Crystal Monsters (DSiWare)

Game Review

Crystal Monsters Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

You don't want these monsters in your pocket, but they're still fun to have around

It's usually clear within the first few minutes of playing a new Gameloft game which franchise it's been "inspired" by. Not breaking tradition, the same holds true here, with Gameloft's latest bearing a very strong resemblance to none other than the Pokémon series. Yet another port of a mobile phone game, this one was strangely only originally released in Japan, for some reason.

You take the role of a student at a school that teaches pupils about the game's titular monsters. Although it seems like this is all they teach at the school, which also seems to be the only school there is, anybody can attend, despite most people not even being able to see, let alone own and train monsters. You quickly discover that you somehow simply had not unlocked your potential just yet, and you quickly get to choose one of three monsters to own yourself.

After that it's just one similarity after the other. You travel from town to town, going through dungeons and tournaments to become the best trainer by fighting monsters, and there's breeding and more. As you can probably guess, just like in Pokémon, if a monster if sufficiently weakened in battle, you can then attempt to catch it (by rapidly button mashing, annoyingly enough) and use it for yourself, as well. Although you seem to be able to have as many monsters as you want, only up to three of them can be active in battle. In a small twist, each of them gets to attack once per turn, rather than only actually using one at a time.

As opposed to the series it's quite clearly based on, most of your battles do not come in the form of other trainers. There are practically none, in fact, and you'll be gaining most of your experience by fighting wild monsters in dungeons, which have a chance of appearing with every step you take.

The combat itself is pretty familiar as well – your monsters tend to start off with one generic attack (Bash, Bite and the like) and one special attack, which requires a few special points to use. With almost every attack, you'll be treated to some always-exciting action commands, where pressing the button at the right time will deliver additional hits and deal extra damage.

Each monster is also of a certain element or type, so you can expect water-based monsters to deal a lot of damage to fire creatures, for example. As they level up, they'll gain additional moves, and you can also eventually let them evolve, which doesn't really do anything other than make them a slightly different colour and add "Plus" to their name, to boost their attack and defence.

The game's controls out of battle are quite awkward and unresponsive – there seems to be a delay between you pushing the button and your character actually moving, and it's even worse when attempting to move diagonally. Thankfully there are touchscreen controls as well, but even though they're slightly better you'll still find yourself having issues getting your character to do things. Interacting with NPCs or opening chests for example might take several taps before succeeding, because you have to be really, really precise.

The graphics and music are your typical Gameloft fare: technically nice-looking and sounding, but pretty dull overall. The music especially might get on your nerves, as there's only a few tracks, which means they'll be played very often.


Although it might be almost sickening to Pokémon fans to see how similar this is to their beloved franchise, we can't really be too critical of it. It's only 500 DSi Points (300 less than most Gameloft games), and for what it is, it's actually quite a decent, if simple, imitation.

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User Comments (42)



noname875 said:

soulsilver is enough for me, but this definitely looks like a decent rip-off.



Gogata said:

A better rip off than the new horrible YouTube rip off I'd say, looks like a nice game.



lOnE-WolF said:

Honestly, I have to say it's a good game for the 500 points. Nowhere near the level of design of Pokeman, but definately worth downloading as opposed to the myriad of shovelware from the service's beginning, and the 10,000th puzzle game.

All in all, it only needs some polish, really.



Fliptocat said:

I'd have given it an 8. The only thing that really ticked me off were the D-pad controls. I liked the ability to pass a turn when you didn't need to waste your moves.



zionich said:

I just cant get into my Pokomon Soul Silver, just not my type of rpg i guess, so I dont see me getting this either.



Birdman said:

If I get bored of DQIX before the release of Black/White, I may get this.



mecoy said:

wait so
soul of darkness = castlevania
crystal monsters= pokemon
so that means
Arc Style: Everyday Football=madden
i like this system



ShinRPGGamer said:

I might get this before i go to California on monday. Looks good considering it's from gameloft




I dont buy Gameloft games as they are all rip offs of a popular franchise. They have nothing original up their sleeves. Just cheap copies.



Bankai said:

Still yet to be impressed with a Gameloft game. Soul of Darkess almost got close to reasonable, but ultimately is was the same cheap style of gameloft - mobile phone production values, a story that a 10 year old could do better, generic music and stupid camera integration.

You're better off spending a bit more money and getting Pokemon. It's like comparing Nestle chocolate to the work of a French Choclatier.



