for the long haul mates.
by Mala Rangeem
12, 2005 - PopoloCrois
is a classic-style RPG aimed at younger players and
those that want a traditional and less aggressive
game. It could even be called cute, as it contains
endearing characters and a touching storyline about
a boy's love for his mother and his quest to lift
the curse that she's under.
an established series in Japan, with several games
and a TV show based on it, PopoloCrois is now available
for English-speaking audiences. This isn't one of
those wacky, surreal Japanese offerings like Katamari
Demacy, but instead a turn-based RPG that resurrects
a lot of old-school elements. It may not be original
but it's a great variation on a theme - and it's one
of the rare RPGs for the PSP.
is a young prince that learns that his mother, whom
he believed died giving birth, is alive. Unfortunately
she's under a spell that keeps her body in a deep
sleep and her soul trapped in a dark void. This all
took place 10 years prior when she saved the kingdom
from the evil Ice Demon. But before the demon was
vanquished he cast this spell upon her and bound her
soul to his.
the kingdom in search of a spell breaker to save his
mother, Pietro finds favor with the locals along his
journey. He is taken in and well fed. Money is plentiful
and things look pretty easy. But this is the prince
and people are inclined to be nice to royalty. It's
when Pietro ventures further away from his kingdom
where his popularity dwindles that such acts of generosity
are few and far between. Traveling is now going to
cost him. Thankfully you will have been able to save
a lot of money to purchase things - and the rest is
going to be left up to your wits.
around, exploring the imaginative villages and chatting
with the NPCs is not only fun but rewarding. There
are quaint towns, fishing villages, enchanted forests
and floating fortresses to visit each with different
characters, customs and rewards. The NPCs will give
you information and help you find weapons, armor and
recruits for your party. The Inns will provide you
with rest and will also serve as checkpoints that
automatically save your progress in case you expire.
Designed for portability, you can manually save the
game at any spot and start right where you left off.
will perform various errands for the NPCs and will
be rewarded in kind. Up to four characters will accompany
him including Narcie, a forest witch that he befriends.
The characters will hang with Pietro and put their
various skills to work in battle. A meter will fill
up for each character indicating that he or she is
ready to take a turn on the grid.
to the popular saying, the journey is not nearly as
fun as reaching the destination. That's due to the
tremendous amount of random battles. There are a lot
of them and although they are a good source of experience
points and weapons they really drag the pace of the
gameplay down. The game pauses at virtually every
opportunity to allow you to place your character on
the grid and select from a variety of options including
standard attack, special attack, spell casting, hold
attack, run and unite attacks that deal more damage.
If you hold an attack back you will increase its power
on the next turn. Characters have to be elementally
aligned to fuse their attacks but there are some very
neat combinations to experiments with.
command options aren't very deep but they allow you
to use strategy in your decisions. The fact that these
battles occur quite frequently may determine your
interest in purchasing this game or avoiding it like
another monster battle.
are hand-drawn, extremely colorful and are fully voiced
complete with charming background music - except where
things get a little evil. There aren't any frightening
scenes or graphic violence making this a very kid-friendly
game. The in-game animation is a little disappointing
as it looks like your standard GBA RPG. It's presented
in 2D with a slight isometric perspective so the camera
angles are always at the best possible position.
gameplay mechanics don't suffer from any technical
issues but the game disguises and distributes the
load times throughout the game so that every few minutes
the game will sputter out another load. I guess it's
easier to sit through numerous short loads than a
few really big ones.
are two games featured in PopoloCrois, both the first
and the second of the series, which are blended together
seamlessly. The music is really good but it's reused
too much and gets on your nerves after a few days.
In some cases I think silence would be preferable.
The sound effects are decent but nothing you haven't
is a good RPG with a good blend of action and strategy.
It's long and it can get repetitious. There are no
other modes and not much at all for replay value.
You won't get through this game in a weekend so if
you want to play, you're going to have to pay.
Cel-shaded Graphics in Rich, Vibrant Color
Feature for Playing On-The-Go
Hours of Game Play
Anime Sequences from the Japanese TV Series