games, otherwise known as indie titles by Japanese developers that have been making an even bigger presence on the PSN as of late, are definitely a niche category of games. They are generally chaotic, fun and quite often simultaneously frustrating. Crescent Pale Mist is the perfect embodiment of these adjectives.
Crescent Pale Mist is something of a side-scrolling adventure. The platforming requirements, however, take you to both the foreground and background as you make your way across ledges and platforms to find your way out of the confusing labyrinths of levels that compose the game, which often require the gamer to break crystals and drop barriers to closed-off areas of the levels.
The character you navigate along these paths is a small girl with the rare power of being able to convert Pale Mist (a magical energy) into fairly complicated moves. Some enemies young Yunou encounters can only be affected by these Pale Mist powered moves, and it will require some experimenting to both figure this out as well as master being able to perform them on cue when needed. Other abilities have advantageous benefits such as teleportation to a targeted enemy. Users must beware, however, as exerting too much of this energy will result in magic leakage, and that certainly does not sound pleasant.
Boss levels, when you can finally stumble upon them, inevitably have you flying in the air due to such extreme levels of Pale Mist on the screen thereby allowing you to approach the boss head on as opposed to dodging attacks from the ground. While other enemies are generally more of a nuisance (particularly in numbers), boss battles will actually require you to put your full force of combination moves to use. This can be tricky given the hectic onslaught of damage initiated by said boss, and is something doujin gamers will be accustomed to.
Crescent Pale Mist is certainly not a game for everyone. The storyline is read to you via dialogue text accompanied by 2D art renditions of the characters involved in the dialogue in question. You learn that protagonist Yunou is wandering a taboo country in an attempt to eradicate the problem of Pale Mist seeping into the outside world. This isn’t necessarily a new idea within video game related context, but the storyline does a good job of staying within its own realm and slowly introducing the background stories and characters to you.
Storyline, however, was never a prominent aspect of this game. When considering what marks Crescent Pale Mist as a unique title, it is easily the difficult and demanding platforming gameplay. Crescent Pale Mist is completely unforgiving. Besides a 90-second timed respawn button that you can activate only when it is seen on-screen, each level is without save points or second attempts. Wall jumping can be incredibly tasking, as well, given the need for both a perfect angle and perfect reflexes. If you are not a gamer that likes to be challenged to the point of severe repetition and many retries, Crescent Pale Mist might be too demanding. Platforming experts, however, will likely embrace the challenge.
There is not much guidance in the game. A list of special moves are posted in the pause menu, but they are obscure particularly when compared to the manual provided by Rockin’ Android on the official website
. Furthermore, the labyrinths can be confusing given the consistency within each level. I’ve countless times run down the same path not remembering where it ends, but this is an arbitrary fact given that I do not boast a reliable memory to begin with. Nevertheless, much wandering will be needed to locate all parts of the mazes in each level. Some areas will be off-limits until crystals located around the maps are shattered. The one benefit to wandering, however, is locating beneficial orbs that increase your attack, defense, HP, etc.
I personally like a game I can pick up and put down at my own pace. Crescent Pale Mist will have you glued to your seat for at least one full hour of agonizing attempts at platforming and boss battling just to complete one level. With a total of six levels to complete, an expert doujin gamer might be able to finish the game in no lengthy amount of time at all. To those who comparatively shy away from extended levels of what can sometimes feel like anguish, the challenge might not feel rewarding enough.