Gemdrops’s emotional JPRG find new life on the Nintendo Switch three years after its release
Developers Gemdrops, who are known for creating unique JPRGs are back with their emotional themed JPGR Crystar, which makes its debut on the Nintendo Switch.
Crystar’s plot follows the protagonist Rei Hatada, who along with her sister Mirai find themselves in Purgatory.
Souls in Purgatory wander endlessly until they reach the Cogs of Renewal which reincarnates them without their memories.
On the opposite side some souls who can’t let go of who they were, then become Revenants, monstrous beings who want to be revived.
While trying to find a way out of purgatory, the sisters are attacked by a Revenant, which leads to Rei awakening her hidden powers.
After defeating the Revenant, Rei accidentally kills her sister, sending her deeper into Purgatory.
Nippon Ichi Software)
In her moment of despair, the two managers of Purgatory arrive and make Rei a deal to collect Idea, a crystallised form of tears. In return, they will allow her sister’s revival, which Rei gladly accepts.
It’s great to see a JRPG that isn’t solely focused on a world-ending plot but rather the relationship between sisters.
It may be riddled with JRPG tropes but the empathetic narrative alongside its adequate pacing make for a great story.
Crystar has a dazzling aesthetic that looks like a bright gothic anime, with each of the main characters donning great designs with intercut details that help elevate their personalities.
The game has great enemies that sport malevolent designs, but they lack variety and players will see the same monsters reappearing throughout the game.
Crystar’s brazen designs extend to its level’s architecture which is filled with otherworldly structures and lavish neon colours.
Nippon Ichi Software)
Crystar’s alluring world is brimming with beautiful chaos, which allows for an original experience. There is just a bit too much repetitiveness throughout which does get frustrating, especially in the later levels.
The game has dual audio with both Japanese and English being available. The heartfelt voiceover performances for each character sound amazing during battles and cutscenes.
Crystar is an action JRPG that sees players battle enemies in hack and slash style combat.
Players will be able to swap between one of four characters on the fly, with each offering a different playstyle.
Each of the girls will also have their own health gauge which will refill when they aren’t active.
Players will be able to chain together light and strong attacks into combos which may seem basic, but the game adds an extra layer of strategy with the Tear gauge.
Nippon Ichi Software)
Once your Tear gauge reaches max through attacking, the characters will be able to cry unleashing their Guardian.
Guardians will allow the characters to unleash special abilities and a super attack, which not only looks fantastic but causes serious damage.
Crystar also features a unique system that works when Rei defeats a glowing enemy and receives their cries, which will torment her.
Once Rei finishes a mission she can purify herself from these Torments by crying, turning them into Sentiments which are equitable weapons.
These weapons can then be upgraded using Harmonia and Metanoia systems. The system of turning tears into strength is very unique and works well.
There isn’t any exploration of any kind and the maze-like levels become really repetitive, with previous rooms being used over and over.
Outside of exploring dungeons, Rei will be able to chill in her room taking part in activities like listening to music, interacting with other characters on her phone or reading Memoirs of the Dead.
It’s fair to say that there aren’t many emotionally driven games like Crystar on the market, and it excels in creating a heartfelt experience from start to finish.
The battle mechanics and gameplay systems have been tailored well to keep in tune with the game’s themes.
For its relatively short duration, there is an admiral amount of content that will see the completionist looking to finish the memoirs of the dead.
However, Crystar can feel really repetitive with its constant reuse of reskinned enemies and level designs which can be frustrating at times.
Crystar is already out for PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows, it will be released on the Nintendo Switch on 29 March