As someone who grew up playing a lot of Pokémon and other monster taming RPGs, I was delighted to receive a code for Coromon in my inbox. In fact, I was giddy. I have felt a little burned by the past few entries of Pokémon games, save for maybe Legends Arceus; I really liked what that game did for the franchise and I thought it made things feel fresh again.
In Coromon, you play a fledgling researcher working for a facility called Lux Solis. You are enlisted in a research team called the Titan Taskforce and are instructed to take out the six Titans ravaging the region of Velua. Obviously there is more to the story, but I’ll leave that up to you to discover. Before the game starts you have the option to pick your difficulty, which is interesting. I played on normal mode as I wanted to have a standard playthrough to start. However, you could also pick easy, hard or insane. The insane difficulty is a built in Nuzlocke mode. If you are unfamiliar with that term, a Nuzlocke run means that you can only catch one Coromon per area. If a Coromon dies, it is dead FOREVER. This is a difficulty mode only for the hardcore.
Like the feeling of freshness Legends Arceus delivered, Coromon has done something similar for me. However, I think it feels fresh because it feels like older Pokémon titles, especially generations 3-5. Coromon boasts a beautiful pixelated art style. Everything on the screen bursts to life with vibrant colour and really fun sound design. It really feels like I’m playing a lost Pokémon game from the 2000s that was never released. Coromon is absolutely worth your time. Allow me to explain why I think Coromon is a gem.
Coromon begins like any other monster tamer RPG. You wake up in your bedroom to your mother yelling at you about how today is the big day and you’re ready to leave the nest. You create your character and you are off. Next you must pick your starter companion. You have a choice between a fire type, a water type, and here’s a curveball, an ice type Coromon. I went with water type, of course, as water is easily my favourite type in Pokémon. Figured I would feel the same in this game. After that, you are off. The linear world is your oyster. You are free to catch new Coromon to add to your party or to immediately start committing atrocities to grind some experience and money. There are no balls to catch creatures in this game. Instead, Coromon are caught using Spinners. There are many different types of Spinners with different attributes that make catching certain types of Coromon easier. There is a Spinner for each of the 7 different types of Coromon in the game. While there are 7 types of Coromon, there are 13 different attacking types. Each type of attack has different efficacy when paired into a type of Coromon. It is a pretty unique way of handling the typing, even though I do find it a little confusing.
This game has very unique ways of doing almost everything. An hour into running through the grass to catch Coromon, I thought to myself “I wonder if this game has any shinies.” Minutes later I stumbled upon a “POTENT” Coromon. It was a completely different colour scheme from the ones I had seen prior. I tried to weaken it and accidentally murdered it after one hit. I didn’t get to catch it. I was so bummed. Until a few minutes later I found the same Coromon in a completely different colour scheme and it was labeled as “PERFECT”. That’s right, every Coromon has TWO shinies. The cool thing about it is that the difference of colour also correlates to how well they scale with levels. Standard Coromon are… well… standard. Potent get a little more with each level up, whereas Perfect Coromon scale the best, and often look the coolest.
Though Coromon‘s battle system is very similar to a lot of other games it borrowed from, I still died a lot. This is not an easy game. Even on medium difficulty I was getting my ass kicked by regular trainers. The Titans also smacked me around like it was nothing. Titans replace gym leaders in this game. They feel harder than 90% of the gym leaders in any Pokémon game. You fight a big imposing Coromon with a super inflated health bar and they are SO RESILIENT. It didn’t matter how high levelled my party was, these things always beat me 5 or 6 times before I finally got a fight that felt lucky enough and I was able to win. That’s honestly a breath of fresh air because most monster tamer games are infamous for being far too easy.
Coromon is a stunning game. Serious applause to everyone who worked on this game. It looks and sounds fantastic. Some of the Coromon say their name as their cry. I’ve always found that to be a very charming part of the Pokémon anime that was never featured in the games. The music is also another big standout. I often found myself humming some of the overworld themes while making dinner or while at work. The music sounds like very traditional RPG fanfare with blaring horns and synths. That soundscape is traditional for a reason. Another thing I loved about this game is how vibrant the overall colour scheme is. Everything just pops. Whether you’re in a snowy area, a desert, or a swamp, it all just looks fabulous. It’s not often that I want to visit 2D pixel environments in real life, but I would happily roadtrip to any of these locales. There are also a lot of really well made puzzles and well designed dungeons/overworlds.
I really really enjoyed Coromon. It doesn’t necessarily reach the heights its contemporaries did, but it doesn’t have to. It stands alone as a really well made and very charming game. It has enough interesting ideas and design choices that make it feel like it has its own identity. Though Coromon is a fairly short game, I hope it succeeds and is able to get a sequel in the future with some more fleshed out ideas and a longer runtime. I fully recommend Coromon to anybody who is even remotely into monster tamers or RPGs. It is far too charming and fun to be missed. If you have been looking for an itch to scratch while we wait for the next mainline Pokémon games, this will act as a terrific distraction.