Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner
Vice is a guy with a grudge. In years past, his mother was killed by a winged abomination. With his only heirloom from her, a jewel, he travels the world hunting monster after monster. The particular monster he seeks is a fierce winged abomination. While looking for more information about the winged monster, Vice goes to the Order to seek answers. There he meets an interesting bunch of summoners in training and high ranking officials in the Order. While showing his talent to the big man in charge, his jewel is sucked into the Monolith (a large mysterious object). Without his jewel, he joins the summoners in training to learn the ways of the jewel summoner. Led by the absurdly big breasted professor Anhj, Vice joins a crew of very mixed personalities: Bargus, Lynn, Eycia, Grey, and Skipper. As the story continues, Vice finds out his role in the world.
In general, the game play works. "Jewel Summoner" is easy to pick up and play. The general idea is that jewel summoners control monsters and use them to engage in battle with other monsters, evil summoners, and abominations (super duper monsters that control little monsters). Summoners can control up to three monsters at a time, where only one can be on the battle field at a time. Each monster has various abilities and element alignments. The element alignments determine if a particular monster is stronger, weaker, or average against another. For instance, a water based monster will do a lot of damage to a fire based monster.
An advanced system is included that allows summoners to boost their monster's traits, levels, and abilities. This process permits monsters to have abilities that they would not originally be able to inherit. For instance, a healing ability natural to a wind based monster can be passed onto a dark based monster. In addition, specific traits (strength, defense, magic, etc.), monster level, and ability strength can be boosted using points collected from battles.
The battle system itself is fairly basic, but includes a couple factors to make it more than a simple turn-based RPG. A fixed number of points from a monster's JP pool is removed when an ability is used. Abilities have different effects on monsters, which is denoted by the element associated with the attack and the attackee's element. Using the right attack can cause an entire group of enemies to have their turn pushed back or suffer more damage than expected. This is just one of several important considerations to make while playing. For instance, choosing the starting lineup is important. Having monsters of all the same element can be a bad choice. If the opposing monsters are all strong against the selected type, it is possible to have several turns skipped. The flipside is also a worthy consideration and important tactic to surviving in "Jewel Summoner".
Overall, "Jewel Summoner" turns out to be a pretty fun game. What I liked most about the game was the monster collection and RPG-element. In addition, the complex monster ability enhancement and evolution system give it an edge. As for the storyline, it was somewhat engaging. It began pretty thick and heavy with a corny and somewhat limited fantasy world. What worked for it were the characters. They were generally over-the-top and had distinct personality that was provided via their dialogue using voiceovers.
While I enjoyed the game, there was also an aspect I did not care for. The game's pacing was pretty slow. There were a lot of portions in the game where it was several, long minutes of dialogue. These points were far too much and really needed to get back into the action. I think had the game been sped up (or at least the delivery speed of dialogue) it would have been a lot better. There were times when I got so bored of it, I just had to set the game down. Eventually, I would come back to it, stomach the dialogue, and jump back into the action and enjoy the game.
In the end, "Jewel Summoner" makes for a strong RPG. For PSP gamers looking to get a solid RPG for on-the-go gaming, "Jewel Summoner" fits the bill. While the storyline is slightly over-the-top and somewhat overplayed with dialogue portions that feel too lengthy, there is still enough enjoyable game play with the battle system and monster evolution system to enjoy. "Jewel Summoner" comes recommended.