If you’ve ever wanted to play Pokémon, without actually playing Pokémon, now’s your chance! Coromon is the newest entry in the “pocket monsters” genre. While almost everything about this game seems… familiar, it differs from its (obvious) influencer in a few ways. The player begins the game on their first day of an exciting new job at a huge Coromon research facility called Lux Solis. As a Lux Solis Battle Researcher, it is your duty to battle, catch, and train over 100 Coromon and report your findings back to the lab.

At first glance, Coromon looks like it belongs on the GBA, and that’s not a bad thing. It takes me back to a time where I actually had fun playing these kinds of games. My only issue is how very similar it is to Pokémon, so I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way. Ready?

There are three starters to choose from. Wild encounters happen in places like tall grass. Battle animations look almost identical. You can carry six Coromon at a time. Battling them will gain experience points, which, in turn, will level up your Coromon and increase their stats. You can jump over ledges to avoid tall grass. Instead of Poké Ball, you capture Coromon in devices called “Spinners”. You can plant berries that will grow and help you in various ways during battle. Your Coromon can hold items… AND (takes deep breath) types are pretty much the same; normal, fire, ice, water, etc. With attacks being similar as well.

Now that I’ve told you most of the similarities, let’s go over some of Coromons original concepts. I really like that Coromon lets you choose your difficulty level. You can choose to enjoy an easier, more relaxed experience, or if you’re up for a challenge, choose a harder difficulty and test your skills, and you can change the difficulty any time from the Lux Research Facility. The Coromon themselves look awesome. Their types and attacks are similar to Pokémon, but their designs are neat, and original. You can catch and evolve 120 different species of Coromon. It was also pretty cool to be able to customize my character. While the clothing options are simple, there are a lot of variations to choose from. It gives Coromon a personal touch.

Another significant difference is that the battles are stamina based. So instead of having PP for separate attacks, the player must utilize the Coromons stamina meter, which decreases every time an action is used. Items and status effects can increase your stamina during battle, giving the player more to work with in terms of strategy and attacks. The Stamina meter was only an issue during the lengthier, more intense battles. But you can always use store-bought or found items to replenish your Coromons’ stamina. There are also boss battles. These were probably the most frustrating part of the game. Their attacks can kill you in one hit. They just seem overly difficult in my opinion, compared to the rest of the game.

There are no gym leaders to battle, or a league that you must strive to beat. Your purpose is to research and find the essence of the six Titans in the region. Though, later on, you realize there is more to the story, and of course you end up saving the world somehow. As for the look and feel, I really love retro graphics, so there are no complaints there. The music was good too. I think I read that there are over 50 original tracks to accompany you on your adventure. The gameplay time can vary depending on your play style. If you want to get everything and see every location to its extent, you could be playing Coromon for well over 20 hours. Coromon plays very well. It’s one of those games that feels natural in handheld mode, but it looks great on the big screen as well. The controls and graphics remind me of the game Golf Story. In fact, now that I mention it, it looks a lot like Golf Story.

The overworld map is covered by a giant cloud that recedes the more you explore. It helped me figure out where I’ve been and where I need to go. The player will travel to six different areas in the world of Velua. Each area has different species of Coromon, a Titan essence to collect, side quests to complete, and different routes to explore. You can find all kinds of different things depending on the path you take. You can also travel between these areas using a teleporter, once they have been visited for the first time. The different environments are really detailed and feel much bigger than they actually are. You can travel to a desert, fiery volcano, icy wonderland and more. Along the way you will pass quite a few small towns and bustling cities, filled with secrets, items, quests and trainers to battle.

There is a helpful quest log in the pause menu to track your side quests. It also lists Coromon Trainers that you meet during your travels that want to trade Coromon. Speaking of other Coromon Trainers, you can also challenge your friends to online battles. This is a pretty cool feature. Even though it’s nothing new, it’s always fun to get competitive and see if your Coromon Squad is better than your friend’s.

Obviously Coromon was influenced by a few awesome games, but I truly think any Pokémon or RPG fan could play this and enjoy their experience. You’ll probably be comparing everything like I did in the beginning, but after a while Coromon feels like it’s own game, and you start to notice all of the differences instead of the similarities. With over 20 hours of gameplay (for completionists) Coromon is a great game if you’re looking for something fun and familiar to play.