Crystal Alliance iPhone game: A fun premise ruined by difficulty

I can’t think of many instances where I actually couldn’t wait to stop playing an iPhone app I was reviewing. Crystal Alliance is among the first. A game about a guy with a gun protecting magic crystals sounded pretty appealing to me, but too much doesn’t work here for this to be a recommendation of any kind.

That’s not to say Crystal Alliance does nothing well. The graphic style with the cell-shaded comic book-esque characters is a nice touch, and the music isn’t terribly bad either. Even the basic gameplay concepts- having to move your character into one of four firing lines to match up your shot, and being able to purchase items and spells for your character- sound appealing. Really, they do!

Unfortunately, awkward controls and extremely persistent enemies make this a complete non-starter for me.

Early on in the game, you’re taught that to fire your weapon, it must be charged for a short time. Shortly after that, a concept is introduced that supposedly speeds up the charging, but it also simultaneously tells you that now you also have to aim the line of your shot, not just the line your character is standing in.

Meanwhile, nothing seems to have been sped up at all. And then you die over and over again. This has been my basic experience playing Crystal Alliance. I’ve been playing video games for nearly 20 years, so I’m pretty sure I’m not completely at fault here.

I can’t quite decide if the game has made itself overly complex or the instructions just explain the controls poorly, but either way, I know that I cannot recommend this title when there are other, much more intuitive shooters in the iTunes App Store.

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