Remember Pokémon? It’s a little-known, obscure franchise about capturing, raising and battling collectible monsters. You probably haven’t played it, but trust me, it’s worth checking out sometime. Until you do, though, you’d be well-served by playing Coromon, a suspiciously similar RPG from TRAGSoft that’s all about…capturing, raising and battling collectible monsters. Nothing litigious or copyright-infringing about any of that. Funny how that works.
You want to go on an exciting monster-catching adventure? Well, tough Pokéballs, you’ve got to get a job! That’s the bad news. The good news is that you’ve got a job with the Lux Solis company, meaning you’re actually employed to go on an actual monster-catching adventure! As a Battle Researcher, it’s your job to investigate the mysterious properties of Coromon and use them to keep the world safe from evil. It’s all in a day’s work. Grab your lava-spewing turtle, ice-cold polar bear or chompy shark and let’s get going.
In Coromon, we’ve obviously got an effort at playing to Pokémon nostalgia while making some updates where it’d be useful. Some of these changes are fantastic. For instance, curative items are readily available and you’re encouraged to use them, meaning you don’t have to spend too much time trekking back to town for healing if you’d rather not. There are minigames here and there to break up the catching and battling experience, though this may or may not be a good thing depending on the player.
Perhaps most enjoyably, there’s now a new tier of rarity for each monster – Pokémon has normal creatures as well as extremely rare shiny variants, and Coromon introduces a sort of semi-shiny tier with a unique look. These Potent Coromon are slightly more powerful than their standard cousins, but slightly less powerful than the much rarer Perfect variety, and they offer some Milestone currency when captured that can be used to obtain rare items. This injects a little more excitement into grinding, since it’s always beneficial to catch a Potent Coromon and they make great team members besides.
Coromon does fall into a few of the traps that modern Pokémon clones seem to have trouble avoiding, though. The SP system, similar to that found in Temtem, tends to encourage slower-paced play and turn-skipping. There’s no dual-type Coromon, which makes type matchups a little too straightforward even with Coromon’s unique move-only typings taken into consideration.
There’s also by and large a lack of variety in the Coromon available in each area and obvious choices as to how to deal with boss battles. This is less of an issue later on, but it does leave one longing for the days of modern Pokémon where you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to filling your team.
From a presentation perspective, Coromon’s aiming for something along the lines of the GBA Pokémon games and it nails this aesthetic. The Coromon designs are nice and varied, environments are colorful, there’s a lot of dynamic animation…Coromon doesn’t leave a lot to complain about from a graphical perspective. Likewise, sound design is great, particularly the unique cries for each monster.
One thing worth noting: while I’ve seen some concern about the game’s technical issues, I never encountered any of these during my playthrough, so your experience may vary.
Coromon isn’t the perfect monster-raising game – that’d be Pokémon Emerald, for the record. Still, perfection shouldn’t be the enemy of the good, and Coromon is a pretty solid monster-taming experience, especially for those who aren’t firmly entrenched in Nintendo Land. Even still, fans of the genre have nothing to lose by giving this blend of monster collecting a shot.