Final Fantasy: Crystal Defenders for iPhone Review

By on August 14, 2011

A cooking pot of Final Fantasy and Tower Defense games.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

Now if you are like the rest of the world’s gamers, you can Instantly recognize the name Final Fantasy, and to this day that means instant recognition, excitement, reason to buy, and sales for SquareEnix obviously.

So what have they done here? The premise of the game is simple, there are several sets of maps that you can play on, separated into three categories, namely W1, W2, and W3. W1 maps are for all intents and purposes, easy maps that a person should use to get themselves familiar with the character classes, which we’ll get into, and how the game mechanics work. W2 maps are a little more difficult which we can dub medium difficulty maps to challenge what you know, and W3 maps are expert maps for those who just want punishment. Seriously, that’s how I would describe it, now we all know that some titles that have come out of Japan are absolutely ridiculous on the difficulty scale and one cannot imagine how a normal human being could subject themselves to such torture. Ninja Gaiden comes to mind; while the W1 maps in this game are supposed to be easy, I shall have you know, it took this reviewer over 10 tries at least to get past 20 waves of enemies. As soon as the 21st wave arrived, I was left utterly destroyed and overpowered.

Now I know that I may not be the best, or you might think I didn’t try hard enough and perhaps you are right. I still will play this title from time to time to get past that 21st wave only on the first map itself. There are 4 maps to play through per difficulty level, some are variations but will provide interesting challenges as enemies can take different or even multiple paths across to steal your crystals. Thinking ahead, utilizing choke points and using your available characters effectively is absolutely key to get ahead. You must decide which characters you are going to level up with your money and which characters are essentially cannon fodder to keep hitting on those enemies that have a lot of HP or are too fast to knock down in the beginning.

The game interface is well suited to the touch screen when compared to the console version of the game, as a matter of fact the console version is very clunky and frustrating by comparison. By simply dragging the character onto the desired spot, and tapping to level up your character is perhaps the best way to experience this game at all. Another point to make is that the nature of the graphics makes this even more obvious, while it doesn’t look bad on the consoles, 8bit characters blown up on a large screen just doesn’t do the game justice. On the iPhone screen however, it looks crisp and tidy.

Music has always been a great cornerstone for any game released by SquareEnix, and Crystal Defenders is no exception. Truth be told if you can, try to hear for yourself by downloading and trying out the demo via PSN or XBLA, use your headphones if you can when playing it on your iOS device for the best experience.

Although the game has been available for a long time, it is one of the few titles that has embraced the new features that are available for every subsequent generation that the game has been released on. This also includes Game Center integration with a handful of achievements to be had, some of them are downright impossible to achieve, which means plenty of stuff to keep you achievement hunters busy.

The Scorecard
Addicting, if you are into tower defense, and following Final Fantasy roots, is pretty easy to get into and hard to let go of.
It isn’t the best game graphically, but it isn’t bad to look at it. It doesn’t need to be 3d like Final Fantasy III or previous iterations have been, but it isn’t utilizing the capacity of the current iOS devices.
Anyone remember playing Final Fantasy Tactics? That’s the soundtrack that we have here basically, and it sounds great!
It does cost 7.99 which might seem a little hefty considering how long it’s been around, but it does have Game Center integration which should keep you coming back for more. There are plenty of Gamecenter achievements to be had.
Yes it’s a siege tower game, but when was the last time a siege tower game wasn’t fun? It’s just got the Final Fantasy flair added to it.
It’s worth trying out even though it’s a siege defense game like a million others, but I wouldn’t worry about it if you don’t get a chance to try it out. Play the demo if possible to get an idea of what it’s like.
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