PLATFORM: ANDROID, iOS, PS4, SWITCH (REVIEWED) | RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 27TH
Originally released in 2003, Crystal Chronicles is a spinoff from the Final Fantasy games where players are cast as adventurers in charge of collecting myrrh, an essential fuel that powers mystical crystals which protect the land from a mysterious toxic miasma. After choosing from one of four distinct tribes and setting up your character, you'll move through various areas filled with monsters and puzzles that need to be dealt with before you can locate the much sought-after myrrh trees. Real-time combat (there's none of the usual Final Fantasy turn-based stuff) allows players to perform basic single-button attacks and combos, defend against incoming damage and cast magic spells which can be fused together to create stronger attacks.
This remaster includes some brand new content in the form of high-difficulty dungeons that are unlocked after completing the main game, as well as new items to play with, re-recorded music, new voiceovers and, in a very welcome touch, cross-play which enables owners of the game on different platforms to head off on adventures together.
Despite the extra bells and whistles, Crystal Chronicles is showing its age a bit. Combat, environments and character designs are quite dated by today's standards, and playing alone can be a tough and frustrating experience. Joining up with friends makes things more enjoyable, but even then there are some pretty big drawbacks – you can only join friends who are in the same in-game area as yourself, communication with other players and even progression within the game itself are handled in bizarrely cumbersome ways, and the omission of local co-op (strictly online only) means you won't be gathering your pals around the TV for a fun all-nighter. Some strange decisions that go against the game's multiplayer focus mean that Crystal Chronicles Remastered might be best recommended only to those with a strong affinity with the original Gamecube release...