Game Review

Crystal Defenders R2 Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Does this second Crystal Defenders release bring enough new material to the table to warrant a look?

Whereas the Xbox Live Arcade and iPhone releases of Crystal Defenders came in one package, Square-Enix has chosen to split the WiiWare release into two separate parts. We've already seen Crystal Defenders R1 released on the service and now we've received the second part in Crystal Defenders R2. The games themselves are basically the same, with R2 offering up a bit more challenge than the first release that spent much of its time teaching players the basics of how the game is played. So is this second part of the game worth your time, and would those who haven't yet tried the games benefit more from skipping the first game and diving straight into this second release?

The game play in Crystal Defenders R2 is quite simple. You're put in control of a set of units that you can deploy onto a map that features winding paths of different shapes and lengths. Your task is to stop the enemies from reaching the end of these paths and stealing all of your valuable crystals. To do this you'll have to carefully and strategically position your various units along these paths in an effort to destroy the enemies before they can reach the crystals. You'll begin the game with only a handful of varying units to deploy, but as you progress through the game, you'll be given more units that feature new types of attacks.

Each time you place a unit down on the map, it will cost you Gil. It also costs you Gil to level your units up. Given that you only have a certain amount of Gil for each round, it's important to spend your money wisely and only deploy the units you actually need and only level them up when their attacks become too weak to destroy the enemies. It's also important to choose the right unit to deploy, as each unit has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. Some units, like the Fencers for instance, feature great short-ranged attacks whereas Mages and Hunters excel at long range attacks, which come in handy for taking out aerial enemies. It's this careful blend of choosing the right type of unit and the location in which you position them that will determine how successful your units are in stopping the barrage of enemies in each round.

There are varying numbers of waves of enemies that you'll have to endure in each stage, each becoming more powerful and more challenging than the last. If you can make it to the end of the last wave with any of your crystals left, you win the stage and move on to the next area. But if you lose all of your crystals anytime along the way, you'll have to start the stage over again.

The options and deployment play controls are all very intuitive and easy to use. Most of the actual deployment is just pointing your cursor to the square on the map you wish to place the unit on and then choosing the unit from the menu of choices. Once you've placed all of your units into position, you merely press the "A" button to start the barrage of enemies marching down the paths. It's at this time that you'll find out how successful your deployment strategy actually was.

The visuals in Crystal Defenders are fairly basic, but that's no real surprise considering what type of game this is. You can only do so much visually when each level is basically just a set of winding pathways with a few varying backdrops tossed into the mix. The enemies and units are all well drawn and animate well, and even the menus used in the game are very distinctive. This WiiWare version might not have the glossy crispness of the Xbox Live Arcade release, but in some ways it's actually even more vibrant and striking in its overall presentation.

The music in the game is typical Square-Enix material. While there's not a lot of variety, the actual musical tracks that are present are very engaging and really fit the action taking place onscreen. They're also quite lengthy and tend to change rhythms and melodies often enough that, at times, they seem like different tracks entirely. The sound effects are a bit bland, but they play such a minor role in the overall scheme of things that it's hard to complain about them too much.


It's difficult to grade these two releases as separate entities, as you can't help but feel that they should have been included in the same package. Crystal Defenders R2 features a bit more challenge and just feels a little meatier overall than the first release. If you enjoyed Crystal Defenders R1, you'll likely enjoy this second title as it's basically more of the same, just with a little more of an edge to it. However, if you're only going to purchase one of these titles, you'd probably be better suited choosing this second release as it just feels like an stronger package overall.

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User Comments (53)



Metroid133 said:

Good review, Corbie!

I just purchased this with R1 yesterday morning. I'm not going to start it till R1 is complete, but it seems like it will be good. I agree that they should of been released in one package...it might of only been 1500 points then.



Esposch said:

Ah, Squeenix loves making people pay extra to get the full game. They have pulled a Space Invaders Get Even yet again. Thank god they can't put DLC on my TWEWY!



Dawnclaude said:

Maybe the split is because of the 40 mb size limit. Both Titles have above 30MB. But i realy dont know why they are so big.
Anyway I love the game (part 1), its a lot of fun. One of the best wiiware games so far.



Golgo said:

What does the 'R' in these two separate games stand for, rip-off?



Kawaiipikachu said:

The iPhone/iPod Touch version is at 42MB size & as we know it's all 3 in one.
So in a sense Square Enix could have squeeze in the file size limit.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

Wait a second. This is 800 points not 1,000.

  • "However, if you're only going to purchase one of these titles, you'd probably be better suited choosing this second release as it just feels like an stronger package overall."

I thought as much but I just wanted to get one last thought from someone. Thank you for saying so. This has helped me finally decide that I'm going to go through with skipping R1 completely and heading to R2. Thanks for that statement.



