A new monster collector from TRAGsoft comes to Steam this month with the release of Coromon. The pixel-styled monster collector is set to retail at £15.49, but has 20% off at the moment. Let’s see if it’s worth picking up for you monster tamers, shall we?
Coromon is set in a world where battle researchers travel around gathering data on the creatures inhabiting the land. As a new researcher on the first day of their dream job, you take on the role of an inexperienced but promising new member of a special unit tasked with investigating the 6 titans inhabiting Velua. After receiving your very own Coromon your adventure across the land begins. Along the way you will encounter many people requiring your aid, be it aiding in research or collecting a monster someone has been hunting down. The job of being a battle researcher is never easy, and the larger plot only serves to drive that home. Besides the everyday tasks of your profession, a larger narrative full of twists and turns awaits you as each new encounter adds to the mysteries behind the scenes of this seemingly beautiful world.
The main story takes a little while to really get rolling, and while this may be in part due to all the side stuff I found myself engaging in, from helping out with quests to training and expanding my team, it took a few hours before I actually started to wish to pursue the main questline out of a need to see where it was going. I can’t say the writing was lacking. In fact, overall it was rather well written, I just simply didn’t feel any urgency to progress for a good while. That was until I encountered my first titan and events seemed to have some weight to them, and something finally clicked, making me more inclined to push on with the main narrative.
As mentioned above, I found myself doing a bit of everything the game had to offer, even delaying actual progress in the main story for a while as I built up my team and hunted down some of the more allusive monsters before the story actually got its hooks into me. The truth is, there is a surprising amount of content for the type of game we have here in Coromon. Aside from the main storyline, there are a number of side quests and objectives, from helping out your fellow researchers to building up and evolving your monsters. It’s surprisingly easy to go off on a tangent and spend multiple hours away from the main quest line. While a good portion of this can run parallel to your progress throughout the game, the rewards for completing these tangents are often quite worth your while to attack as soon as possible.
The visuals, like much of the game, are well crafted. The 2D pixel artwork does a great job with both the world design and that of the creatures inhabiting said world. Each of the games areas has a distinct feel to them, making each new location feel unique and keeping things feeling fresh and interesting. The creature designs were one of my favourite parts of the title. As a fan of the genre, I have to place the pixel artwork in the upper ranks of similar monster collectors I’ve played. The monster designs were clearly a key point when crafting the game. While the world is well crafted and has a nice amount of variance, it seems extra care went into the monsters overall.
Like everything else in this monster collector, the sound design had a rather surprising amount of meat to it. There’s variety in both BGM tracks and sound effects that bring the game to life and, while I can’t say that they are individually special, as a whole, they enhance the experience. Be it the battle BGM or that of the places you visit, it never feels out of place and even has some high moments. What can I say? I like the battle theme. I have no idea why it is just so catchy, simple but catchy.
At its core, the gameplay is reminiscent of most monster collectors you’ve likely encountered with wild monsters hiding in the tall grass found throughout the world. You battle with monsters you have tamed yourself in a turn-based battle system centred around a stamina system. Chances are most of that sentence comes as little surprise if you’ve at least dabbled in the genre.
There are, however, some key differences from similar titles you’ve likely played. One such difference is the inclusion of a second XP bar that allows you to acquire bonus stat points to allocate and build your monster. This small change allows you to make up for some of your monsters’ weaknesses or even just load them down with attack points in the hope that you can just aim them and hope to steamroll whatever is in front of you. You may want to rethink this strategy thanks to the next point. The second thing of note is the inclusion of multiple foes in a single battle. Occasionally, you will find yourself facing down a group of enemies at once. That act is kind of like a high-risk, high-reward type battle. A huge chunk of experience can be earned at once, but, of course, this can lead to huge damage. This simple addition adds a nice challenge at times, but can also be a source of dread, especially if you get a bad type match. One other key point I want to bring up is something known as potential. While I don’t have a full understanding of it, each monster has a potential rating, and said rating determines if they are “basic,” potent, or perfect at a glance. The main change between the 3 ranks seems to be the equivalent of shinny or not shiny. However, potent monsters seem to be stronger than their “basic” counterparts in terms of growth, as perfect is with potent.
Outside of that, for the most part, the gameplay has a lot in common with a certain well-known monster collector on Nintendo devices, as besides the wild monsters, a lot of the normal mechanics appear as well: fellow tamers will challenge you if they make eye contact, you’ll throw items known as “spinners” in an attempt to capture monsters and towns along your routes, as well as having a building where you can heal your monsters, they sell healing items and capture devices. However, none of this is really new. However, there is one other feature I haven’t mentioned. The title comes with built-in difficulty and rules you can impose on yourself to make the game easier or harder, and while this isn’t game breaking, I found it absolutely hilarious that I could choose to steal everyone’s Coromon that challenged me to a battle. It was a small thing, but a welcome thing.
As stated, there are a few changes to the usual formula, and thanks to that, it doesn’t feel like just another clone. While it does indeed have a number of shared similarities with much of the genre, it also tries to be fresh, and that’s not something easily done with the sheer number of similar titles on the market. Is it worth picking up because of this? If you’re a fan of the genre, then at this price it’s a bargain. There’s only so much a title in this genre can do to stand out that hasn’t been done before, and honestly, if you look, you’ll likely find they have been. However, a solid title of its type and being affordable are all marks in the right box. For that reason, it’s always hard to judge these types of games simply because they are easy to categorise as yet another clone, but when the work is put into a project, it does indeed show, and for that reason, Coromon gets a passing grade from me.
It does just enough different to stand out a little in what is becoming a crowded genre.