|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game|
Crystal Monsters, originally released in Japan in 2008 as Monster Chronicles for mobile phones, is a role-playing video game developed by Gameloft for Nintendo DSiWare. The game was released in PAL regions on July 30, 2010 and in North America on July 26, 2010. It can be downloaded from the Nintendo DSi Shop for 500 DSi Points.
The gameplay of Crystal Monsters involves the capture and training of a variety of creatures called monsters. Monsters can learn up to four moves called skills. Just like in most RPGs, monsters are able to gain experience points and level up after battles, making them stronger.
Essence Cores of each monster type are used to capture specific wild monsters, though they may break free at times. The less HP the monster has, the greater the percentage chances. The higher the level of a monster, the easier it will be to capture (e.g. a LV30 Tadpolaris will make catching a LV22 Tweetmare Plus much easier). You can't capture a trainer's monster, boss or mid-boss. Evolution Stones can be used to evolve most monsters. Upon evolving, monsters learn additional skills and gain higher stats. There are two stages of evolution: Plus and Mega. They can occur after a monster reaches a certain level.
Crystal Monsters uses a turn-based system. When you encounter a wild monster or challenge a trainer, the screen changes to a battle scene with the opposing monsters and an option menu. You may have up to three monsters on your team. You can attack, pass to the next monster on the team, use an item or flee the fight.
Most of the battles you'll face will be random battles with wild monsters, as there is a low number of trainers, bosses and mid-bosses in this game. Wild monsters can be found in routes, dungeons, sidequests, etc. The encounter rate is inconsistent, though, as monsters may appear often or pop up only rarely.
If a team member faints, it will be removed from the team and put in storage. In battles with trainers, mid-bosses or bosses, you'll lose and get a Game Over if you have no usable monsters left on your team. However, in fights with random wild monsters, if you have other monsters left in storage, the strongest one will be added to your team and you won't get a Game Over.
There are 9 types of monsters: Animal, Fire, Water, Plant, Wind, Rock, Spirit, Dark, and Light. Similar to Pokemon, you can inflict more damage by attacking with a skill that has the specific type which a monster is vulnerable to. Skills that are weak against certain types of monsters will have little effect.
Since the game doesn't tell you if your attack skills are super effective or not very effective, it's important to know the following points:
- Animal-type skills work well on most types of monsters, but aren't very effective against Spirit-type monsters.
- Plant-type skills are super effective against Rock-type monsters.
- Light and Dark-types are super effective against each other.
- Wind-type skills are super effective against Plant-type monsters.
- Plant-type monsters are resistant to Light-type skills.
- Rock and Plant-type skills are super effective against Fire-type monsters.
- Fire and Plant-type skills are super effective against Water-type monsters.
- Fire-type skills are super effective against Wind-type monsters.
- Wind-type skills are super effective against Spirit-type monsters.
Monsters can be bred by Clint in Herbage. Breeding requires one male and one female monster (Note: The parent monsters disappear after breeding). Breeding makes the game much easier, as the child can inherit stats and skills from his/her parents (similar to Dragon Warrior Monsters). For example, a Kiticon that was created through breeding a female LV40 Felistrype and male LV10 Batocurse will have much higher stats and more skills than a monster found in the wild. Breeding is also the only way to acquire certain monsters such as the starters.
Setting and plot
The player controls the protagonist from an overhead perspective and navigates him around a fictional world called Earth with the goal of becoming the greatest trainer. There are two kinds of people in this world: those who can see monsters (called Neo-Seeds) and those who can't (Pure-Breeds). This game features a total of 9 towns, along with different terrains, such as routes, dungeons, etc. The protagonist is a young boy who lives in Dicot. He has a dream of being given a choice of one of 3 different starter monsters by his friend Bishop: A Fire-type (Kiticon), Water-type (Tadpolaris) or Plant-type (Flowerpower). After waking up in school and realising it was all a dream, he goes outside and sees a bully named Rudiger steal Bishop's Essence Core. He confronts Rudiger at the Ruins and gets Bishop's EC back, receiving the same starter monster that he chose in the dream. He discovers that he is a Neo-Seed and soon finds himself embarking on a quest throughout the Earth to stop two different enemies: Final Monsters (the bosses of all monsters) and Pure-Faction, a political party that wants to segregate Pure-Breeds and Neo-Seeds. The game can't be saved after being beaten so once the game is beaten, the player will restart at the last save point.
Marcel van Duyn of Nintendo Life said "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." 
KnucklesSonic8 of Wiiloveit said "In summary, I'm not sure I'd call Crystal Monsters a rip-off exactly, and even still, what do you expect for only $5? It's a decent romp that RPG fans should enjoy, as surprisingly as that may sound. There's not a whole lot of depth here, and there's a significant number of flaws that prevent this from being a good game. But Crystal Monsters can be fun to play if you don't take it too seriously."
A second game, Monster Chronicles 2, was released for mobile phones in Japan in 2009. The game was not released in North America nor Europe. It features an all-new story, new monsters and a multiplayer mode.