Objection said:

I wish they would have release one game and then just had cheap DLC like a non-evil company would do.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

People would still label them as "evil" for not having all of it included in one game to begin with.



Popyman said:

Woah, KS8, is there a name for someone who reviews other people's reviews? If not, you should totaly make one up and give it to yourself =P

EDIT: Oh, BTW, I would like to know how long this is/how many levels there are? I think I'll get this sometime.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

Hey, Popy!

In my defense, I was analyzing it. I just felt I should explain why I didn't find the review as great as I had hoped. After all, I kept putting off purchasing it so naturally I wanted to hear some good thoughts.



Golgo said:

@ KS8: you forgot to score Corbie's review. Tut tut. This means I'll review your review of the review at 6/10.



MarkyVigoroth said:

At least there is a cool pig thing on the game's banner.

Ricardo91-san, such is not because of Corbie-san's review style, but more like he is a magnet for 7-star games.



nintendolover88 said:

hope it comes to the UK soon,since i have a new 2000 wii points and nothing to spend it on(after buying all the wiiware, SNES and N64 games i wanted)



nintendolover88 said:

P.S Corbie always seems to be giving 7/10 a lot, they probably most of the time deserve it(no offense to Corbie)but we would like to see a different score more often - but great review anyway!



EdEN said:

The iPhone/iPod Touch version of the game is smaller because it only has to display in the small screen of the iPhone/iPod Touch while this version is for a console release and as such must be optimized due to the difference in resolution and size.



Dazza said:

@nintendolover88 - A glance at Corbie's profile will show you that he doesn't give 7/10 out as often as you suggest

In fact his most recent scores are: 8, 9, 3, 5, 4, 9, 9, 8, 9, 4, 6, 9, 4, 2

If anything he is addicted to 9's, but most of those are due to him picking classic retro games to review!



Chatham said:

You know what makes me really angry? The XBLA Crystal Defenders is 55MB...

Really Square-Enix? You already had to lower the file size due to lack of HD... So you couldn't make this one 40MB release. Wii files use a high compression system anyways.



EdEN said:

The XBLA Crystal Defenders game is a straight port of the celphone game from Japan and, thus, didn't need much change at all in file size. The only change in file size is due to the "frames" added to the XBLA game as well as some tweaks in sound here and there.

Look, if you don't like the R1 versions of the game, then just don't buy them. They're really fun and you could do worst for 2-4 hours of fun than $8 (and yes, it does take that long if you go for better grades).



Corbs said:

I'm not writing an instruction manual, I'm writing a review. And given that the reviewer who did the first game could not take this one, I had to. Which meant I had to go back and quickly play the first game before I could even start on the second. Not to mention the fact that I even went and grabbed the XBLA version so I could have a comparison of that as well. So I think I covered everything that really needed covering in the limited time I had to do it in.

But thanks for sounding off Knuckles. I can sleep better at night now. Sounds like someone is still pouting about the Marble Saga review.



thewiirocks said:

@KnucklesSonic8 - Here goes...

  • You are correct that it is 800 and not 1000
  • There is no IR support as far as I've been able to tell. Control is the same.
  • Control consists of an on-screen cursor that moves 1/2 of a grid space with each tap of the dpad. Pressing the controller button brings up a menu to either build a unit or upgrade an existing unit. Units cannot be sold.
  • Once set in motion, the player has little to no control over the units. Pretty much standard tower defense where they attack whatever the heck they want to attack.
  • The standard units are the same as R1 with little more than a sprite swap. These units consist of Fencers (soldiers with swords), Black Mages (throw magic fireballs), Hunters (archers), Berserker (soldiers who clobber more than one foe at a time; i.e. "Spash" damage), Time Mages (basically an ice or "slow" spell), Thieves (you get more money for kills), and Dragoons (magic teleporting dudes who do lots'o'damage).
  • Additional units added to R2 include Tinkerers (stop enemies instead of just slowing them) and Musketeers (they fire "magic" bullets).
  • Special "crystals" have been added for strategy purposes. Red crystals can be placed to increase attack power of nearby units, yellow increase rate of fire, and blue increases range.
  • There are "espers" you can summon to perform some sort of bomb attack on the entire board. These cost life crystals and are thus a last resort. (Not very useful in the long run.) R1 only gives you espers after you beat the game. (Go figure.) R2 starts you off with those Chocobocobco-something chicken thingies that can do damage to all enemies on the screen. Other espers still require beating the game.

Hope that fills in the gaps! And just go download R2. You'll be happy enough with it.



Corbs said:

Is that perhaps giving away too much of the content ahead of time for anyone?

Oh and I corrected the Nintendo Points #. Not sure why that was at 1000. Someone must have input it wrong when the game page was created awhile back.



