Pokémon Ranger is much different from the other Pokémon game I played at E3. In the demo, you play a novice Pokémon park ranger, given the task of escorting a professor through the forest.
The touch screen is where all the action takes place, while the top screen shows stats on the currently selected object, as chosen on the touch screen. This can be a Pokémon, a character, a tree, or an obstacle. Advancement in the game involves capturing Pokémon with the Capture Styler. To do so, you run into a wild Pokémon, then draw a circle around it continuously. You have to actually complete the circle for it to count. As well, you need to do it a certain number of times before you pull the stylus off for the capture to occur. During this time, the Pokémon can hit the wall of the circle with itself or an attack to cancel the capture. If you don't capture it in time, it runs off and you have to try again.
Once captured, you can use the Pokémon's special ability. For instance, there was a part of the forest blocked off by a big bale of hay. With Torchick captured, I could use its flame attack to burn the bale away and continue. Similarly, other Pokémon attacks will open new paths through the current area. As far as I could tell, a Pokémon you'll need will always be around, though it might be hiding in some bushes. You can capture and hold up to 6 Pokémon with you at any time, so there is likely to be some real puzzles later on in the game.
Different from the norm, this game also gets my attention. Along with Mystery Dungeon and Diamond/Pearl, Ranger will definitely fill my growing desire to get back into Pokémon.