Thanks for reading! If you enjoy this article consider subscribing to our newsletter for a chance to win a $10 eshop gift card every week!
Pokémon spin-offs may not be more popular than their main series counterparts, but they certainly offer up a fresh and interesting new look at the greater Pokémon universe that many fans have come to appreciate over the years. One such beloved spin-off series, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, has received that love in recent years with the remake of the very first game in the series for the Nintendo Switch, and will likely receive more in the future. However, others leave something to be desired, namely the Pokémon Ranger series.
Consisting of three games all released for the Nintendo DS, the Pokémon Ranger series puts players in the shoes of the titular Pokémon Ranger, someone who captures and uses Pokémon in a different way than Trainers do. Instead of using them for battle, Rangers capture Pokémon and team up with them to defend the natural environment, calm wild Pokémon causing a disturbance, fend off criminals who abuse Pokémon, and other such tasks. But while the Ranger games were popular at the time for their differences to the main series, like many spin-offs, their popularity has waned in recent years.
The last Pokémon Ranger game – Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs – was released on March 6, 2010, a little over 12 years ago, and The Pokémon Company has given the series little attention since. Here are five potential ways that they could not only bring it up back but make it even more exciting and unique.
Being a game series that was released exclusively on the Nintendo DS, one of the staple gameplay features of the Pokémon Ranger series is the use of the stylus. This feature is used in the capture of different Pokemon by physically spinning it on the screen around them, allowing players to gather up points to successfully capture whatever Pokémon they are facing. However, whether it is a remake or a brand new game, re-implementing this feature into a potential next entry in the Ranger series might be difficult, since no current Nintendo system features the style. While they could opt to make it for the Nintendo 3DS, that is unlikely, and the Switch is a much more feasible candidate.
However, that begs the question of how the gameplay would look in a Pokémon Ranger game for the Switch, and there are a number of possibilities. Since the Switch features a touch screen, it may be simple to implement touch screen compatibility so players can mimic the movement of the stylus with their fingers. But this would not apply if the Switch is ported to a TV, so another option could be button controls, which could also be simple.
A Legends-Inspired Adventure
Pokémon Legends: Arecus is far and away the most ambitious Pokemon game to date, pushing the limits of the main series far beyond what was previously established. As such, it seems like the series can never really be the same after taking such a massive step forward. While the spin-off series have generally been a bit more ambitious than the main series simply due to the different features and ideas they present to distinguish themselves, it would only be natural still for them as well to follow the main series and become even more ambitious in turn.
A new Pokémon Ranger game could easily be the first step in that direction, as the concept of the series lends itself quite well to the open world. The image of rangers scouting a vast, open area filled with wild Pokémon to tame with Ranger devices is easy to envision, and it could be an interesting way to expand on the responsibility and role Rangers play in maintaining the world of Pokémon.
Perhaps they could tame akin to an Alpha Pokémon that is threatening the local environment, or a nearby city, but instead of capturing it, they could employ various actions to calm it down and contain it peacefully. There could also be an emphasis on exploration with the use of various gear like ropes, grappling hooks, boats, and other such tools necessary for exploration. However they go about it, a Legends-inspired Ranger game is too good an opportunity to pass up.
With the release of games like Pokémon UNITE and Pokémon MASTERS EX, it seems the realm of Pokémon mobile games is slowly but surely expanding. Both of the previous examples are of course just among the various mobile games that have come out over recent years, the most popular of them still being Pokémon GO, and for good reason. The success of these games would definitely be an incentive for more in the near future, and Pokemon Ranger could be a fun addition to that lineup.
The Ranger series is fairly simple in its presentation and gameplay, so it could easily be applied or replicated on a mobile device. Players could capture Pokémon in a way that requires more focus and technique than in Pokémon GO, and battles could be vastly different than the traditional way. The specifics of it are hard to conceive because there’s no one way to approach it, but the idea is something that Niantic or another developer could easily play with.
The Pokémon anime series has been going on for a very, very long time, and is unlikely to stop any time soon. Throughout its run, the series has had multiple spin-offs or one-offs that focused on a particular character or another part of the larger Pokémon franchise in the form of anime specials, from special or rare episodes to full-on side stories.
Pokémon Ranger is no stranger to this, having received two specials in the anime: Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs and Pokémon Ranger! Heatran Rescue Mission!! While these specials are great in their own right, they leave something to be desired as they focus on an aspect of the Pokémon world that isn’t explored as much, which is the main appeal of the Ranger series. A full-on anime series adapting one of the gams (or even all of them) would provide an even deeper glimpse into that side.
Often the simplest way to bring an older series back into the limelight is to return to its roots. The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series showed this through Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX in 2020, and while it is possible for the Ranger series to receive similar treatment, another possibility is a sort of collection of all three games.
The original three Pokémon Ranger games – Pokémon Ranger, Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, and Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs – all have fairly similar stories and themes, only being based in different regions with different characters and mechanics. But a collection could not on bring them all together into one place, but also be unique in the franchise as a whole, as there have rarely if ever compilations of Pokémon games on a single drive before. While this is still the simplest option, it may very well be the best both reinvigorate nostalgia and reintroduce the Ranger series to a brand new audience.
Thank you for stopping by Nintendo Link! What do you think? Do you think the Pokemon Ranger series needs to make a comeback? Let us know in the comments below!