Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher is a blast to play, and is a fun tribute to classic Monster Rancher games (Image via Bandai Namco)

Review of Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher (Switch) – A fantastic and challenging crossover

Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher is a very interesting intersection of two things that I really love. Both will probably be considered niche loves, but I stand by them. This particular game combines Monster Rancher, the classic monster breeding video game series, with the Tokusatsu Ultraman franchise.

It boasts over 200 Kaiju from various Ultraman series, and that’s pretty impressive. It feels like a title that was inspired by some bizarre manga from the mid-2000s. While it’s not a perfect game, it’s beautiful, fun, and offers just the right amount of challenge for me.


Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher combines two classic franchises into one

Even though the two franchises don’t really have much in common, I’m a big fan of crazy, over-the-top choices like this. It’s something that a lot of people might overlook, but if you’re even remotely a fan of the classic Monster Rancher games, you definitely need to come check out what Bandai Namco has to offer here.

I have quite a few friends who are also classic Ultraman fans, so they were just as excited as I was. Even if you never looked Ultraseven, Ultraman Mebius, Ultraman Ginga, or any of the other series, here’s something you like. You don’t need to be familiar with either series to dive in and start breeding Kaiju – giant monsters.

The game loop is quite simple, but still manages to offer players a significant challenge. In Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher, you summon and raise a variety of powerful giant Kaiju and pit them in friendly, competitive battles with other ranchers. Your monster will do chores, train with others and compete in tournaments.


How to recruit and train your Ultra Kaiju

You have to summon a Kaiju before you can do anything. Very quickly you will get your first monster, for which you will of course choose a name. In the City area of ​​the game, you can go to the Altar to find your monsters in Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher.

If you choose Use a memory card, you can use any NFC-related item to scan against your controller. This will give you a Kaiju depending on what you use. Unfortunately, and this is my biggest complaint, you can’t use your Amiibos. I don’t understand why it wasn’t taken into account.

Enter a keyword replaces the classic Monster Rancher tradition of using CDs. We used to be able to put our music CDs into the PlayStation and receive monsters as a result. Now you will need to enter your main keywords and sub-keywords. Depending on what you choose, you’ll also get different Kaiju.

However, another frustrating thing is that there are “locked” monster types. Even if you have the right keywords to unlock them, you won’t get them until specific requirements are met. Fortunately, LegendCup has a database populated by community members. You can search there for keywords and see what the results will be if someone has already submitted them.

There are also likely to be special events or giveaways that result in codes being offered. In this case you use Enter the code get your Kaiju. Finally, you can easily get seasonal Kaiju for free. The selection will change regularly, so check back regularly to see if it’s the monster you’re missing.

If you summon a Kaiju and decide you don’t like it, you can leave it with the Field Guide and come back for it later. Or never if you’re a heartless monster. However, you can only train one Kaiju at a time, so choose wisely.

Back to Ranch, your Kaiju can perform a line Drills in different terrains. Each raises and lowers certain stats, and each Kaiju seems to prefer exercise. Either way, it almost always seems to increase my “Rage” stat as well. If your monster’s rage meter fills up, it will go on a rampage. There’s a good chance Ultraman will show up to stop them.

If your Kaiju damages property, you’ll have to pay for it, but luckily, money doesn’t seem to be an issue in this game. I never seemed to be short of cash thanks to dominating tournaments.

As you defeat other opponents and meet characters, you unlock the power to move on Mistakes. These are monthly excursions where your Kaiju can learn new skills, grow in strength, and develop friendly rivalries. They are expensive though, so be careful.

In addition, at the beginning of each month you choose a food to feed your monster. Be aware that they are often picky in Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher. They also won’t appreciate being fed the same food every month, so mix it up with different spices and things of that nature.

As you level up your stats and gain new abilities, you’ll want to prepare your way into the game Arena and start competing in tournaments.


The competition is easy but tough in Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher

In Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher, each round is a week. There will be regular tournaments, which you can view in the schedule, just head to the Arena. They all have their own requirements, be it monster rank or class.

They start at rank “E” in Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher, but can also participate in battles to increase that rank. You can only get to the “C” level without a Rancher license; this is where the game really starts to increase in difficulty.

This battle only happens twice a year, so you need to plan and prepare for it, as well as have a monster strong enough to win the match. But how does combat actually work? In battles, your Kaiju will accumulate a Guts meter for the duration of the match.

At the bottom of the screen you will see a series of icons, each representing a certain distance from the other monster. If you are at the wrong distance, these abilities are highlighted. They also have a Guts cost and a visible chance to hit.

Battles are short, so you really have to consider everything you do – how hard you can hit and how fast your guts recharge. Not all monsters are fast either. Fortunately, you can ram in. You move back and forth using the L/R buttons to get in range for different attacks.

If time runs out, whoever has the most HP wins, but you can also claim an easy knockout victory. You also have so many types of moves. Beam attacks, status ailments, knockbacks and more.

I love fighting and I wasn’t too upset even after losing. I could easily see how strong or weak I was compared to other monsters, but the hit rating always felt incredibly low. I rarely had above a 50% chance to hit.

That said, combat is a lot of fun and feels very tactical. Simply spamming whatever attack you have at your disposal will not be a smart strategy for success. All the monsters feel like they have something that makes them useful and I like that.


Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher is fun but very rough

Each Kaiju in Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher has a competitive lifespan, usually several years. So you’ll want to get the most out of them before you retire the Kaiju and send it to bond with another monster. That’s right, you can link them together too! I didn’t do much though. To be honest, none of my attempts have achieved much.

However, the game is incredibly rough and you spend a lot of time doing tedious, mindless busywork and preparing for tournaments. I don’t mind that, but some people might get bored. Most Monster Rancher fans know what they’re getting into, and that certainly applies to the classic games.


Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher is also pretty nice but has frame rate issues

I love the bright colors and visuals of Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher. It’s a beautiful little game and each of the Kaiju is accurately represented and reproduced for the purposes of this game. The music is also tight and I love hearing the various roars and cries of the monsters!

Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher really took me back to when I was a kid. However, I did experience stuttering and frame rate drops. They weren’t frequent, but they were enough for me to mention. It happened to me most often in combat. The kaiju are poorly animated, but I feel like that was intentional. So they zigzag and wander like on TV.


In conclusion

While yes, it’s a rough, slow game that can feel like it takes forever, that’s what I expect from Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher. It was a joy to play and I loved putting in the CD titles to see what monsters I would get, just like I did as a kid.

Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher is a weird monster farming simulator, like the classic Monster Rancher games, but with a Tokusatsu twist. Would I rather see something like Kamen Rider or Super Sentai? Absolutely. That said, I adore what it did, but it’s still really only for a subset of players. If you’re a fan of Monster Rancher and/or Ultraman, then you’ll appreciate this just as well.

These Kaiju, even though they look creepy, are still adorable and a joy to raise. The challenge is to find the right way to raise each monster, what skills work best for them, and how to best your opponents in battle.


Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher

Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher might be grindy, but it's a fun one for Monster Rancher fans (Image via Sportskeeda)

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