If roleplaying games are your cup of tea, I would find it to be impossible to believe that you've never heard of Atlus, or if the name isn't immediately recognizable, surely you've played an Atlus game at some point in your life. Originally founded in 1986, this Tokyo-based developer (and publisher) have been responsible for quite a number of games on nearly every console going all the way back to the NES. Like many Japanese developers, games of theirs we see in the USA are filtered through an American subsidiary and the games released by Atlus USA are only a small sampling of what is actually available in the East. Their most recognizable US releases are likely the Tactics Ogre series (which I'd love to see on the App Store) and Disgaea: Hour of Darkness.

Published via Nate Games, a somewhat confusing spinoff of South Korean telecommunications operator SK Telecom comes the even more confusing iPhone port of the PSP game Crimson Gem Saga [$9.99]. Crimson Gem Saga is actually the sequel to an RPG called Astonishia Story, originally published in South Korea by SK Telecom as Astonishia Story 2, then as Garnet Chronicle in Japan, and finally as Crimson Gem Saga in North America. The reasoning behind all this odd name swapping is that even though the story is actually continued from Astonishia Story, quite a few of the game's mechanics were changed, and somehow, somewhere, someone thought three different titles for the same game would make this less confusing.

Despite this twisted web of renaming and publishing, Crimson Gem Saga actually was reviewed quite well when it was originally released on the PSP. Sporting a metascore of 78 and a user score of 8.2 over on Metacritic, the gaming media seemed to enjoy the turn-based gameplay even though the game itself doesn't do anything particularly new or exciting in either the gameplay or storytelling departments.

We're still working on our review of the game, as any game that boasts over 30 hours of gameplay is going to take some time to review, but initial impressions in our forums seem mostly positive with the main issues centralizing around the somewhat expected clunky nature of the port as the game went from the physical controls of the PSP to the virtual controls of the iPhone. Clumsy controls aside, Crimson Gem Saga on the iPhone is the same game available currently on the PSP which sells for three times as much.

  • Brandon

    Sold...

  • Brandon

    Sold...

  • tsharpfilm

    If this game is half as good as Chaos Rings, I'm buying it!

  • tsharpfilm

    If this game is half as good as Chaos Rings, I'm buying it!

  • anon

    Never expected voice overs on the iPhone, this game's production value blows away crap like Inotia and Zenonia.

    • tsharpfilm

      And I thought I was the only one who didn't like those games. Lol. I'd much rather play a PC style RPG or JRPG (ex. Final Fantasy 7, Fallout, etc) than an SNES style RPG.

    • Mercury

      Zenonia was horribly overrated. Its a cheap mobile phone game and nothing more. Far from the quality of even a mediocre SNES RPG.

      I have Crimson Gem Saga on the PSP and its okay but nothing special. Now if the Disgaea series ever came to iPhone, that would be worth celebrating.

      • MisterDrgn

        I would love to see something like Disgaea on the iPhone, but I never really saw the appeal of replaying a game I already own and can already play on a higher-quality screen.

      • akira01

        Crimson is a very good RGP. Not only "OK but...."...A real and good console quality RPG for the iPHone. That's all...

  • anon

    Never expected voice overs on the iPhone, this game's production value blows away crap like Inotia and Zenonia.

    • tsharpfilm

      And I thought I was the only one who didn't like those games. Lol. I'd much rather play a PC style RPG or JRPG (ex. Final Fantasy 7, Fallout, etc) than an SNES style RPG.

    • Mercury

      Zenonia was horribly overrated. Its a cheap mobile phone game and nothing more. Far from the quality of even a mediocre SNES RPG.

      I have Crimson Gem Saga on the PSP and its okay but nothing special. Now if the Disgaea series ever came to iPhone, that would be worth celebrating.

      • MisterDrgn

        I would love to see something like Disgaea on the iPhone, but I never really saw the appeal of replaying a game I already own and can already play on a higher-quality screen.

      • akira01

        Crimson is a very good RGP. Not only "OK but...."...A real and good console quality RPG for the iPHone. That's all...

  • stlredbird

    Must.... resist.... buying....

    ...failed. I'm buyin' it!

  • stlredbird

    Must.... resist.... buying....

    ...failed. I'm buyin' it!

  • JCat

    I wish something like the the old Dungeon Siege on PC would come out on iPhone - it'll never happen though, as MS was the manufacturer. Instead, we have to settle for empty-headed fast food RPGS like Dungeon Hunter. Wish I can get into Japanese RPGS but I simply cannot, because I had wordy RPGS and the usual playschool-looking characters and the boy who wakes up out of bed because his father is lost blah blah blah..

    • noah

      Oh man, I loved Dungeon Siege back in the day!

