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Crystal Defenders R1

Posted by Tracy Poff on May 25, 2012

Well, it’s been more than a year since I posted here–not because I’ve stopped writing, but because I’ve not yet managed to finish any posts to my satisfaction. I’ve been writing some fairly in-depth, multi-post reviews of several games, but since I didn’t want to publish any of the individual posts until they were all complete, in case revision was necessary. As a result, no posts for a year. Well, let’s change that.

I recently completed Crystal Defenders R1 for the Wii, a Final Fantasy-themed tower defense game by Square Enix, released 20 April 2009 in North America.

Crystal Defenders R1 is grid-based, and the enemies move along a fixed path, while your units are placed elsewhere on the screen. There are a variety of units available–soldiers, archers, black mages, and others–each with their own strengths and weaknesses. For example, soldiers are very strong, but have limited range and cannot attack air targets. Some enemies may be resistant or immune to physical or magical damage, so black mages or archers, respectively, may be needed to deal with them.

Each area in the game contains two stages, with the same map, but different waves of enemies. Each time a stage is played, though, the waves are the same, so it is possible to learn what enemies will come, then play a stage over, in order to use resources more efficiently, and maximize the score.

As is usual for a tower defense game, the units cost money to place, which money is earned by destroying enemies and surviving waves. Units can also be upgraded to do more damage or have greater range.

Early in the game, resources are quite tight, so it’s necessary to be as efficient as possible with unit placement and upgrades, in order to survive. Here, a criticism: it is more efficient to build a bunch of level 2 units, rather than upgrade the ones you have, so the winning strategy, early on, is to place a dozen or more level 2 soldiers and archers, and just let them take care of everything while the money rolls in. You can always upgrade a few or just place more with all the money you save by not upgrading units.

Worse, though, is that late in the game, the rogue becomes available. These allow you to gain extra money from destroying enemies, if they’re in range. Once rogues show up, the new best strategy becomes to spend as little on units as you can manage, until you’ve upgraded your rogue completely, then just kill everything immediately by upgrading things with the thousands of spare gil you’ll have. Resources become a non-issue, and all you really have to worry about is whether you’re placing the units efficiently in terms of space–not a big worry.

Basically, Crystal Defenders R1 is a very standard, and fairly easy, tower defense game. Getting a perfect on every stage may require more than one try (particularly the final stage, unlocked by getting perfects on each previous stage), but shouldn’t prove very challenging for anyone familiar with tower defense games. It’s fun, and you may get a few hours of play out of it, but I’m not sure it’s really worth the 800 Wii Points, considering how many excellent free tower defense games there are.

I’ve included the Japanese trailer for the game below–there is a trailer in English, too, but it’s not nearly as cool, and anyway the words aren’t terribly important.

Posted in 2009, Full Review, Good, Tower Defense, Wii | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »