Monster Kingdom Jewel Summoner for Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) is a role-playing game (RPG) from Atlus that has anime/manga style character design and you can tell it has Japanese influences. The main story has you trying to capture creatures in jewels that you can then summon during battle to try to defeat the abominations that are invading the land you live in, hence the name Monster Kingdom Jewel Summoner. This concept reminds me of the Pokemon games from Nintendo, where you fight creatures and try to get their health as low as possible before trying to capture them in a Pokeball (jewel in this game).
Some of the gameplay in Monster Kingdom Jewel Summoner may remind you of Pokemon, but the graphics will not. The graphics in the game are a mix of 3D animation and 2D hand drawn stills. The dialog in the game takes place as 2D hand drawn stills pop up on the left and right side of the screen. The only thing that really moves on them are their mouths. All these 2D graphics are well done and remind me of other anime style RPG games. All battles in the game are rendered in 3D and look good for a 3D game on the PSP, but to me they might have looked better if they were in 2D also. The hand drawn 2D graphics are bright and colorful, but the 3D graphics look more realistic and have more drab dull colors. They just didn’t seem to fit as well with the 2D graphics. Maybe if they would’ve just increased the brightness of the 3D graphics color palette it would’ve helped. They don’t look horrible, they just look kind of bland and I wish they were more colorful.
The battles that you see in 3D are turn-based and are controlled via a menu system that is very simple to use. You select the attack you want to use and then choose the target that is on the left part of the screen and hit the button to execute it. The battles don’t last too long, which was nice, but they did seem to become repetitive after awhile. It seemed like I kept fighting the same or similar creatures over and over. I know this is how a lot of RPG games are and maybe I am just not the biggest fan of this type of RPG game. I think people that enjoy leveling up and battling over and over will probably enjoy the game.
Monster Kingdom Jewel Summoner’s storyline was okay, but didn’t seem to hold my interest as well as I would’ve liked. I played the game multiple times late at night when I was tired and found myself falling asleep while playing. The game just seemed to drag on and seemed like it could’ve been sped up some in execution. The one thing that slowed the game down was the dialog between the characters, the PSP had to load for a few seconds before a new character spoke. Most of the dialog in the game is spoken and also sub-titled at the bottom of the screen. I found myself a lot of the time reading it and hitting the button to move forward, since I didn’t feel like waiting for the actual dialog to finish. They also make you hit the button after each dialog before you move on to the next statement by the next character. Even if the person just says “Huh?” you have to hit the button to go on to the next statement. I think if they would’ve made it where it would just say the dialog and continue through it all like a cut-scene, then I wouldn’t have gotten so impatient.
Music in Monster Kingdom Jewel Summoner is made up of the patented orchestral synthesized pieces that most RPGs have and I enjoyed listening to it while playing the game. I didn’t find myself humming it later to myself, but it was decent while playing and fit into the game’s theme. Sound effects were also decent and I have no complaints about them. Also, as mentioned above all the dialog is spoken and well done. All the voices fit with the characters and I have no complaint besides the slow loading between them, as mentioned above, during the cut-scenes.
Monster Kingdom Jewel Summoner isn’t a bad RPG, but it isn’t one of the best I have ever played either. It does some things well, but the slowness of the dialog between characters because of load time and other drawn out parts makes it less enjoyable. The storyline wasn’t bad and the character design was decent, but the game just had a been there done that feeling to it. I think if I wanted to play a game where I went around capturing creatures I would be happier with one of the Pokemon games and if I wanted a traditional RPG then I would be happy with something else also. Monster Kingdom Jewel Summoner is just an average game that deserves an average score.
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