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Let’s get this out of the way first. Coromon is Pokémon. From the structure and gameplay to the core mechanics. These are pretty much carbon copies of the ones seen in the games of the world’s most famous franchise. This isn’t bad by any means, however.
Please have in mind that this review was made after playing Coromon’s public demo. Some of the things mentioned may change as the game develops and hence be inaccurate over time.
A perfect base to build upon
It isn’t a secret that Pokémon has been in a rough spot as of lately. We’ve seen some pretty heavy controversies revolving around the series latest entry. A saga that has virtually no competition and has been using the same tropes and mechanics since 1996 is the perfect groundwork for improvement. Some players have already been searching for alternatives for a while. Myself included.
With that in mind, some indie developers have already taken the risk of trying to enhance the classic Pokémon experience. An example is the recently released to the public TemTem, an MMO approach to the formula that has been turning the entirety of the internet upside-down.
Coromon stands in a bit of a weird place, though. While the game certainly tries to build upon the classic Pokémon formula, it definitely feels more “classic” that some of its alternatives. This alone makes up for an experience that (at least for me) appeared as more inviting from the get-go.
The world of Coromon
The game starts as you’d expect, you wake up in your room, talk to your mom, and then proceed to choose a starter. Is within these first minutes where we can start to see some refreshing new takes on the formula. Being a Coromon trainer is something that you have to work towards in order to achieve. The journey of our character starts by him moving to the Lux Solis academy. Here, he enlists as a Rookie.
Once you arrive, you don’t get to pick your Coromon from a set trio. The game asks you questions in order to determine your personality and try to offer a Coromon that suits to your playstyle. This is an interesting choice and will lead to different playthroughs in the future. And speaking of playstyle, the game allows you to choose between four difficulty modes: Easy, Normal, Hard and Insane. These will impact the game significantly and make Nuzlocke runs, for example, completely viable within the game boundaries. Without having to commit to any kind of self-imposed ruleset. This is something that Pokémon fans have been asking for since forever, and it’s a very welcome addition.
Having picked and starter, the adventure truly begins. Is here where one of Coromon’s best aspects appears. The game’s plot move’s forward through quests, which of there are secondary ones. This instantly leads to a very open approach when it comes to exploration, even if confined within a set area. It also presents a good incentive to talk with every NPC in order to see what they have to offer.
How Coromon work
When you aren’t exploring, though, odds are you’re fighting. Is here where, oddly enough, Coromon shares more with TemTem than with Pokémon itself, as it seems that the two indie games have chosen to offer a stamina system in order to make fights more interesting. Here, your Coromon has a set number of SP (stamina points) that grows bigger as the creature levels up. It depletes slowly with each move, and in some turns, you’ll have to choose between spending a turn resting in order to have the stamina for a better move or risk going for a weaker one. This spin is enough to make fights familiar yet different. That and the skill system, which lets your Coromon use every move he’s ever learnt, will make for interesting endeavours later in the adventure.
The way the Coromon themselves evolve is interesting as well. Every Coromon comes with a set level of “Potential”, of which there are three: Standard, Potent and Perfect. Potential determines a certain level of growth in the form of stat points that you can freely assign to your Coromon every time the potential bar fills. There’s the option for you to go and catch high potential mons in order to get the best results in battles, which raises the gameplay possibilities significantly. And even for those not interested in stat increases and just want to play the game in a relaxing manner, there may be something in here for you as well, as Potent and Perfect Coromon seem to be the “shinies” of the game. These vary in color from the original variant and will definitely make you smile once you find one.
An adventure made with love
And last, but certainly not least, we have to talk about the game’s artstyle. From the second you start, you can see that everything was made with love. The pixel art looks crisp and the world is filled with detail to an extreme level. The Coromon designs are also very good for what they are, and even if there may be some odd ones, they still are beautifully drawn and well thought out. This also translates to the battles, which have beautiful backgrounds and flashy attack animations to display. If there’s anything that will make you jump the fence between deciding to try the game or not, it’s definitely the artstyle. And you won’t be disappointed.
GamingonPhone was lucky enough to have a short discussion with the developer and here are the quick summary.
GoP: Competing with Pokémon directly may be something daunting. Besides what’s already being shown on the demo, what’s in store for Coromon that will make it stand out from the competition?
TRAGsoft: While we are indeed competing with games like Pokemon, we also tried to create a completely new experience. From small features like build-in difficulties to new mechanics like the Potential to a completely different world-building and immersive storyline. Most of these are hinted in the demo, but will prevail even more when the full story can be experienced.
It’s hard to just sum up all differences, that’s why we released the demo. And it looks like everyone who plays the demo understands the difference now.
GoP: One of the selling points of many contemporary Pokémon competitors is an enhanced online experience. Are there plans for any online features in Coromon (Trading, PvP…) or is the game a 100% singleplayer experience?
TRAGsoft: A solid single-player experience is our top priority. We do have the game prepared for online functionality. Most likely these online features will appear shortly after the release, if the player base is large enough.
GoP: The demo seems very polished and has enough content to last a good bunch of hours, hinting that the game may already be on an advanced stage of development. With this in mind, when could we be seeing Coromon up in storefronts?
TRAGsoft: There is indeed several hours of gameplay already at the start of the game until the first of six Titans. An average demo playthrough is around 5 to 15 hours. Large parts of the game are already finished, and we expect to release in June 2020.
GoP: Coromon designs, and the world in general, are beautifully well thought out and are for sure going to be the main factor when it comes to people falling in love with the game. Was doing these a challenge or were you guys prepared for it?
TRAGsoft: We actually grew into the game dev world while we were working on this game. We’ve improved a lot and were able to quickly adapt and improve the quality of the game world. We kept increasing the standard for ourselves. It wasn’t easy, we had like 6 revisions for our first town, but we’re very pleased with the final results!
Coromon developers are also looking for people in order to help translate the game! If you are interested, you can help by filling out a form here.
Coromon, even in its early stages, is shaping up to be an excellent game. We’ll have to wait and see if it turns out to be the masterpiece we all want it to become.
Coromon is set to release later this year on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. You can find more information on its official page.
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