    • Anon

      Sorry but Dungeon Siege was mediocre at best. It aimed to be a mix of Diablo and Baldur's Gate but had neither the addictive fun of the former nor the depth and scope of the latter. Wait, scratch that, it didn't even manage to get close to the depth of Diablo 2.

  • JCat

    I wish something like the the old Dungeon Siege on PC would come out on iPhone - it'll never happen though, as MS was the manufacturer. Instead, we have to settle for empty-headed fast food RPGS like Dungeon Hunter. Wish I can get into Japanese RPGS but I simply cannot, because I had wordy RPGS and the usual playschool-looking characters and the boy who wakes up out of bed because his father is lost blah blah blah..

    • noah

      Oh man, I loved Dungeon Siege back in the day!

    • Anon

      Sorry but Dungeon Siege was mediocre at best. It aimed to be a mix of Diablo and Baldur's Gate but had neither the addictive fun of the former nor the depth and scope of the latter. Wait, scratch that, it didn't even manage to get close to the depth of Diablo 2.

  • Matt

    I thought this game was pretty good on PSP. I especially like the graphics, and the gameplay while not original is enjoyable.

  • Matt

    I thought this game was pretty good on PSP. I especially like the graphics, and the gameplay while not original is enjoyable.

  • klouud

    I was having fun with Joan de Arc on PSP - that would be a great port!

  • klouud

    I was having fun with Joan de Arc on PSP - that would be a great port!

  • araczynski

    is this touch/phone only? or universal?

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      It's not universal, but apparently looks very good on an iPad (according to someone in the game thread). I doubt that we will see an HD version, since that would involve redrawing all the handmade art -- in a game like this, that's a tall order, particularly at App Store prices.

  • araczynski

    is this touch/phone only? or universal?

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      It's not universal, but apparently looks very good on an iPad (according to someone in the game thread). I doubt that we will see an HD version, since that would involve redrawing all the handmade art -- in a game like this, that's a tall order, particularly at App Store prices.

  • bob

    http://www.freepsnpoints.com/?i=129722

    free itunes and psn codes

  • marley
  • bob

    http://www.freepsnpoints.com/?i=129722

    free itunes and psn codes

  • marley
  • Chinito77

    Atlus, Please release a touched up SRW game for the iPhone. It will be an instant buy. Thank you.

  • Chinito77

    Atlus, Please release a touched up SRW game for the iPhone. It will be an instant buy. Thank you.

  • Tangent

    Really enjoying this game, but the menus - especially while shopping and trying to select gear, are the worst I've experienced in ANY iPhone game to date. It's so bad it feels literally unintended (aka a bug).

  • Tangent

    Really enjoying this game, but the menus - especially while shopping and trying to select gear, are the worst I've experienced in ANY iPhone game to date. It's so bad it feels literally unintended (aka a bug).

  • http://www.fx4boutique.com FX4

    I really love games like this. Everything looks so neat, and its easy to play a game like this too much. Nice work!

  • http://www.fx4boutique.com FX4

    I really love games like this. Everything looks so neat, and its easy to play a game like this too much. Nice work!

  • Noam

    Moderator, there are a few nested spam comments here :)

  • Noam

    Moderator, there are a few nested spam comments here :)

  • Pat

    Holy hell!!!! this game is awesome. i was having my doughts about this game but wow was i wrong its good. Im useing the 3g with os 4 and everything runs smooth.

  • Pat

    Holy hell!!!! this game is awesome. i was having my doughts about this game but wow was i wrong its good. Im useing the 3g with os 4 and everything runs smooth.

  • Ramon

    No retina display support... FAIL.

    • Noam

      Common with these Retina Display feature request, yes you are amazing for having iPhone 4, but please keep it to yourself :)

    • kacak

      for assuming a game fail for lacking retina support.. you FAIL

  • Ramon

    No retina display support... FAIL.

    • Noam

      Common with these Retina Display feature request, yes you are amazing for having iPhone 4, but please keep it to yourself :)

    • kacak

      for assuming a game fail for lacking retina support.. you FAIL

  • http://www.genializa.com Aletor

    I like this game... don't make me feel as if I were playing a phone game. It's not the overrated Zenonia, it's something better, a 'real' console game. That's why I suggest you all to buy it. I just can't stop playing!!

    But it has its problems... the control is pretty bad due to his d-pad, and the menu system is horrible (I don't even know how to leave the equipment screen, I just press anywhere until something happens). Don't get me wrong it's not as frustrating as it sounds, the entire game is good enough to not make you feel so bad when navigating the menu...but C'mon!! (developers) Let's solve these issues, it could be a Master piece with just a few changes. It's all about the gameplay.

    Btw, If you like Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, etc. you'd enjoy this one. I give it a 8 out of 10. (because of it menu system)

    I want to see more games like this in my Iphone. It worths the price.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      You leave the equipment menu by tapping outside of the menu area. This is consistent through the entire game, and once you get uses to it, it's not really a problem. It would probably be better if they had a back button, but I guess they didn't want to clutter the screen.

