Artwork for the second game in the series illustrating various jobs available.
Crystal Defenders (クリスタル・ディフェンダーズ Kurisutaru Difendāzu?) is a series of turn-based strategy video games developed by MSF/Winds and published by Square Enix. It comprises several iterations released for mobile phones and through online video game delivery services. The games are set in the fictional world of Ivalice and features job classes, monsters and summoned creatures from the tactical role-playing game Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift.
The game was initially released as Crystal Guardians (クリスタル ガーディアンズ Kurisutaru Gādianzu?) into three separate chapters for i-mode, Yahoo! Keitai, and EZWeb. The chapters were compiled and released onto iOS under the new name, Crystal Defenders. This version was also ported onto Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation 3, WiiWare, PlayStation Portable and Android. The game had received mostly mixed reviews.
A sequel titled Crystal Defenders: Vanguard Storm was released onto iOS offering new gameplay mechanics.
All Crystal Defenders titles were removed from the Apple App Store on May 31, 2016. In July 2016 it became playable on Xbox One through backwards compatibility.
Crystal Defenders stages consist a top-down view of a maze showing the path that monsters will be traveling. Stages are played in 31 waves (or levels) of enemies that enter the maze and walk along the pathway towards the goal. The goal of the game is to protect the crystals from enemies by strategically placing troops of various jobs alongside the pathway to defeat the enemies and preventing them to leave the map. If the enemies manage to escape with 20 crystals, the game is over. Players can also summon Espers at the cost of some crystals to either cause damage to all enemies on screen or give status ailments to all characters. The game was originally known as Crystal Guardians and released into three separate chapters W1, W2, and W3. W1 chapter starts off with the Soldier, Time Mage, Archer, Thieves, Black Mage, and White Monk jobs. W2 introduces the Berserker and Dragoon jobs and adds "crystal power" element to increase the power and speed of the player's characters. W3 introduces the Fencer, Flintlock, and Tinker jobs however removes the Soldier and Archer jobs previously introduced in W1.
The Wii version is divided into R1 and R2 chapters and offers a new ranking system via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, however R1 chapter offers less characters than the initial Crystal Defenders in order to be easier for first time players to learn the mechanics. R1 contains the same jobs introduced in Crystal Guardians W1 including the dragoon job introduced in W2. R2 contains the same jobs in Crystal Guardians W3 and offers crystals feature previously introduced in Crystal Guardians W2.
Crystal Guardians is the first iteration of the series and released in chapters of increasing challenges known as W1, W2, and W3. W1 was released for mobile phone in Japan on January 1, 2008 for i-mode, April 1, 2008 for Yahoo! Keitai and June 19, 2008 for EZWeb. Following chapters were released within a one-to-three months time.
The game was later released on December 23, 2008 in its complete form as Crystal Defenders for iOS worldwide. This version also received enhanced ports onto Xbox Live Arcade worldwide and PlayStation Store for PlayStation 3 in Japan simultaneously on March 11, 2009: The PlayStation 3 version was released in English on August 6, 2009. A new version was released on WiiWare on with different set of chapters known as R1 and R2. R1 was released in Japan on March 11, 2009; in North America on April 20, 2009; and in Europe on April 24, 2009. R2 was released in Japan on February 24, 2009; in North America on May 18, 2009; and in Europe on May 22, 2009. The game was also ported onto PlayStation Store for PlayStation Portable on October 29, 2009 and optimized for iPad on July 1, 2010. The game was released on Android on January 25, 2011, however only contains chapter W1 and W2.
Another version titled Crystal Defenders Plus (クリスタル・ディフェンダー ズ Plus Kurisutaru Difendāzu Purasu?) was released on iOS with W1 free and the rest of the chapters available as in-app purchases. A lite version is available on android in collaboration with Puzzles & Dragons and only offers the first map of W1. The game was also confirmed to have future updates of new maps. Both versions were released on February 20, 2013.
|Xbox Live Arcade||
|PlayStation Store (PS3)|
|PlayStation Store (PSP)||
|Crystal Defenders||58.21% (XBLA)
53.83% (PS3) 
Overall critical response to the series has been mixed, with some reviewers praising the gameplay and others criticizing the simplicity of the engine and high number of ports. The second game has a Metacritic score of 52 out of 100 for the Xbox Live Arcade version, 63 out of 100 for the PlayStation 3 version and 62 out of 100 for the WiiWare version. Sam Bishop of IGN gave the game 7.5 out of 10. Ryan Geddes however, criticized the Xbox Live Arcade version stating, "There is a ton of content here, with hundreds of stages to plow through, but I was bored and unimpressed in the first five minutes." Tom Mc Shea of GameSpot also criticized the game stating, "The charmless visuals and repetitive soundtrack quickly smother the hope that this will delight the senses, and the complete lack of story or any personality makes it even more difficult to become engrossed in these skirmishes." Connor Egan of Slide to Play gave it a 2 out of 4 stating, "The game nails the basic Tower Defense gameplay, and even tosses in some novel ideas, but the ungainly and amateurish controls damage the experience."
A sequel titled Crystal Defenders: Vanguard Storm (クリスタル・ディフェンダーズ ヴァンガード・ストーム Kurisutaru Difendāzu Vangādo Sutōm?) was released worldwide for iOS on May 13, 2009, and is the first Square Enix game to be designed especially for a touch-screen. In Crystal Defenders: Vanguard Storm the map is split into left and right side, each side in a 4x4 grid. The player must defend their position on the right side from monsters that are invading from the left. A new rock-paper-scissors element was added. Soldiers can attack ground troops, but can’t hit flying ones and are not effective against pudding enemies. The Archers can attack Ahriman enemies and Black Mages can hit pudding enemies. Players can restore health with White Mages, boost attack with Bishop, and Paladins that shield a line from advancing enemies.
Crystal Defenders: Vanguard Storm received mostly favorable reviews. Levi Buchanan of IGN gave it an 8 out of 10 praising the new fresh-take compared to its predecessor. Tracy Erickson of Pocket Gamer gave it a "silver" score stating, "Vanguard Storm achieves a fine balance with its tactical gameplay by keeping the elements simple without diminishing the level of difficulty." Torbjorn Kamblad of Touchgen gave it 2 out of 5 criticizing the lack of strategy and the amount of replayability.
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- Sam Bishop (August 13, 2009). "Crystal Defenders Review". IGN. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
- Ryan Geddes (March 11, 2009). "Crystal Defenders Review". IGN. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
- Tom Mc Shea (March 13, 2009). "Crystal Defenders Review". Gamespot. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
- Connor Egan (January 8, 2009). "Crystal Defenders Review". Slide to Play. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
- "CRYSTAL DEFENDERS VANGUARD STORM". Game Industry International. May 13, 2009. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
- "Crystal Defenders: Vanguard Storm Is Another Dose Of Final Fantasy Defense". Siliconera. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
- Levi Buchanan (May 13, 2009). "Crystal Defenders: Vanguard Storm Review". IGN. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
- Tracy Erickson (May 14, 2009). "Crystal Defenders: Vanguard Storm Review". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
- Torbjorn Kamblad (May 25, 2009). "Vanguard Storm Review". Touchgen. Retrieved September 17, 2013.