Pokémon is one of the most famous sagas in the videogame universe. It is one of the first to impose itself by arrogance in contemporary popular culture, going beyond the confines of the world of fans. Also, for this reason, over the decades, there have been countless attempts to replicate the formula, both by teams, renowned companies, and independent developers.
Coromon, developed by TRAGsoft, comes from the indie world. Coromon is one of those titles that does not try to hide its Pokémon-like origins, embracing them to the point of positioning itself somewhere between homage and plagiarism.
On the occasion of the release on Nintendo Switch on July 21 (the game is already available on PC and mobile), we wanted to deepen this adventure to tell you our opinion on it.
Can Coromon quench the thirst for pending catches for Pokémon Scarlet & Violet? Let’s find out together.
Adventures in the Velua region
Coromon’s story opens in a way that Pokémon fans know well. The protagonist (customisable through a fairly full-bodied editor for the genre) is woken up by his mother on the occasion of a very important day for him. It’s just not the day he finally becomes a Pokémon trainer.
As a duelling researcher, our protagonist is about to start his first day of work at lux Solis, a scientific research centre. Behind this nomenclature lies, in reality, a role very, very similar to that of a Pokémon trainer (and you will see that this will be a bit the norm for all Coromon’s stunts), but let’s go in order.
Once we reach the research centre, we will receive some important things for our adventure: a glove that allows us to use skills (which we could call MN) and our first Coromon, which we can choose between three alternative creatures. In short, you will have understood: Coromon fully incorporates the Pokémon style on the narrative level. We even have a team of villains, a bestiary to complete by capturing creatures, and so on.
Despite the slightly different incipit from the classic Pokémon episode, the story does not differ much in tone and depth; it is an enjoyable storyline, but it will certainly not remain with you for years to come.
One of the aspects that we appreciated most of Coromon, however, is the ability to build a credible game world also through secondary missions connected to the main story, which expand the history of the world; This is an element from which Pokémon could take some notes, given that often Nintendo titles have not shone for the management of secondary missions. But we will have the opportunity to return to this point.
Technically speaking, the game comes with two-dimensional graphics that closely resemble the 32-bit adventures of Pokémon on the Game Boy Advance. From this point of view, if you are passionate about that era, you will experience a nice nostalgic journey, obviously enhanced by the graphics of the Nintendo Switch (especially if you play on the OLED model, which you find available on Amazon).
The same, sadly, cannot be said regarding the design of the creatures. We found most of the Commons rather anonymous, while in other cases, the creatures looked all too much like corresponding Pokémon. We would have expected a lot more care for this aspect, given that the design of the creatures is one of the cornerstones of this type of game.
The sound sector also left us rather indifferent. The game’s tracks aren’t bad, but they have nothing to do with what Pokémon can offer (the comparison is practically inevitable, even on a subconscious level).
Also, call it Pokémon.
So we come to the Coromon gameplay. On this front, the similarities with Pokémon are far too many to list. The two games share every aspect: from casual encounters walking in the grass to fights to the tools of capture and care.
Of course, the names and objects change: here, we have spinners instead of Poké Balls and cupcakes instead of potions, but the substance remains the same.
Therefore, we will not analyse the game’s basic gameplay because it would be like talking about Pokémon as if it were a newborn series. However, we want to focus on those. It is up to Coromon to manage differently, sometimes with a twist of originality, really not bad.
One of these is the management of creatures. After each battle, just like in Pokémon, Coromons gain experience points, which lead them to level up and improve their characteristics automatically.
From time to time, however, we will be called upon to intervene personally in the process. This means that we will be able to distribute extra points as we wish to be assigned to the different specifications of the Coromon in question. It may seem like a minor detail, but the implications are multiple because this gives you greater strategic control over the growth of your Commons.
Added to this is a functioning and fun combat system (net of the fact that it is completely derivative), which can easily get you hooked if you like turn-based battles. Unfortunately, the multiplayer sector has not been developed properly; you can still challenge your friends online (as long as you have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, which you can retrieve on Amazon), but the experience is pretty bare.
Another interesting aspect is the glove we provided at the beginning of the game. It will give us access to a series of skills (which we will unlock during the adventure) that will allow us to solve small environmental puzzles.
It performs the same function as HM in Pokémon; it is only the yield that is different; however, there is a greater presence of puzzles and riddles in Coromon than in Nintendo titles, at least if we take the latest games in the series as a reference point.
Finally, another aspect that we found particularly interesting is the secondary missions and their management. The game is chock full of optional activities, which will be assigned to us by NPCs scattered around the game map. By completing the missions, we will receive rewards, which can be redeemed from a specific item in the game menu, which we can use to purchase items.
This is an effective method to encourage exploration and to give greater depth to secondary missions, which often manage to go beyond mere filler. This, in particular, is one aspect where Coromon succeeds better than Pokémon, at least compared (again) to the last few episodes.
The game is Pokémon, nothing more and nothing less for the rest. Of course, there are other minor differences, including the presence of a selectable difficulty early in the game. All this, however, does not change the substance: we are facing a clone in all respects.
The few new things brought to the table are not enough to allow Coromon to step out of the shadow of his illustrious source of inspiration. And not even Coromon can do anything better than Pokémon (except managing side missions) to the point of making it a superior experience.
The game is “content” to faithfully replicate the Pokémon experience of the 32-bit era, with a few minor tweaks here and there. Net of its flaws, you could think about it if you feel particular nostalgia for that era of Pokémon or if you feel a visceral lack of capturing monsters.