|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.
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.
CCC Freelance Writer