Crystalline, released in August 2018, is a game that was brought to life thanks to Kickstarter. It is a visual novel style of game and does not try to break the mold, but it does what it does very well. If you are interested in story driven games, romance, and games where you get to make decisions, Crystalline is certainly worth taking a closer look at.
You can download Crystalline from Steam. To start downloading, hit the button at the end of the review. PixelFade, the devs behind the game have also two other downloadable visual novels which you should also check: ACE Academy (2016) and its sequel Kaori After Story (released in December 2018).
The game is set in a fantasy world called Terra. This land is powered by these magical crystals and the main character finds himself teleported to the world of Terra. It is soon revealed by a character called Leanna who is a Mage Knight that he is radiating energy. They go on a quest to find out why he is here, how he got there and of course there are a few twists along the way.
If you read any of the descriptions for Crystalline they will all tell you how the story is this masterpiece of writing. I am not sure I would go that far, but the story is fun and it does have some very funny moments. I did enjoy many of the characters that I encountered such as Kara, Zack, and Amelia and found the writing to be quite witty in places.
The characters in this game are fully animated and it does give the game more personality. Also, the game is pure eye candy. I love the anime/cell-shaded style of the graphics and I would go as far to say this is one of the best visual novel style games I have ever seen. The whole world is so detailed and colorful that it is impossible not to be impressed.
While the writing is quite witty there is something else that sets Crystalline apart from the rest and that is the voice acting. Crystalline is fully voice acted and it is some very good voice acting too. In my experience (which to be honest is not all that vast) with this style of game. Voice acting is not something that is always included. It does make these characters you are communicating with feel more real.
In terms of gameplay, Crystalline is exactly what you would expect with a visual novel game. You will talk to tons of characters and the things you say will decide the way they interact with you in the future. For example, talking to one character will give you the options of, Don’t look at her boobs, the plot thickens and who are you? Which one you choose will have an effect on the story and your relationship with that character.
This is what Crystalline is all about, you can try and romance certain characters, be more off with others and play the game any way you would like. I get that this is not for everyone, but as the writing is pretty solid and the voice acting is good. This makes Crystalline a far more addictive game than you would think.
As far as visual novel style games go, I had way more fun with Crystalline that I thought I would. It looks great, I enjoyed the voice acting and the story was rather charming. I appreciate how it was not just all about sex like some other visual novel games are. Crystalline may have comedy, but it also has a lot of heart.
- The visuals are fantastic
- I like how it is animated in places
- The characters are quite interesting
- Choices you make shape the story
- Voice acting is great
- Not much in the way of gameplay
- Writing is not as “epic” as some make out