Monster Rancher DS is a simulation game for the Nintendo DS. It is a game in the Monster Rancher series. It is the sequel to the Japan-exclusive game Kaite Shabette Hajimeyou!: Monster Farm DS. In Monster Rancher DS, the player and their assistant Cleo raise Monsters to compete in monster battling tournaments.
The player can create monsters by drawing on the DS' touch screen with the Magic Field and by speaking into the DS' microphone through Incantations. The player can choose a monster to raise on their ranch. Each type of monster has a main species and a sub species, which define the monster's main qualities and details, respectively. A monster is mostly defined by its main species, which dictates what stats it specializes, what attacks it has, and most of its appearance. While the sub species defines the exact base stats of the monster and the details of its appearance, such as coloring.
Players can also combine two monsters to create new monsters. They can choose what the main species and sub species of the monster by selecting the main species of one of the monsters for the main species, and the sub species by selecting the main species or the sub species of the other monster. However, the sub species of either monster can not be used for the main species of the new monster. The stats and the accomplishments of the two monster that are being combined are used to determine the potential and stats of the new monster.
Players can also use special combining items when combining monsters. Most combining items change the outcome of the combination, like the Dragon Fang which makes the new monster be a dragon. There are also overdrive slates, one for each monster, which can be obtained later in the game from battle royals. When a monster is created through combination while using the respective overdrive slate for its main species, it becomes a overdrive monster. Overdrive monsters are most the same as normal monsters, but their max for each stat is 1500 instead of 999. However each stat must add up to below or at 5994, which is what the total would be if the monster has 999 for each stat.
The player can train their monster through several different types of training, which each focus on different stats. If the monster successfully completes the training then the stat that the exercise increases is increased. For example, Pound increases a monster's Power stat. When training there is also a chance that the monster will fail, cheat, or score an excellent. If the monster fails, then it gains no stats, and the player can scold it. If the monster cheats, then it gains stats, and the player can scold it. If the monster scores an excellent, then its stats increase more than usual, and the player can congratulate it. While the player can at the start of the game only have their monsters do simple training exercises, which only increases one stat, as they increase the size of their house, they can unlock more advanced training exercises, which increases two stats (one more than the other) and lowers one stat slightly.
When a monster does training, competes in battles, goes on errantry, or does a drill they build up stress and fatigue. When monsters have stress or fatigue it tends to cause negative effects, such as a lower chance of successfully completing training. The remove a monster's stress or fatigue, the player can let the monster rest for a week, instead of training. The player can also give there monster items that remove stress or fatigue, that they can get from the Market, by winning tournaments, or by finding them while on errantry, however those items are generally less effective than resting.
The game's in-game calendar uses a twelve month year, with each month having exactly four weeks. At the end of each month the player can choose what to let their monster eat for that month, unless they are on errantry or doing a drill when the month switches.
There are many tournaments scheduled throughout each year, each tournament has a classing of E, D, C, B, A, S, or SS. The player can only enter their monster in a class if they have won the Official Grade Cup of the class below it (With E being the lowest, going up to A and eventually S and SS). When a monster finishes an Official Grade Cup, they move up to the class above the class of the Official Grade Cup. Monsters can only enter tournaments that are at most one class below their class, and can enter any tournaments above their class if the player has reached that class.
The player can enter their monster into a tournament, where it fights against other monsters. There are two types of tournaments: "Tournament" and "League". In "Tournament" tournaments, the entered monsters each battle another monster, and the winner moves on, while the loser doesn't continue on, it has a branching structure of battles. In "League" tournaments, each monster battles against each other, and the monster with the most wins is the winner. However, if there is a tie, then the tied monsters compete in a sudden death match and the winner wins the tournament. At the end of the tournament, the winner receives the prize money and the prize item, and rest of the participants get a reduced amount of prize money, as well. All participants also receive extra money depending on how many battles they win in the tournament.
In battles, the two monsters in the battle are on a 10 panel isometric grid. Both monsters can move forwards or backwards across the grid, however they cannot move sideways, to get closer to or father away from their opponent. However, the monsters can only get within one panel of each other, having one panel between them. At different distances the monsters can use different attacks against their opponent. The player can, before the battle, set their monster's attacks. A monster has two sets of three attacks, each set can have a close, middle, and far attack. In battle, if the monsters have only one or two panels between them they can use their close attacks. If they have only three or four panels between them then they can use their middle attacks. If they have only five or six panels between them then they can use their far attacks. If there are more than six panels between the monsters, then they cannot attack each other until they get closer to each other. When the monsters are within one panel of each other, they can attempt to push the other monster away by using a small amount of GUTS.
