UPDATE: READ ON UNTIL THE END FOR OUR THOUGHTS ON THE SWITCH VERSION!
Coromon! Gotta cath ‘em aaaallll!!! When the groundbreaking monster catcher collectathon Pokemon was released to such smashing success, it was only natural that it would encourage others to follow suit with similar offerings, such as Bandai’s famous Tamagotchi and Digital Monster (the Tamagotchi-like precursor to the Digimon franchise) devices and videogames titles like Monster Rancher and its ensuing cartoon. When Nintendo and Game Freak unleashed Pocket Monsters Red/Green on Japan (not to be confused with the iconic Canadian handyman Red Green), they also unknowingly unleashed a veritable monster: and I don’t mean Godzilla. Now an international phenomenon, the Pokemon franchise has inspired many others to throw their monster-catching hat into the ring, but is Coromon a cheap knock-off or a lovingly crafted homage to the greats? Find out next week on Player2Reviews Episode 29: Coromon Review! Spring Time of Lovely Gaming? Super Mystery!
...hold on, my editor-in-chief just informed me we don’t have a budget for a full-blown anime special so please continue scrolling for Coromon review.
In the world of Velua, there exists an organization called Lux Solis which is dedicated to the taming and study of Coromon: the name given to the various species of wildlife that inhabit the land. As the story opens up, our curious young protagonist (the naming and customization are up to you) is on his way to the Lux Solis campus to become a Battle Researcher. Upon your prompt hiring, you are given a high-tech gauntlet that enables you to collect data on Coromon you encounter and enables you to use special modules that you will come across during your journey across Velua. These special modules allow you to do things like move heavy objects or emit a stench that drives away wild Coromon for a short amount of time. You can’t use it often, though, since certain modules require a cooldown period before you can reuse them. Once you receive your gauntlet you will also get to choose a starter Coromon from three cool choices; Cubzero, Nibblegar, and Toruga. Cubzero is a cute little ice type that looks like a polar bear cub encased in a snowball, with only its head, arms, and legs barely sticking out. Toruga is your typical fire starter: it looks a lot like a red turtle with a volcanic rock-like shell that spurts flame occasionally. Nibblegar is a water-type Coromon that looks like a tiny Kaiju bipedal shark. I love them all but after quite a bit of procrastination, I went with Toruga because fire starters have been a long-time favorite of mine in the monster taming genre. To help compliment your choice you are also given a Patterbit and some spinners. Spinners are the device used to catch wild Coromon and they come in a variety of strengths and types.
The battling situation will be quite familiar to anyone who has played Pokemon. And let’s face it: if you’re playing this game then you damn well know you’ve played Pokemon before. I’ll explain it anyways, just in case you’ve been living under a rock...or in some tall grass. If you lock eyes with another battle researcher or walk in tall grass, then it’s game on! You can have up to six Coromon in your party at a time but the battles are one on one, for the most part. Occasionally you will run into Coromon hordes, which will force you into a battle where your single Coromon will have to take on multiple opponents at once. One big difference is that a Coromon’s skills do not have individual charges. Instead, each Coromon has a pool of skill points that all attacks draw from. The more powerful the attack, the more SP it uses. You can skip a Coromon’s turn to rest and restore half their SP or you can use a restorative cake item on them. You will also be able to find, purchase, and grow a variety of fruit to equip on your Coromon to give them extra benefits during battle, whether it is simply to recover HP when low on health or give a boost to your attack.
As you may have expected, all Coromon have one of seven element types, each with its own effectiveness versus the other elements. Fire trumps ice while water does double damage to fire, for example. In addition to the seven types assigned to the Coromon species themselves, there are another six types that are exclusive to skills. Some examples of this are cut, poison, and heavy-type abilities. These are different from the usual suspects so their strength and weakness matchups may take a little getting used to. There is a handy guide in the game you could check out whenever you want to brush up on it. Your Coromon can equip four learned skills at once but the best part is how you can change up these skills with the others you have learned at any time from your menu without the use of special items or NPCs.
Thanks to a few different systems in place, there are plenty of ways to set your Coromon apart from other trainers, even when they are the same species. This is where the power of potential comes in. There are three levels; standard, potent, and perfect. Not only are these visually distinguishable from one another, but their stats will also be better the higher the potential. Your team will gain experience and level up as they fight but there is also a potential bar that fills up alongside it. Once that potential bar tops up, you gain a handful of points to spend on any stat you please. I love the freedom this gives you to play around with different builds. Want your Toruga to unleash devastating fire attacks? Sink all your extra points into the special attack stat. If you would rather use the extra points to round out its weaknesses, you could do that too. If you ever feel like redoing your points, one of the trainer hubs has a special machine you could use to accomplish that. So theoretically speaking, if you and a rival trainer had the exact same team of Coromon, there could still be a sizeable difference in capabilities.