Adamant said:

"All in all, I would've appreciated if a certain stance was taken towards the review. That is to say that the review should've been a bit more tailored to include newcomers. Instead, a lot of parts within the review are basically explaining things in a light that would assume that people are familiar with how the first one works, but what if someone isn't?"

Well, the review of the original is right here on the site. If newcomers aren't familiar with the original, all they have to do is read up on it.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

I got the game since this morning. Before I go into my thoughts on the game, it seems like my responses are needed.

  • "So I think I covered everything that really needed covering in the limited time I had to do it in."

Everything? No. Most of it Yes.

  • "I'm not writing an instruction manual...."

That doesn't mean that the review should suffer in accuracy and "needed information".

Don't even get me started on the Marble Saga review.... Lol.

@thewiirocks: I just saw all your info just now after having been playing it for quite some time. Thanks anyway... "Espers" only given at the end of the game? Why can't I help but laugh at that.

So anyway, back to more pressing matters. I'm loving the game. Really enjoying it. And a "bit more challenging" needs to be reworded for sure. This game is really challenging and as a fan of RTS games, I wholeheartedly welcome the challenge and the strategy involved in this game. I've been playing for over 3 hours and I'm still only on the 6th stage/area. I've been trying to beat that single area for over an hour!

So far, I'm really happy I took a chance with this and once again, I'm pleasantly surprised (I say again in comparison to other WiiWare titles I've jumped the gun on, if you will, and found to be well worth it). The game is getting a bit too much hate if you ask me and although I can see where "some" people are coming from, that's no reason to write this game off completely.

@Golgo: If you really wanna know what I think, it's good. In terms of quality, it's an 8. I was just being a bit hard on Corbie because I was hoping this review would help me decide to get the game as previously I kept second guessing myself. I wanna help him because honestly, I enjoy his reviews and he's certainly getting better at his reviewing skills. He's definitely one of my Top 5 reviewers here on NL, as surprising as that may sound. Oh, and for doing this review last minute, he did a great job. So... now am I in the clear? Lol.



Sockapal said:

@Thewiirocks: I just got R2 and not R1, but do not have the "chocobo" esper to begin with, am I missing something? Or, will I need to get R1 to use it?



KnucklesSonic8 said:

@Sockapal: thewiirocks specifically said you need to beat the game to get them.
How do you like R1? Is R1 worth getting even though you got R2, in your opinion?

Just how much stronger is R2 over R1, anyway? Because now I'm contemplating getting R1 after having enjoyed myself so much thus far! Having said that, if I do decide to go through with it, then I should stop playing R2 for now (which won't be a big problem anyway since I'm stuck).

My mind's been re-adjusted a bit and the fact that the game is split into 3 games doesn't bother me too much. After all, people are willing to pay 2,000 for SIGE anyway.



Corbs said:

Hey Knuckles, what site is it that you review for? I must have forgotten.



thewiirocks said:

@KnucklesSonic8 - No, I did say that the chocobo thingy should be available at the beginning of R2. The rest of the espers are only if you beat the game.

Hmm... maybe you get the chocobo if you have beaten R1 already? Dunno. Let me know if you figure out how to get it. (Just so I can get it straight in my head. Espers are not very useful IMHO.)



KnucklesSonic8 said:

Lol, Corbie. I hope your last comment from a couple days ago about you messing with me still applies. Like I said before, good review. Handled much more professionally than IGN's rushed reviews and I say that because you seem to have gotten this last minute. And does the fact that you're one of my favourite reviewers mean nothing to you? Also be thankful that my comments aren't of the same nature as AlexSays.

@thewiirocks: Oh. That's odd because I didn't notice anything of that nature playing R2 today. I'm on the sixth level. Also, did you see my above comment? I'm considering maybe getting R1 also. What do you think?



Corbs said:

No knuckles I was being serious. I thought you wrote for some other site. Or did you used to? Maybe I have you confused with someone else. And you really don't have to worry about offending me Knuckles. I'm not kidding when I speak of my inflated ego. It's a big one.

I just like to have a good time and poke fun at myself with the readers. Good comments or bad, I like 'em all. I've never taken myself too seriously and I hope others don't as well.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

@Corbie: I have written for sites, yes, but I have written reviews for myself also. I'm actually getting back into reviewing. My reviews starting out weren't so good... Looking back, I've definitely improved at it but it requires constant attention, don't you agree?



Corbs said:

You bet. I was looking over some review I did 10 years ago and by today's comparison they're awful. Absolutely awful. For some reason I thought you wrote for a web site regularly. I wonder who it is I'm thinking of.



thewiirocks said:

@KnucklesSonic8 - Unless you absolutely must have more Tower Defense, I don't recommend going backwards. R1 is the same games as R2, but with less stuff and fewer challenges. Which means that you're bound to be disappointed.

