Crystal Crusade represents that growing trend of mix-and-match game play styles. As a God-like leader foretold by the Cloud People, your job is to earn funds for your medieval army. You do this by playing a match-three style game, to build up The Queen’s Army to full strength. So, you’re basically a charity fund raiser! The aim is to build a powerful fighting force, so they can tackle tribes of marauding trolls invading the land. Battles are fought automatically, but you can influence the outcome with spells earned and stats boosted during match three, and by improving the skills of your men.
Each battle has set objectives, use a particular unit, have so many survive and so on. You can meet these to earn extra goodies. These include spells, and PowerStones that improve your men’s health, skills and other attributes. Each army has a leader and if you lose yours, then you fail the mission. More leaders can be unlocked as your progress with new skills to bring to the battle. As you uncover more units like archers, poleaxe-men and wizards, you gain more flexibility in how you can line-up your forces. Some missions need a spot of careful planning. Sometimes, to get all the stars, you’ll have to use a certain type of troop, or have them survive.
As your army moves across the land, match three games become more complex with time limits, rare tokens or bonus effects. Getting four in a row or complex patterns creates blasts that can win tokens. You can also win money for achieving certain tasks, or via in-app purchases, to help level up fighters or buy new spells. In battle, you can call in reinforcements at the cost of some credit, but in app purchases aren’t exactly onerous. However, when you do lose, your hero will take some time to recover, begging eager players to pay up!
With a gentle learning curve, Crystal Crusade welcomes all players. With charming presentation, here-we-go-adventuring music, a modest degree of depth to the battle system and fun mechanics, there’s a lot to love about it. If there’s anything wrong, its only that the lack of plot makes it less interesting than it could be! Otherwise, this is a happy mix of two genres with a gentle blend of the best of both.