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.
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