However, I am a more casual player. The hardcore completionists have stated that there's a lot of fun in trying to get Perfect on every level and drive up your score on the crown levels. So if you're totally hardcore about it, maybe. Otherwise don't bother.



Corbs said:

I was surprised at how much more I liked the WiiWare version of the game as opposed to the XBLA release. I didn't like the constant wave after wave game play the XBLA game used. I liked it broken apart in more sections like the WiiWare version. And the actual play control felt a bit more responsive and user-friendly on the WiiWare version.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

@Corbie: I think I know what you're referring to... As for your reaction the XBLA release, don't forget the smooth framerate in the WiiWare version.

@thewiirocks: I am a completionist, yes. Less stuff, hm? So the game's significantly shorter than R2? It's not the same amount of levels? Would you say it's "easy"? If it is, then I probably won't bother.

My response towards R2 has me excited for R3 now.



Corbs said:

Good catch Knuckles. I did notice the jumpy framerate on the XBLA version when there were a lot of enemies and units onscreen at once. The WiiWare version was surprisingly good. I would have liked them packaged together, or at the very least paying 800 points for the first and then like maybe 200 or 300 points for each additional part. But maybe that's being a bit too nitpicky.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

Well it IS Square-Enix, after all. What'd you expect?
I would've loved it if they did that but alas, that's not the case.
Did you enjoy R1, Corbie?



Corbs said:

I made the mistake of playing R2 first and then stopping and going back to R1 for a couple of hours. It seemed a bit easy after playing R2 for awhile. Maybe that was my mistake. But I still enjoyed it and I'll likely go back play the rest of the way through R1 when I get a chance.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

Hmmm. Interesting. Because I am thinking of not moving forward in R2 (I'm stuck anyway!) and getting R1, and playing through that - I just wish I had like 600 more points. Admittedly, R2 is really challenging.



Corbs said:

You should get R1 if you liked R2. R2 was tough in later waves. While you'll roll through the first two areas of R1, it does pick up a bit later on.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

Ah, okay, thank you for saying so. I really love R2 so far and it's for that reason that I considered R1 even though I was still a bit apprehensive about going back when I had previously said I'd skip it entirely. When I get more points, I'll pick up R1. Thanks. Didn't mean to take up a lot of comments though. And being the completionist that I am, I can see where I'd draw replay value even from the first one. I'll stop playing R2 for the time being (must... fight.. urge) until I get R1. Thanks again for your input.



stratocastx said:

@KS8: I'm glad you're enjoying R2. I can't imagine I'd do well at all in R2 without having finally finished R1...and as Corbie said, don't be put off by the easy difficulty at the beginning. It'll definitely take you some time to perfect the later stages.

Also, is R3 being released? Or is R2 the end of the series?



KnucklesSonic8 said:

@strato: As far as I know, R3 is coming. Thanks for your thoughts also. And yeah, I doubt I'd be "put off" by the earlier stages. I'd be motivated to see the whole thing through.



Slapshot said:

Seeing as this is on the iphone I hope it makes its way to the dsi real soon.



Burn said:

I'm really split wether to download it or not. I Enjoyed R1, but was upset about its length and (lack of) difficulty. 800 is a kinda 'spensive for more or less the same game ._.



CanisWolfred said:

Meh, I'll just save 6 bucks and get the XBLA version, unless a better tower Defense game comes out(and I think one just got announced, too).




if you aren't sure you'd like this kind of game.. just play protector 3 (free)



KnucklesSonic8 said:

After getting far in the game I now realize that there's no mention of the ability to change the Difficulty which seems to have been absent from the first one. This adds to the Replay Value, aiming for scores on Easy and Normal, plus, there could potentially be a Hard mode as well. Both Easy and Normal scores are tracked separately online.

@Burn: This one is quite difficult to me. Again, keeping in mind what I just said above about the Easy/Normal difficulties. Normal is pretty/really tough.



SKTTR said:

R1 and R2 are the same length (13 stages). R2 is more challenging. Level design and more units/gemstones make for some deep strategy. And if that isn't difficult enough R2 has an additional difficulty in the options menu.

I have beaten all 13 stages of R1 with a perfect score in a week.
R2 is much harder, and I'm still stuck on stage 11 on the easy difficulty.

R1 is just easier and R2 is just harder. You could say it's one for the casuals and one for the hardcores. In the end, gameplaywise both games are the same.

Some strategic defense games were definately needed on WiiWare.
I give 'em both a fair 7.5/10.



Kadaj said:


I was going to buy Water Warfare next. I just bought MLAAK, Dark Lord and Dr. Mario Online RX, and thought WW would make for a good action experience, but after seeing this...I gotta go where Squeenix goes I'ma download R1 tonight, and once I'm done grab R2.

Gah...so many games, so little points.

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