Pokemon Battle Revolution. But I forgot about action replay. That's what my friends at school use to get rare pokemon. Thanks! Now I can use 1000 of my 1200 points for something meaningful, like Starfox 64 or Lostwinds .



CanisWolfred said:

You can battle online without tha Wii game? Does it require friend codes? Otherwise I wasted 50 bucks!

If I were you I'd go with Starfox 64, because while Lostwinds was good, it was pretty short, where as Starfox 64 will last you forever! The game can be really tough, but never brutal; there are secrets on every stage, multiple routes, and medals to earn based on your performance. I loved Starfox Assault, and Starfox Command was pretty good too, they don't have neither the replayability, nor the sheer funfactor of Starfox 64. It is a true classic.

And Speaking of Starfox, instead of releasing cash-ins like this crud, Nintendo should be releasing the long-overdue Starfox II, because if Capcom can release a retro sequel like Mega Man 9, Ninty can too! I mean, the game was almost done, and you can find pirated versions floating around, so it shouldn't be that hard, just finish the last few levels, do some debugging, then charge $10, $15, what ever the heck they want for it, and they will have another best seller on their hands.



deadbattery said:

As a longtime Pokemon fan, this "game" is a serious insult and middle-finger to the fans (the ones with intelligence, at least.) I really can't get over how BAD the graphics are. I mean, SERIOUSLY. 12-year-old girls (and others with a 12-year-old girl's intellect) say the graphics are "cute" and "kawaii." I say they're "lazily-rendered" and "painful on the eyes." Beware of posting anti-Pokemon Ranch comments on Youtube, though: that site is loaded with idiot 12-year-old girls who wouldn't hesitate to pay $10 for a ball of cow dung with the word "Pokemon" etched in it. Nintendo has released a horrible-looking, overpriced, bare-bones, DISAPPOINTING product that people are STILL gobbling up like it's the greatest thing ever. Which means that there's more crap like this to follow. Seriously, Nintendo, go buy a Ferrari with your millions of dollars and crash head-on into a brick wall.



Atlantis1982 said:

If this game allowed me to throw all of my pókemans and mudkips in the ranch, start a new game on Pearl, and bring back those mudkips and pókemans later on: it would be 1000 well spent points.

Nope, Nintendo thinks that is a bad idea that I wouldn't care to lose legendaries so I can start over. (rolleyes)



Tabbyluigi said:

I'd rather buy Pong Toss than this, My rating for this game is a 0 out of 10. Worse game on WiiWare, little kids will buy anything or beg teir parents to buy a game with Pokemon in it. I hate you Pokemon Ranch, you beat Dr. Mario and there is nothing to do in this game, at least Pong Toss has some content, well I'm starting to actually want Pong Toss weird.......Buy anything but this game, even Pong Toss or Spogs.!!!!



WeeGee said:

I didn't think it was terrible. The graphics suck, but it got me to start playing Diamond again. It sucks really bad that I have to constantly trade the pokemon back and forth, but I don't play it that much to really care.



Tate24 said:

This reminds me of mii channel, but for your pokemon..... sadly this is not worth spending your pennys on though, inless your pokemon nut!



Hyper_Metal_Sonic said:

It's a shame since Pokemon Battle Revolution was total crap and now another peice of crap. Seriously, they can't even match N64 game quality anymore! Well for Battle Revolution I mean of course. I never bought the GCN utility but I'm sure something like that would've been better than this, at the right price of course.



Wolfneko said:

Well I gotta say its only for major pokemon fans...
I do sometimes regret that 10.00$ a couple months ago.
Other than that it is fun to some extent!



MarkyVigoroth said:

I actually want this game to complement my future Pokémon Pearl and to add to my PokéGame collection.
takes out Lucastick in case of My Pokémon Ranch bashers



Nath17 said:

I was foolish enough to download this. What a waste of 1000 points. I thought you could walk around the ranch, and directly interact with Pokemon, not watch them for two hours and realise who short life is. This makes me have second thoughts about downloading Pokemon Snap for the VC.



01philip01 said:

yeah, i've been thinking about getting this game to make a use for my pokemon diamond, but i dont know if i should try lostwinds for the first time, ( Since i heard it got a good review )



ladyjane said:

been playing pokemon for about 5 years. this pokemon ranch is cheap looking. I wanted to buy it, but now I do not think it is a good idea. why take up space on my wii with bad looking pokemon.



NESnes said:

Has anyone tried using an Action Replay to:
1: Upload your Pokemon
2: Note your trainer name, ID, and secret ID
3: Restart, using your old name, ID, and secret ID
4: Downloading your Pokemon

If that works, it might be worth a purchase for me



NESnes said:

^I tried the above, with smashing results!

I downloaded Pokemon from one Diamond game to another!
Both games have the same
1)Adventure started date
2)Trainer name & gender
3)trainer ID # & secret ID #

Now My Pokemon Ranch has the same functionality of Pokemon Box!!



mateo711 said:

Doesn't "gameplay" mean that this game is just where you watch people walk?! Sure I know gameplay means when you play the game! And shouldn't you call just watching people walk video games TV? This is not a video game! How BORING!



evilstepdad said:

Hi, im new to this site and my evilstepdaughter is asking for this game, can someone please help me out , is it right you get a new pokemon a day so for example after 40 days you will have 40 different pokemon?...also whats the difference between the virtual console and wiiware???/ sorry im an old man with no idea



Slorg165 said:

@ 61. Deadbattery:I'm a 12 year old girl,and i think this game looks terrible.
and im a fan of pokemon.
i mean srsly,whats up with pikachus ears??



Metang said:

^I'm pretty sure deadbattery is gone.

This isn't a game. It's crap. It really does insult the Pokemon fans with intelligence. The graphics look like they were done by a two-year-old, there is practically no gameplay, and it doubles as a flawed storage. The score is WAY too high.

@evilstepdad, post 78: Don't give your stepdaughter the game unless she's under five or something.



Metang said:

The only reason someone with a brain would buy this is because Mew is obtainable. (Some people don't like cheating with the Action Replay)



Kadaj said:


The game in itself might suck, but:

22 rare pokemon, including Mew.

Yes please.



Millie said:

lol "...and a few creepily." XD

but anyways, i AM a Pokemaniac,have been for 5 years (no im not a nerd lolol) and i think this is an embarrassment to the Pokemon series.. 3/10



Ickaser said:

One thing- this "game" is very easily exploited. My friends just kept switching the date on their Wii until they had a couple hundred pokemon, despite not having uploaded from a game. I'm not a Pokemaniac at all, and my collection consists of Platinum, which I didn't have when I downloaded it.



Lobster said:

sigh I just keep coming back to this game, wishing it was more than it was. This would have been an insta-download for me if there were any sort of support between DS carts. I have four of the five games for gen four, would have loved to be able to trade with myself.



Colors said:

i regret the day i got this. The only part i like is creating earthquakes and leaving pokemon outside the fence to find their own way back.



Drobotic said:

The only reason I still have this is so all my old Pokemon from Diamond won't be lost.

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