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Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner - Impression

MK: Jewel Summoner
Platform: PSP
Developer: Gaia
Publisher: Atlus
Release Date: 02.13.2007
The beautiful Rose Nebula

Running through town

Making a new sword

Do you like my shoes?!

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by Mikel Tidwell

Vice is a solemn man. He does not share pleasantries with others. He does not look to the bright side. He only works toward his goal. He has but one goal in his life: to avenge his mother. She was slain by an Abomination. The only detail he shares with others is that the beast has wings.

While summoners are not a rare sight, Vice brings attention to himself with his unusual technique for summoning. When people ask about it, he only shares that he is a hunter, not a summoner. He never explains the difference, but others accept it without question. It's a bit of an uneasy start for this story. Vice has to work with other summoners while still hunting his prey, and he makes clear he doesn't need their help, but never refuses it.

"The focus stays with the characters instead of the monsters they carry."

Because characters use summoned monsters to engage in battle, many people have tried to relate this game with the Pokémon series. It's easier to list what the game has in common with the popular collection series than what it does not. There are a total of 110 monsters to find to complete the compendium. Monsters do gain experience and evolve in the game. They even start out with four move slots available. But that's where the likeness ends.

Monster growth is decided by two components: the experience points gained in battle, and a fusing process called Amalgamy. Amalgamy attaches various pieces of elemental quartz, found all over the world, to the individual jewel the summoned monster resides inside. These fusions enhance the statistics of the monster, add new moves, and on rare occasions, can add a fifth move slot, or even evolve the monster.

There are eight elements in the game: fire, water, lightning, earth, wind, ice, light and dark. All monsters have a single elemental type and finding the weaknesses in a monster is simple--follow the Elemental Circle available early in the game. Hitting the weak point deals damage well over five times the amount from a normal attack, so playing the weak point is key in long battles.

Battles are fought in a turn-based rotation with multiple monsters on each side. The three characters each summon one monster, keeping up to two in reserve in case they need them. The order of action is on the bottom of the screen. Striking a monster's weakness can delay the monster's turn, but abusing this tactic will enrage the monster, increasing its attack for a round. Once enraged, the monster can not be delayed again until it has a turn.

Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner starts out slowly as it establishes its story, but once it gets rolling and the nuances of the battle system are explained, play time flies by. Once underway, the focus stays with the characters instead of the monsters they carry. With less time required to keep the story flowing, it should bring new life to the RPG-starved PSP.

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