Imagine for a second your standard 2D side scrolling bullet-hell game. Now add in melee combat combined with magical powers. Also, add in insanely difficult boss battles where a million projectiles are surrounding your opponent and coming straight for you. Turn the difficultly up to ten, and you have yourself Crescent Pale Mist.
You play as a young girl named Yunou, a sword master and magician who can control The Pale Mist: a dangerous substance that is used in magic that is seeping into our dimension. She has decided to go to its source to stop it from coming into our world.
As said above, Crescent Pale Mist is a 2D side scrolling game where you must navigate through maze-style areas all the while dodging projectiles and slashing enemies up with your sword. You also have the ability to use magic that can seriously damage your enemies, but using too much will fill up a magic overcharge meter. When this is full, you explode and damage yourself, so using too much magic can be a very bad thing. Using sword attacks releases Pale Mist into the air. You can then use the Pale Mist to transform it into attacks for better combos. Pale Mist is also used to heal yourself as well as increase your maximum HP.
Traversing the environment is much like a 2D side scroller. You can move left or right in order to make your way to the end of the level. The difference here is that you can also move into the foreground as well as the background. So, finding your way can prove challenging. You can also use a dagger throwing technique that does little damage, but combined with the Pale Mist will allow you to teleport to the enemy that you hit with the dagger. This will help with both creating combos as well as reaching hard to reach spots. While on your way to the end of the level, you will find pick-ups that will aid you in increasing your maximum health, magic, defense, and attack. These pick-ups are essential for when taking on the boss of the level.
The combat and platforming is rather floaty for the most part. You can dodge attacks by dashing for a brief period, but while moving, you feel like you’ll overshoot or fall short with your dashes and jumps which will leave you vulnerable to attacks and too far away to attack. The actual platforming is not too good. You can wall jump at certain parts, but the way it is handled is almost broken and confusing. If you want to wall jump, you have to push the direction of the wall you’re pressing against rather than pushing toward the wall you want to jump to. This is the complete opposite of every other game I’ve played with wall jumping, and this little problem caused me to die and lose my progress in the level way too many times.
Another thing I mentioned in my opening is the crazy boss fights. If you have ever played a Japanese developed bullet-hell game, you kind of know what to expect. The only difference here is you will have to rely on getting close to the boss to slash them with your sword. This is very difficult due to you having to dodge projectiles as well as the enemy’s melee attacks and other attacks that will knock you back. In most boss fights you can actually fly instead of walking and jumping, so you get a little more breathing room for the numerous amounts of attacks coming at you.
The worst part of the game is the checkpoint system, or should I say the lack of a checkpoint system. The only checkpoint you will get is if you make it to the boss fight of a level and die. If you die anywhere in the level before the boss, you have to start over from the beginning, and because the levels are like mazes, you’ll become frustrated very quickly.
The tutorial is a little lackluster. For a game that has such a complex combat system, I was hoping for more explanation than what I got. You get an idea of what to do, but you’ll end up having to figure out how to do a lot of the more complex moves on your own in the single player.
I’m a little confused with the game. It looks like an early PS2/late PS1 title. The game is sprite based with an anime art-style. It reminds me a lot of Symphony of the Night as far as graphics goes. I also saw on the title screen the copyright was 2006, so I don’t know when this game was made. It really feels like an older game both graphically and mechanically.
Crescent Pale Mist is a very strange game where everything works, but not the best that it could. The combat is actually rather in depth and action packed, but it doesn’t run as smoothly as it could due to the floatly platforming and jumping. The difficulty will push away a lot of people, but the bullet-hell fans could still find a little enjoyment out of the challenge. The story is there, but even if you are paying attention, you’ll lose interest. For the $6 price point, you’ll get an ok deal, but nothing to write home about other than how difficult the game can actually be.
Review copy provided by publisher.