Crystal Rescue – Endearingly Flawed

A puzzle game, where a group of multicoloured friends are separated and need the power of friendship and crystals to find each other.  Can these little guys overcome the mysterious presence keeping them apart or will I get bored and uninstall the game?
 
Game Name: Crystal Rescue
Platform(s): Android 
Publisher(s): Virware
Developer(s): Virware
Release Date: 10 March
Price: Free 
 
The great thing about mobile games is the experimentation. Even in the least fun or most amateur titles can have gameplay elements that knock my socks off.
 

One wrong step can mean a restart.

 
Take Crystal Rescue for example, here is a game with a bare bones story and several mildly broken game mechanics, but is so sincere in design that even the flaws seem endearing.
 
The meat of the gameplay involves jumping over coloured crystals to remove them, the level ending when all have been cleared. Landing on a crystal will trigger a short timer, giving you a brief period to backtrack before the space clears.
 
This becomes more complicated as different crystal types become introduced, such as the yellow crystals that spring you two spaces over and the pink crystals that can’t be cleared until you unlock them.
 

The five playable characters. Well, five skins…

 
As you progress through the story you unlock new characters. Each character plays the same which is disappointing. It feels like a missed opportunity for a little variation in the gameplay, as well as giving an identity to the different friends.
 
There is a premium currency in play as well that allow you to purchase powerups and each is broken in their own special way.
 
Wind allows you to skip to the next free crystal, theoretically letting you continue playing after running out of moves. Unfortunately, running out of moves immediately triggers the game over screen making Wind useless.
 
Lightning clears random nearby crystals, often leaving you unable to complete the level. While Earthquake clears the board, granting an instant win, basically allowing you to skip the level.
 

Setting up a premium currency may have been a little optimistic…

 
The art is cute, even if the animation can be a little awkward. The music loops nicely in the background without either annoying nor very memorable.
 
The whole game is competently if not spectacularly put together, but I can’t help but see some promise in the mechanics and level design. Despite not knocking Crystal Rescue out of the park, I eagerly await what Virware brings out next.
 
 
 
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Not perfect, but shows promise

Not perfect, but shows promise.

Pros:

– Solid mechanics
– Cute characters
– Clever puzzle design
 
Cons:
 
– No gameplay variation
– Powerups break the game
– Feels amateur
  • Not perfect, but shows promise.
Overall
2.5

About The Author

Luke Jimenez

An Aussie gamer and father of 3, Luke is as passionate as he is time-poor and eloquent as he is sleep-deprived. Mobile gaming has become a platform for unique and experimental ideas on the go and Luke is determined to prove it.