I’ve played PLENTY of ‘Pokémon imitators’ in my time, but none have managed to capture the same charming old-school vibe of the original releases quite like Coromon. Sure, it might not have some of the depth found in Nintendo’s famed franchise, but it offers an experience that closely resembles the traditional adventures of those first few generations, all whilst bringing with it a few extra modernised bells and whistles.
Put it this way: if you’re a Pokémon fan, it’s very likely that you’re going to be a Coromon fan too.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Coromon puts players into the role of a Battle Researcher at Lux Solis, a research society that holds a prominent role within the land of Velua. Whilst things seem to go smoothly at first, disaster soon strikes and you find yourself venturing out on a journey across the world. Your job? To collect the essence of six mighty Titans that roam the land, all whilst building and growing a team of Coromon to help you out along the way.
I’ve condensed the tale a fair bit there, but you get the basic idea – it’s up to you to save the world. One thing I will say is that Coromon feels more akin to a traditional JRPG than a Pokémon game with its storytelling, with more of a focus on an adventure on a grander scale than a personal one. Whilst I’m not adverse to either approach, it actually felt more refreshing and added real stakes to the player’s journey.
Whilst the narrative feels unique though, the gameplay follows a VERY familiar pattern. Choosing from one of three Coromon as your starter when you begin the game? Check. Battling random Coromon out in the wild and trying to collect them by throwing something (in this case ‘Spinners’) at them? Double-check. Fun turn-based battling where you’re able to improve your team of Coromon and eventually evolve them into more powerful forms? Yep, it’s all there. Coromon isn’t shy in wearing its inspirations like a badge of honour, and believe me, it’s obvious from the get-go.
“It’s worth noting that it’s possible to catch EVERY Coromon in a single playthrough, so there are no worries about what your starter is or that you might miss some… they’re all out in the wild to find.”
The creators of the game have openly stated that they’re fans of Pokémon and wanted to build a game just like it, so it’s actually pretty admirable that they managed to hit the nail right on the head. Thankfully, they also managed to make Coromon feel just as fun to play, whether that’s when taking part in strategic battles where you’ll have to take advantage of different elemental weaknesses and your party’s diverse skillset to survive, or when working through the world in an attempt to ‘catch ‘em all’. It’s worth noting that it’s possible to catch EVERY Coromon in a single playthrough, so there are no worries about what your starter is or that you might miss some… they’re all out in the wild to find.
That does mean that there’s no necessity to trade in the game mind, so players won’t be sharing Coromon with their friends. It’s a disappointing omission, especially as an old-school Pokémon purist, though it’s not a deal-breaker given that it also means you don’t have to worry about having multiple versions of the same game or finding players willing to trade in order to complete your collection. And hey, at least you can still battle friends in online play, so Coromon certainly isn’t lacking in social elements.
One particular area in which Coromon often betters the older Pokémon titles is with its visual presentation, with some fantastic pixel art on show across the whole game that constantly kept me in awe. Whether it’s when exploring one of the new regions you uncover or when partaking in a battle and seeing your party unleash attacks, there’s a great level of detail in the game that ensures that the experience is always a pretty one. Of course, Coromon does have age on its side so you would expect it to look better than some of those early Pokémon releases, but it’s still hard not to be impressed.
Check out some screenshots down below:
It’s clear then that Coromon really has a lot going for it – I haven’t even mentioned the player customisation options, multitude of side quests to complete, cool creature designs that are diverse and creative, or the clever difficulty options that really let you fine-tune the experience to your liking. It really does offer a whole lot, with this one meaty experience that’ll take players a good while to get through.
However, I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t have some flaws. The battling could feel a little simple for example, especially since the Coromon only come with a standard array of types that don’t diversify too much. The game also sends quite a few difficulty spikes the player’s way, so grinding could often feel like a necessity to simply progress through the story. Add to that some areas that drag out a little longer than they need to as well as some frustrating sections involving stealth, and it’ll become clear that there are still quite a few aspects of the game that could do with improvement – especially when compared to the more fine-tuned adventures found in the Pokémon series.
Fortunately, these flaws aren’t game-breaking nor do they stop Coromon from offering a really fun adventure. And you know what? It feels like MORE than just a Pokémon imitator by the time you reach the end. Whilst there are PLENTY of similarities in almost every facet of its design, Coromon also felt like its own game… I don’t think there’s a bigger compliment I could pay to it than that.
Coromon wears its inspirations like a big badge of honour, but manages to offer an addictive and fun monster-taming adventure by doing so. Yes, the Pokémon comparisons will be obvious from the get-go, but Coromon manages to make the combat, monster-catching, and storytelling just as enthralling as that found in the old-school Nintendo adventures. And hey, it even betters some of those older releases in places, especially when it comes to the visuals and customisation options for the player.
I’d be lying if I said that Coromon was perfect, because it does lack depth in places and also has a few frustrating moments across its adventure. Thankfully, there’s a LOT more good than bad to be found, with Coromon proving itself to be MORE than just another Pokémon imitator.
Publisher: Freedom Games
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC