Crystal Defenders R1 review

  • Based on Final Fantasy Tactics
  • Simple, addictive core
  • Plenty of strategy
  • Unfriendly price
  • Fairly simplistic spin on tower defense
  • Why split in two?

Here’s the thing: Crystal Defenders R1 and R2 have already been released for iPhone and Xbox Live Arcade as a single game. This of course begs the question “why the bloody hell are we paying 1,600 points to play both games?” No one likes being taken for a ride, and Square Enix is laughing in our faces while it lifts the cash from our wallets.

And that’s a crying shame, because despite being fairly simplistic – this is yet another spin on the tower defense genre, rather like Ninja Town but less ninjary – the games are actually pretty entertaining. We found ourselves hopelessly hooked and playing into the wee small hours on several occasions. So why do it, Squeenix? WHY?

Crystal Defenders is loosely based around the Final Fantasy Tactics titles, at least in terms of the character classes and enemies. Here in R1 you’ve got soldiers, archers, black mages, time mages, white monks, dragoons and thieves. Their individual abilities are obvious, so we won’t list them, because that would be boring and you might get angry. Like we’re angry about the rip-off price.

Each level is just a single screen with a path running across it. Waves of enemies will enter the screen at the start of the path and you have to stop them reaching the end of the path by strategically placing your units wherever you see fit. If any enemies get through, they’ll nab crystals from your stash. Lose all your crystals, lose the game, get really angry. Like we’re angry about… sorry, we’ll try to stop going on about the price.

Jul 9, 2009

More Info

Release date: Apr 20 2009 - Wii (US)
Apr 24 2009 - Wii (UK)
Available Platforms: Wii
Genre: Strategy
Published by: Square Enix
Developed by: Square Enix
Franchise: Final Fantasy
ESRB Rating:
Everyone: Mild Fantasy Violence


  • Crashman - September 27, 2009 10:37 a.m.

    While I don't necessarily disagree with the verdict here, the article is incorrect about R1 and R2 being out for XBLA. The version for XBLA has W1, W2 and W3. Now I'm not really sure what these letters and numbers stand for. I think the "R" might stand for "road" because the Wii version has each location lined up along a path before you start a mission. The Wii version has some other significant differences from the XBLA version also. It has 13 stages while W1,W2 and W3 for XBLA actually only has 12 stages. So in a way you could actually say that R1 alone is longer than the other version. This sounds misleading though because the XBLA (and presumably the iPhone) version is much more difficult than the Wii version. While I think they made some nice design changes with the menus and interface for the Wii version, the lowered difficulty means that you can get a perfect on every stage in one sitting. Someone experienced in these types of games will likely score perfects on their first try through most of the stages. Anyway, I did enjoy it quite a bit but it's still probably not worth the price seeing as you will likely only play it for a day and never come back to it. Nothing against the author of this article, but it would be nice to see a review of this game from someone who has played the other versions out there. Every review I've found online is a one-sided review from someone who has only read about the other versions.
  • zayleffein - July 10, 2009 11:33 p.m.

    They have this game on iPod. Very simple and kinda fun, but I wouldn't pay 1600 Wii points for it, even with 2 "separate" games.

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