      Also, the fixed D-pad works better than the floating one.

  • http://www.genializa.com Aletor

    I like this game... don't make me feel as if I were playing a phone game. It's not the overrated Zenonia, it's something better, a 'real' console game. That's why I suggest you all to buy it. I just can't stop playing!!

    But it has its problems... the control is pretty bad due to his d-pad, and the menu system is horrible (I don't even know how to leave the equipment screen, I just press anywhere until something happens). Don't get me wrong it's not as frustrating as it sounds, the entire game is good enough to not make you feel so bad when navigating the menu...but C'mon!! (developers) Let's solve these issues, it could be a Master piece with just a few changes. It's all about the gameplay.

    Btw, If you like Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, etc. you'd enjoy this one. I give it a 8 out of 10. (because of it menu system)

    I want to see more games like this in my Iphone. It worths the price.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      You leave the equipment menu by tapping outside of the menu area. This is consistent through the entire game, and once you get uses to it, it's not really a problem. It would probably be better if they had a back button, but I guess they didn't want to clutter the screen.

      Also, the fixed D-pad works better than the floating one.

  • Darren

    I cant get into Japanese RPG's as I hate their style of combat. Now bring a Baldurs Gate or Diablo 2 clone to iPhone and ill get it

    • http://soiled.com Gload

      Um there are LOTS of Diablo II clones dude.

  • Darren

    I cant get into Japanese RPG's as I hate their style of combat. Now bring a Baldurs Gate or Diablo 2 clone to iPhone and ill get it

    • http://soiled.com Gload

      Um there are LOTS of Diablo II clones dude.

  • TrevHero

    This game is great. You guys summed up what i have to say it about it. the only cons are the menus and dpad IMO. Also, has anyone had a problem with not being able to leave the equip screen when using bronze medallions?

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      Yes. The developer is aware of the issue. For now, you can still level up your skills by using all the bronze medallions at once -- you can even switch characters. Once you have used the last medallion, you'll be able to leave the menu.

      On the DPad, switch to the fixed one in the options menu -- works a lot better.

  • TrevHero

    This game is great. You guys summed up what i have to say it about it. the only cons are the menus and dpad IMO. Also, has anyone had a problem with not being able to leave the equip screen when using bronze medallions?

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      Yes. The developer is aware of the issue. For now, you can still level up your skills by using all the bronze medallions at once -- you can even switch characters. Once you have used the last medallion, you'll be able to leave the menu.

      On the DPad, switch to the fixed one in the options menu -- works a lot better.

  • http://3angrygamers.com Archimedes

    Once I switched to fixed D-Pad, it became a much more enjoyable experience. Good stuff.

  • http://3angrygamers.com Archimedes

    Once I switched to fixed D-Pad, it became a much more enjoyable experience. Good stuff.

  • alan

    I can't seem to do a critical combo. I did it once with luck but still not sure where to tap in that small time-frame. There was no help or instruction... :(

  • alan

    I can't seem to do a critical combo. I did it once with luck but still not sure where to tap in that small time-frame. There was no help or instruction... :(

  • tm

    great game. the controls are definitely manic at first but you get used to them. do mini finger swipes to move between menus, tap the items you want, and to exit tap anywhere outside of the dark gray boxes.

    critical combos: just tap the bottom middle of the screen after every attack, you'll have a higher chance of landing them that way.

    -tm

  • tm

    great game. the controls are definitely manic at first but you get used to them. do mini finger swipes to move between menus, tap the items you want, and to exit tap anywhere outside of the dark gray boxes.

    critical combos: just tap the bottom middle of the screen after every attack, you'll have a higher chance of landing them that way.

    -tm

  • Heart

    Good quality, very bad design and extremely glitchy (almost unplayable on the iPhone 3G, I'm 20% into the game and I've experienced at least 50 crashes, on average one crash per 5-10 minutes). The game has basically no strategy involved at all. You take turns using the same attacks over and over again until the enemy is dead, and hope that you don't get one-hit-KOed. Basically the only "challenge" this game has are bosses that one-hit-KO your characters, which can't really be "strategically avoided" now can it? Many of the spells simply have different names but have the exact same effect/damage, so you're left with about 2 skills for each character that are actually usable. The game also has horrendous grind, because in order to reveal AND learn skills, you'll need to grind around 10-20 battles PER SKILL PER CHARACTER (points are shared between ALL characters).
    Good voice acting though, and pretty good graphics (not so sure about character portraits, they definitely need some work), and surprisingly there's a short anime cutscene in the beginning which has never been seen before for iDevice titles.
    2/5 until all crash bugs are fixed, then it would be 3/5