Crystal Defenders R1 Review
Crystal Defenders R1 box art
System: Wii (WiiWare) Review Rating Legend
Dev: Square Enix 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Square Enix 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Apr. 20, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The controls for the game are handled with just the Wii Remote, and Square Enix has (smartly) opted to implement its use by turning the controller sideways to be played like a simple, NES-style controller. The D-pad allows you to move your cursor, the 2 button is for making selections, and A starts the wave. The controls work really well, and setting up your defenses is an easy and intuitive process.

Crystal Defenders R1 screenshot

The presentation is standard Square Enix fare, meaning the overall product has plenty of polish. That said, R1 is still very much a WiiWare title, so don't expect much depth. There's no real story, and again, the maps are pretty basic. However, there's plenty here for Final Fantasy fans to enjoy. Dialogue stills and sprites are taken from Final Fantasy Tactics, and it's a representation of Ivalice (the imaginary world of various Final Fantasy games) that has always seemed aimed directly at a younger audience - a perfect match for the more simplified TD gameplay on offer here.

Both the sprites and maps are 2D, and the maps come in a typical variety - lush, green forest, an arid desert, snow, and fire. The sprites are adorable as always, though animations are about on par with a Gameboy Advance game. The Square sheen is there, but it's still difficult to hide the fact that the in-game visuals are so basic. The menus and overworld map, however, bookend everything to present a tight and attractive package overall.


One element that's truly impossible to overlook is the music. It's nothing you haven't already heard in Final Fantasy Tactics A2 for DS, but it still sounds great and adds a lot to the gameplay experience. The sound effects, however, are a tad disappointing. The occasional moogle chatter before missions is delightful, but the cluster of generic attack sounds does little to add excitement to the game.

Crystal Defenders R1 is an extremely straightforward, arguably antiquated take on the Tower Defense formula. The game also appears to be a shameless cash-in on the Final Fantasy namesake. In spite of all that, it's still an undeniably fun strategy romp that's perfectly suited for younger gamers looking to get their feet wet with something a bit more challenging. At 800 Wii Points, however, it feels a bit over-priced, especially considering it offers only one save file.

By Tony Capri
CCC Freelance Writer

The sprites are cute, though there's nothing remarkable about the way they animate. The maps are fairly plain to look at, though the overall presentation is quite attractive.
It's a bit disappointing that the standard TD formula wasn't injected with anything fresh utilizing the functionality of the Wii controller, but considering the tact Square Enix opted for, the controls work really well.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
We've heard all of this music before, but it still sounds great and works wonderfully as a backdrop to R1's gameplay. Sound effects are disappointing, however.

Play Value
There is no multiplayer and only one save file, but it's a straightforward TD game that should be a great first-time experience for younger Final Fantasy fans interested in this type of strategy. An online leader board is packed into the game, but it's fairly bare-bones.

Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • CRYSTAL DEFENDERS R1 is a defensive simulation game in which players deploy characters from the FINAL FANTASY TACTICS series onto a variety of different maps to battle wave after wave of encroaching monsters.
  • CRYSTAL DEFENDERS R1 is simple and easy to learn - monsters will enter an area and march through it until they are defeated or reach an exit, at which time they will steal one or more crystals.
  • Factors such as map terrain, monster strengths and weaknesses, job attributes, and more will play a crucial role in determining what steps a player should take.

  • Screenshots / Images
    Crystal Defenders R1 screenshot - click to enlarge Crystal Defenders R1 screenshot - click to enlarge Crystal Defenders R1 screenshot - click to enlarge Crystal Defenders R1 screenshot - click to enlarge Crystal Defenders R1 screenshot - click to enlarge Crystal Defenders R1 screenshot - click to enlarge Crystal Defenders R1 screenshot - click to enlarge Crystal Defenders R1 screenshot - click to enlarge

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