Pokémon Ranger (JP) is a Nintendo DS video game released in 2006. It was developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo. It is a RPG game, but is way different from the classic Pokémon games. In order to 'capture' Pokémon, the player must use their stylus to constantly spin without lifting their stylus.
The Stylus sends the Ranger's feelings to the Pokémon each time you spin. Each Pokémon has their own number of times to spin; usually bosses have over ten while weaker Pokémon like Pichu require the player to spin once. Pokémon that have a large # to spin include Metagross and Meganium, both requiring twenty or more. Over time, you will gain EXP. Points, which will help level up your Styler. You will have to do many missions, and for most missions, they will level up your Ranger Rank. Higher Ranger Ranks means that you can use more Poké Assists from Pokémon. It also removes caps from the Partner Gauge and allows the player to take more Pokémon with him/her. This game includes a Browser, which is similar to a Pokédex.
Pokémon Ranger is set in the Fiore region (フィオレ地方 Fiore-chihō). The region's name originates from the Italian word for flower. The region itself doesn't appear in the Pokémon anime series, although the female protagonist of Pokémon Ranger, Solana, has made an appearance. The Go-Rock Squad is the resident crime syndicate of this region. Fiore itself doesn't have any native Pokémon, but has many Pokémon from other regions. It also does not have any Pokémon Trainers.
All people who live with Pokémon keep them outside of Poké Balls, like pets, as Pokémon are never trained here. Fiore is located quite some distance from the other regions of the Pokémon world up to the third generation. It is a relatively small island region that is quite mountainous. There are four major settlements in Fiore, each named after the season it constantly experiences — Ringtown (spring) to the west, Fall City (fall) to the east, Wintown (winter) at foot of mountains to the north and Summerland (summer) on an island to the south. The Krokka Tunnel connects Fall City and Ringtown.
From there, one can also get to the Panula Cave, which is also accessible from Summerland's harbor via water vehicle (aka the AquaMole), the coldest spot of the Fiore region, hence ice Pokémon appearing there, including the legendary Regice. It leads to Wintown, located on the foot of the Sekra Range. The Sekra Range is a 6,500-foot-high (2,000 m) mountain range that is notable for having a waterfall that can "fill the Capture Arena 23 times in one minute"; housing the Go-Rock Squad's base; a house high up where the residents inside will recharge the player's Styler; "Shiftree", a tree where five Shiftry live in and will attack the player all at the same time; and the Fiore Temple, an ancient temple mountain currently home to a lot of wild Pokémon, but with a strange door that will only open when you capture the 3 wanted Pokémon; where the game's climax takes place, located at the very summit of the Sekra Range.
On the same island where Summerland is located on is a big jungle called the Olive Jungle. Numerous Bug- and Grass-type Pokémon live here, and in the center is a ruin, with the same symbols on Kyogre, called the Jungle Relic. In the past, Rangers came to the Relic to test themselves. There are four Challenges involving Dragon Pokémon, each representing one of the four classical elements: the Challenge of Destruction (Earth), the Challenge of Wind (Air), the Challenge of Fire and the Challenge of Water. These Pokémon are Flygon, Salamence, Charizard, and Kingdra respectively, as on the cover of Pokémon Ranger.
It is said that should all four be cleared, a catastrophe will befall Fiore. After beating the game, the player may roam around free to do almost anything. There is also the Ranger Net for special missions after the main missions. In these missions, the main character is required to capture 3 legendary Pokémon not seen anywhere else in the game; Deoxys, Celebi, and Mew. If the code for the special Manaphy mission is unlocked, it can be used to get the Manaphy Egg, which can later be transferred to Pokémon Diamond and Pearl and Pokémon Platinum.
A game watch has been manufactured in the theme of Pokémon Ranger. The watch is designed to look like the Pokémon Rangers' Capture Styler used for capturing Pokémon. The Pokémon can be used to help the styler by making bubbles or having leaf blades shoot out or having it on fire.
Pokémon Ranger sold 193,337 copies in Japan on its release week. In terms of games reviews, Pokémon Ranger received fairly positive reaction, with a 70% ratio from GameRankings.
IGN gave the game an overall score of 7.1 out of 10, citing the presentation, gameplay and graphics as the game's strong points but also citing the game's use of sound as a major drawback, with issues such as the game's use of the 8-bit sounds from the original Game Boy games as Pokémon cries. A lack of a multi-player mode was also a negative point in IGN's review.
GameSpot gave a similar review to IGN, giving the game a 7.5 out of 10 overall. GameSpot commented that the game's "unique capturing system", "good-sized quest" and "attractive 2D graphics and animation" were the games good points while also commenting that issues such as possible scratching of the touch screen during capture and "basic exploration sequences" were the games notable bad points.
While discussing the mixed quality of Pokémon spin-offs, Retronauts podcaster Jeremy Parish cited Pokémon Ranger as an example, with Parish later referring to it as “crappy”. He cites the dialogue and story, commenting that while Pokémon was a kiddy game, the writing in Ranger is worse than in the main games. Fellow Retronauts contributor Justin Haywald criticized HAL Laboratory, which he says is normally a good developer, for making Ranger.As of March 31, 2008, Pokémon Ranger has sold 2.70 million copies worldwide.