WolfRamHeart said:

Soul of Darkness was a decent game, not great but decent. This game sounds okay but I'm not in any rush to get it. Maybe if I have 500 points left over and nothing to buy then I will consider downloading it.



grumblegrumble said:

You people really need to get off your Gameloft bashing bandwagon. I think Gameloft have released some awesome games... Soul of Darkness and UNO come to mind. Anyhow, this game looks pretty well done... I love the review and I think other readers on here should not be jaded by all the Gameloft haters. They are a great company who have brought some great games to the masses. Cheers!



Tate24 said:

doesn't look that bad! plus hear you mix monsters together create brand new version of them!



moomoo123 said:

its a great game and it gives a great twist to pokemon. not only that but its a great way to spend the time til bllack and white comes out if you are bored of playin dppthgss



Bankai said:

grumblegrumble - name me one Gameloft game that is superior in any way to the games it rips off.

People get upset when they're sold a fake pair of Nike shoes (for the boys) or French fragrance (if you're a woman). Yet somehow Gameloft gets away with doing the exact same thing to videogames.



Akirih said:

I'm looking forward to get this after I buy a points card

@ WaltzElf - Well the rip offs may not be better, but i find Soul of Darkness more enjoyable than Castlevania >.<



Shane904 said:

I enjoy this. Nice differences from Pokemon that they do have. The combo meter sometimes has me poke the screen way to hard with the stylus though xD



GumbyX84 said:

@WaltzElf I don't agree with your analogy. People get pissed off when being sold rip-offs because they end up paying near full price for it. While Gameloft's games aren't original, they are not sold at retail price. $5 sounds OK for a game like this. Personally, I like the changes to the combat system they made. Maybe Nintendo could take a page from Gameloft and make some real updates to the Pokemon formula.



Bankai said:

You guys realise the combo thing doesn't actually work, right? It says "tap the screen/ press A when the arrow is in the yellow section of the circle," but you can tap the screen/ press A before the arrow even reaches the yellow section, and the combo will still work.

The monsters have no personality or charm (which was the major selling point of pokemon), the story is lame (like all Gameloft games), and the game does a shocking job of helping you find the next place you want to visit.

It's one of the better Gameloft games, but you're better off saving the money towards a real Pokemon or Dragon Quest Monsters game.



armoredghor said:

Forgive me loyalists
@waltzelf the circle timing is meant to do critical hits if you hit it directly in the center, charm is relative, and nintendo has used the plot of an evil team/ 8 badges/elite 4 for the last 4 generations



goo922 said:

good game a must get.i got it and its amazing

gameloft games are amazing



Pokeman said:

Man, this game is awesome, but not as awesome as pokemon, well maybe their a little even but the result, a copy of pokemon but sassier. Make a sequal!!!



xxx_Kirby_xxx said:

Hmm. May get this. Just worried about those control problems, as I do get frustrated easily with those kinds of things. I do love Pokemon, though. IGN gave this a really bad score, I think it was IGN, and yet this score's really good. Hrm. I dunno.



evilcorgi said:

in the wise words of the Irate Gamer, "...if I hate this game,why am I still playing it?...". Five dollars for this game is like buying a stick (not a walking stick, just a stick) for $30. WORST 500 POINTS EVAR!!! (yes, with an A)



Greygnarl said:

It's a decent game.

True, Pokemon is better, but if there was a cartridge for this game, it would be a lot better.

P.S. I can't get the Final Lake Monster to appear



emirblade said:

The most redeming factor htis game has its that its difficult to spoil the creatures and one can be wowed with their designs. sadly their designs aren't that wow worthy.



UltimateMetroid said:

this game is really good, controls are a bit off, but it shouldn't be put down because of pokemon games. Games shouldn't be reveiwed off of other games. thats why it is called crystal monsters game reveiw. not crystal monsters game reveiwed against pokemon! geez peeple...



Squashie said:

I struggle to get into RPGs such as Dragon Quest IX, whereas I completed Pokemon Soul Silver. So I like the look of this one. I'll be getting it.



SkywardLink98 said:

Hmm... I've never played a Pokemon game so instead of trying it out for $35 I think I'll get this one because it's only $5. And can you trade "Monsters" via wi-fi or local?



RabidPikachu said:

this game is the exact reason why I love pokemon so much. it's worse than demi-kids for the gba. At least demi-kids had two versons to trade demons between. This game as no way to compete against other players so whats the point. Plus it was too short a story (if you can call it that) and you cannot choose the protagonists gender or keep the mated monster parents so you end up killing two monsters which are very hard to catch for one. I'd say its not only the worst rpg, its the worst game you can buy.




I bought this a while back without reading a review first.... my mistake... I hate it.Such a bad pokemon clone, I haven't played much of it but one thing I love about pokemon is when they evolve, when my "crystal monster" evolved in this game he didn't look any different he looked exactly the same... meh. this game sucks. I REALLY wish I didn't buy it.

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