Pocket Crystal League (opens in a new tab) is a Pokémon-style card game, but it’s not, you know, the Pokemon card game. This free project on itch.io by indie developer moodytail adapts the colorful and fun Pocket Monsters to the addictive structure of last year’s hit indie card game, Inscryption.
Like Inscryption, players draw from one deck for resources and one for units, in this case using various amounts and types of Pokémon series distinctive berries to put Pokémon into play, with the ultimate goal of earning a “shotgun blast.” the rope “. ” with opponents on a shared pool of life points. Uncontested Pokemon can attack the opposing player directly and must be blocked with another Pokemon on their turn.
Moodytail sheds the creepy, psychological story of Inscryption in favor of pure strategic fun, and to that end introduced new elements mixing up card battles. Type advantage can make a huge difference in competitions with enemy Pokemon, for example. Additionally, there is one more field slot compared to Inscryption, bringing the total number of maps in play to five, and moodytail has incorporated upgrading and evolving individual maps.
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The Connective Tissue of Battles is a turn-based progression through the wilderness between Gyms. Each round offers a choice of one of many essential progression activities, including battling other trainers for money, upgrading your deck, acquiring new cards, and more. I found myself racking my brains over the optimal choice at each stage, and it may be necessary to re-run areas to build a deck strong enough to challenge the demanding leaders of Pocket Crystal League gyms.
Pocket Crystal League really scratched my Gwent/Inscryption itch, and with eight Gym Leaders and the levels present between them, it’s an impressive package for a free solo fan game. The only catch is the attention it may receive from Nintendo’s attorneys. The Big N has been far less accommodating of fan creations than other publishers, and moodytail is prepared for the impact of an almost inevitable cease-and-desist. The developer, however, is proud of his work and wants to share it with as wide an audience as possible until that day comes.