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Review: Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX – All Monsters Go To Heaven In Tecmo’s Cult Classic

Breeding virtual monsters to fight for fun and profit.

Name the first classic game series that centres around collecting, training, and battling monsters against other trainers around the continent that comes into your head. No, we’re not talking about Pokémon — instead we’re looking at Monster Rancher, a series which started in 1997 on the PlayStation and turns 25 next year. So what better way to celebrate that quarter-century than to catch the first two games re-released for Switch? Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX is certainly one of the more unusual games on Switch eShop.

Monster Rancher, like many series coming out of Japan in the ’90s, has a somewhat spotty localisation history. In fact, this is the first time that the original game has ever reached Europe, with the sequel marking the series’ debut in that territory (dropping the titular ‘2’ so as not to confuse Europeans). Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX is a pretty faithful port of the first two games, adding in a few quality of life improvements that weren’t a part of the original Western release — such as more save slots and monsters to raise — while keeping the gameplay, sound, and graphics straight out of the PS1 era.

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