It's a shame that the Digimon universe must forever be in the shadow of Pokemon, because had it not been for the latter, Digimon World DS would be a pretty good game. However, because Pokemon set the standard for exciting RPG elements such as wild monster collecting and battling - some years ago, in fact - Digimon World comes off as a game of "meh" proportions.
By far the best part of Digimon World DS is capturing, training and evolving Digimon, those morphing, cuddly-then-monstrous cyborg creatures that aggressively defy laws of evolution that even Pokemon must obey. Digimon are captured in the main game by way of scanning at the beginning of each random battle. Each scan only nets you a certain percentage, but get to 100% or more of a particular Digimon and you can convert them for use in your party or for training. The more you hold out, the higher the scanning percentage, which means more HP and stats for your digital fighter.
You can purchase farms, which you then accessorize with training equipment so the Digimon can level up. This is helpful for strengthening Digimon that aren't currently in your party for use in later, more difficult dungeons, but it's not really necessary. You can just as easily convert higher level monsters later in the game - that way, you get powerful beasts without spending the massive amount of time it takes to train them. So basically, the training is useful only if you plan on collecting as many of the 200 Digimon as you can.
You'll spend the meat of the game traversing different locations that range from straight-path cake walks to confusingly-designed mind-benders you need a GPS and an atlas to navigate. From here, you fight random battles, grind your levels and take out the boss. What sucks is that none of your Digimon have healing powers, leaving you to use only the items you brought with you. In some cases, you'll come to the boss with hardly any healing or revival items left in your stash. Luckily, since you can't die when your Digimon fall, you'll just end up back in Digi World without losing your levels. Then you have to stock up on more items and go through the dungeon again. Thanks.
And why aren't there dungeon maps? The top screen is reserved for a camera view of what's going on back at your Digi Farms. That's great when you want to see your Digimon use the bathroom (no joke) but infuriatingly bad when you want to see the exit. You're made to feel like your punishment for a wrong turn is more random battles. It's nice there's a save-anywhere feature because at some points you'll need a break.
The Wi-Fi feature found here is impressive and fun for as long as it lasts. You can fight friends in three-on-three battles or trade Digimon. It's here that you can have access to rare fighters that could help you in later dungeons. But more than likely, you'll trade just to catch ‘em all.
Chances are you're reading this review because you're still a fan of this Poke-clone series. If that's the case, this is your game. Digimon World DS excels in being a solid monster collection and training sim. However, the downside is playing through the actual game to collect these monsters. From here it's all Digi-downhill.