Each attack costs a certain amount GUTS to use. Each monster starts a battle with fifty GUTS, whoever GUTS are also recovered throughout the battle, with the max amount of GUTS a monster can have at a time being 99. When a monster uses an attack it has a chanced to hit the other monster which depends on the monster's Skill, the opposing monster's Speed, and the attack's Skill Rate. Each attack is either a P or an I attack which determines what stat will decide how much damage it does. P attacks use Power, while I attacks use Intelligence. The exact damage is determined from the attack's damage rating, the monster's determining stat for the attack, and the opposing monster's defense stat. When the attack is successful, the opposing monster's Life is reduced by the damage that the attack causes.
A battle ends after a monster's Life has been reduced to zero, or the time limit has been reached. Each battle has a time limit of sixty seconds. If the time limit is reached, the monster with the most percentage of its health left wins.
The player can also have their monster participate in a month long drill. There are various places where a player can send their monster to do a drill, that are unlocked as the player's class increases. Each location specializes in one primary stat and also has a secondary stat, which is generally health. In a drill the player can move their monster around a board-game-like arrangement of isometric panels by rolling a die, and choosing which way to go when they reach bends in the path. There are several types of panels, which each have a different effect when the player's monster lands on them.
There are panels that increase or lower the monster's stats, which stats depends on the primary and secondary stats of the location. The stat increase panel is blue with an image of a person on it, while the stat decrease panel is blue with an image of a person on it with a red "X" over it. There are panels that give the player two more rolls, and panels that remove on of the player's rolls. The roll giving panel is green with an image of a die on it, while the roll taking panel is green with an image of a die on it with a red "X" over it. There is a panel that initiates a battle against a wild monster. The wild monster's stats are determined by the player's monster's class. If the player's monster wins, then its stats increase as if the panel was a stat increase panel. However if the player's monster loses, then the player loses one roll, as if the panel was a roll taking panel. There is also a random panel that randomly chooses between the effects of the other panels each time the player's monster lands on it, and gives the player that effect. The random panel is pink and has an image of a question mark on it.
The player starts with a set number of rolls depending on their Life stat, with a max of four starting rolls, but up to a max of nine starting rolls. When the player's monster reaches a point where several paths converge, they may choose which direction they would like to go in. When the player's monster reaches a dead end, they automatically start to go the other direction. The drill ends when the player runs out of rolls. The player's monster can sometimes learn new attacks after completing a drill.
The player can also have their monster go on errantry. Through errantry, the player can have their monster explore various areas, by directing them by tapping on the touch screen where they want their monster to go.
While the player's monster wanders around an area, they can find various colored crystals. If the monster touches the crystal one of various things could happen depending on the color of the crystal. Blue Crystals give the player an item. Red Crystals can give the player an item or start a wild monster battle. Yellow Crystals trigger an event.
Each errantry area has a new type of monster that can be unlocked by completing various events and meeting certain conditions.
|Angsworth Way||Joker||In Spring, a yellow crystal by the path in the middle-right side of screen (across both bridges) triggers a battle against a Joker. After defeating the Joker the player acquires the Joker combination item.|
|Kalaragi Jungle||Zan||Follow a Zan throughout the jungle. At the end the player receives the Zan combining item. 1st: Bottom right corner. 2nd: At top-middle, a bit left of waterfall. 3rd: At left-middle-top, at top of circular pathway. 4th: In middle of map, above body of water. 5th: In right-middle, below waterfall. 6th: Above house icon. 7th: By waterfall.|
|Murmouge Coast||Beaclon||In Summer, a yellow crystal is located on the beach at the bottom-left of the screen. An unknown strength requirement is needed. There the player's monster will arm wrestle a Beaclon. If it wins the player will get the Beaclon combination item. Though, due to a glitch, if the player's monster loses, then the Beaclon will not show up again, and will be unobtainable.|
|Papas Alps||Durahan||On the middle of the left side there is a yellow crystal, which will trigger an event. After that the player can find two key items, one in the top-middle by a tree, and the other is inside the "L" shaped crack in the top-right of the screen.|
In Monster Rancher DS there are several main types of monsters. They are Abyss, Beaklon, Baku, Centaur, Color Pandora, Dragon, Ducken, Durahan, Falco, Gali, Golem, Hare, Henger, Joker, Lesione, Mew, Mocchi, Monol, Naga, Ogyo, Pancho, Phoenix, Piroro, Pixie, Plant, Suezo, Tiger, Xenon, and Zan. Each main type has various variations, which depend on the monster's sub-type. In total there are 272 monsters.