Last summer I had the opportunity to preview an indie title that aimed to capture and deliver an experience already shaped by Pokémon. This is Coromon, an 8-bit pixel art style game set in a fantastic world full of cute and wonderful creatures to capture and fight with. Needless to say, it builds on many of the things that made Pokémon successful, and now that the game is in final release I have mixed feelings about it.
Before we start talking about Coromon’s problems, let’s talk about its positives. This is a really beautiful game with some of the most amazing and vibrant pixelated environments I’ve seen in a long time. Whether you’re exploring lush forests, icy caves, dusty deserts, or futuristic towns and villages, there are many occasions when you feel captivated and mesmerized by your surroundings. Add to that the brilliant soundtrack, which is just the right pace for an 8-bit arcade experience, and you have an adventure you won’t want to miss.
Not only the visual aspect is positive, because the gameplay is very well thought out and has a lot of depth. There’s a considerable list of Coromon for us to seek out and catch, be it fire turtles, legged sharks, sand crabs, and all those weird combinations that Pokémon titles have already made us accustomed to. Of course, all available types interact with each other in different ways, with some being more effective against others.
The gameplay revolves around this system, but takes it further through energy points that force you to adopt a more strategic position when using attacks: each movement requires a certain amount of energy that you don’t want to be without in the middle of a battle. In addition, each Coromon can evolve in two different ways. There’s the typical experience, which allows you to boost and improve your health points, base damage, and defense stats, among other things. But there’s also a new system called Potential, where by leveling up (also through experience) we can dig even deeper into stats, using attribute points to boost certain areas. ideal if you want a very high damage Coromon, for example. All of this combines to offer a more complete RPG experience that makes you feel like you have more control over the creatures you own than you do in the Pokémon games.
It then goes one step further by making the world feel more interactive and offering the ability for the player/coach to use specific moves to alter the environment: from moving heavy objects to using a smelly scent to clearing Coromon’s grassy areas to avoid surprise encounters as you traverse them. It’s simple details that breathe life into the adventure and allow it not only to compete with Pokémon, but also to stand out in many aspects.
However, there is a downside. And in fact it is a very important disadvantage. Despite being a game that uses very basic hardware to run (it literally takes up less disk space than Windows Explorer when running), Coromon is in pretty bad shape when it comes to bugs, in my experience. So much so, that after just a few minutes, gameplay bugs appear, turning text into unrecognizable symbols, some visual elements are replaced with black squares, and even the style goes haywire, becoming something that can only be described as an abstract box created by created by a placed artist. The game goes from exciting and promising to an unplayable mess that you have to restart to fix. It’s a real shame.
There are times when you have to wander aimlessly through a room to find your way out, as the only pieces that haven’t disappeared are the NPCs. In the same way, during many battles, the text was distorted so I couldn’t tell the names of the Coromon I was facing, their levels, their HP, or what they were attacking me with. I was able to play the game blind most of the time and do pretty well despite barely knowing what was going on. However, it’s also not like it’s a Gen 9 Pokémon game, where you get to recognize many of the creatures you encounter. Everything is new here, and it’s infinitely more complicated when, in a game without dialogue, all the text appears on the screen as an indecipherable mess.
It might seem like an exaggeration to talk about Coromon in this way given the positive aspects, but the experiences I have had with this game leave me with no choice but to advise people to avoid this title, at least until the bugs are fixed. serious. Maybe in the future when Coromon is really playable I’ll come back and hopefully share more positive thoughts.