When you need to get your Coromon patched up after a tough journey, the Trainer Hubs found in each major city will be your one-stop destination for all things Coromon. In addition to healing your team, there are a few other useful things found there to help manage your growing Coromon collection. The computer allows you to change up your team by accessing your Coromon storage. If you head down to the basement, you’ll find a bunch of VR terminals that allow you to take on other players over the internet. There is supposed to be crossplay between the PC and Switch versions, but as the Switch version has been delayed, there is no way to confirm how well it works. Some hubs will have a special machine or two on the second floor that helps enhance your Coromon in a variety of ways. One example is a machine you leave your Coromon in for a bit of in-game time to enhance their potential. These services often cost a pretty penny to use so you don’t abuse them.
Instead of badges, there is something else to chase after...something deadlier. Six titans so powerfully attuned to the elements that they can control them directly are located around Velua. Appointed to the Titan Task Force, you are...well, tasked with traveling the four corners of the land to check on these mysterious beings and collect their essence before it decays. These bosses are really tough and have some nasty tricks up their sleeves. In addition to having a ton of hitpoints and strong attacks, some of their abilities can even affect Coromon that aren’t even deployed. On top of all that, you can’t deploy multiple Coromon at once, so you have to face these titans one on one, like usual. These climactic battles can be challenging and are a cool addition to normal battles. All in all, if you’re looking for something to scratch that monster-taming itch, Coromon is where it’s at. Far from being a soulless cash-grab of a clone, Coromon takes the formula of its predecessors and builds upon it, making an entertaining and enjoyable adventure that stands on its own two feet.
*A copy of the game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 8.5/10
+Cool and sizeable Coromon roster
+Vibrant color palette with great sprite work
+Vast world to explore
A NEW CHALLENGER HAS APPEARED! PLAYER 2 JON HARVEY HAS ENTERED THE GAME!
So you've just read Rich's thoughts on the PCs release but we were also given, a couple of months later, a Switch code as well. And so that's where I take over! Now like Rich, I'm quite a fan of the monster tamer genre, however, I have found myself being burnt out by the Pokémon franchise. Even Arceus or the Diamond/Pearl remakes didn't grab me. But Coromon did. So why is that? Well, it's partly the newness: that's certainly a factor. While it's certainly very familiar to a Pokémon player, Coromon instead of Pokémon, spinners instead of pokeballs, etc, it's just different enough in terminology to feel different. But that was it really, the thing that grabbed me? It's just how well damn done the whole thing is. If this WAS a Pokémon game, it would probably be one of the best of the top-down style experiences. Throughout the game, you have little side quests that pop up all over the place and these give you more to do in each area rather than just filling your "Pokédex", although you will be doing that too. There's this milestone system that rewards you with points for little things like "winning 5 fights" or "beating 10 trainers" or whatever. These points are used to get different items and you get them so regularly that you feel like you've accomplished something every few minutes. Even combat against already captured Coromon doesn't feel boring as you're always on the lookout for their version of "Shinys", the Potent and Perfect types. These show up WAY more often than their Poke equivalent, with even normal gameplay (no grinding) having me find a good few.
The environments too are fun to explore, things like the Push ability being used to solve little puzzles to block chests or secrets. Just normal searching in houses, cities, labs, and so on contains numerous discoveries to find including cash, potions, fruit, and more. So basically all the minute-to-minute stuff is extremely well done, with plenty to do that doesn't just involve filling out a gazillion entries on a collection list. This brings me to the amount of Coromon. You might think the lower number of them, just over a hundred, would be less interesting than the god-knows-how-many-we-have-now number of the later Pokémon games. However I found the opposite, the lower number let each one shine more and feel more useful and unique. They felt less like filler which was added just to get the number higher because "well it's a new game so gotta add more even if they're just useless", which I think Pokémon has PLENTY of. However, it's still just as complex too, despite those lower numbers. All the stats and min/max adjusting are still 100% a focus, when Coromon get enough experience you get a few points to upgrade their stats, allowing you to make a unique build for both the single player and the multiplayer online battling. You can get skill items that add otherwise "unnatural" moves to a monster's repertoire, giving you the ability to surprise opposing players. All the matching of abilities, class, and building a perfect team for any situation, is just as strong here as it could be so don't get the impression that this is a dumbed-down clone of a more popular game. It isn't. It's a love letter. It has all the features you'd expect of a Pokémon release but, quite frankly, it's just better done in every area. These indie devs have made their version of a very familiar and well-known franchise, and in my eyes, do it better than the owners of the IP. If you can't wait for the new Pokémon game in November or need something to tide you over and take that monster-taming monkey off your back, then Coromon is the way to go. Hell, if you have any interest in the tamer genre at all, then Coromon should be on your radar.
So now that my thoughts are out of the way, let's talk a little about how the game runs on Switch. And that'll be easy. It runs extremely well! The single player had not one crash, bug, slow down or freeze in my entire playthrough. The sprite-based graphics are excellent, just like on PC, and all the monster designs are well done and interesting. I admittedly didn't get much time with the online mode but the few matches I tried all worked really well. I got into matches quickly and there was no slowdown or disconnects to mar the experience. It runs beautifully and actually feels like a game from a bigger budget studio instead of a small indie developer. The sound and music are great, the story well done and the different locales each have their own theme. Not a single thing I'd criticize or describe as broken. Like I said earlier, it really could pass as a genuine Pokémon game and, if it was, it would be one of the best
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