Crystal Defenders, originally released in Japan as Crystal Guardians, was a defensive strategy game in which players deploy Jobs from Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift, such as Black Mages and Soldiers, to fend off encroaching enemy hordes and prevent them from stealing their party's crystals. A remake of the game that goes by the name of Crystal Defenders +Plus was released for iOS featuring similar game content, smoother gameplay and additional downloadable maps. The game officially reached end-of-life as of May 31, 2016. While the iOS, Android, Wii and Fire OS versions have been removed, offline versions for PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, and Xbox 360 remain available.
There are 12 stages total in three different game versions, W1, W2, and W3. In W1, players can learn the game basics. In W2, the introduction of Power Crystals opens up new doors, allowing for deeper, more detailed strategies. Finally the complex maps in W3 are intended to challenge even the most seasoned players. The Wii versions of the game are numbered differently, only R1 and R2.
The object of the game is to defend a path which waves of enemies will walk through. There are a total of thirty waves, each one consisting of a specific type (or types) of enemy and the enemies get stronger with each progressive wave. If an enemy gets from one end of the path to the other, the player will lose one crystal. If the player should lose all twenty of their crystals then it is game over.
The player's first objective is to deploy units. When they have laid out their troops in a fashion they like they can then start the wave of enemies. For each enemy defeated the player is awarded money which can be used to buy new troops, power crystals or to level up their current troops, making them stronger. During a wave more troops can be placed or an Esper can be summoned for the prices of five crystals.
When all thirty waves are defeated, or even if the player loses, their performance will be scored based on how many waves they survived, how much money they had left, and how well they actually played.
In addition to the crystals a party must defend, players can also use gil to purchase and deploy special Power Crystals that enhance surrounding units' abilities. Units can receive the benefits of up to four Power Crystals of each type at once.
- Red Crystal: Increases attack power of nearby units.
- Blue Crystal: Increases attack range of nearby units. Regardless of the number of blue crystals in the vicinity, a unit's attack range can never exceed 230.
- Yellow Crystal: Increases attack speed of nearby units.
Once per wave, players have the option of using crystals to summon a powerful Esper. Espers can aid a party by dealing damage to monsters or granting units with beneficial effects. Espers cannot be summoned if a party does not possess at least six crystals, or three in the case of W3.
- Phoenix: Summon the spirit beast Phoenix for the cost of five crystals to double the party's attack power and range for the duration of one wave.
- Ramuh: Summon the gigas Ramuh for the cost of five crystals to deal damage to all monsters and lower their speed for the duration of one wave.
- Ifrit: Summon the gigas Ifrit for the cost of five crystals to deal damage to all monsters in an area.
- Carbuncle: Summon the sprite Carbuncle for the cost of five crystals to nullify resistances of all monsters in an area.
- Chocobo: Summon a herd of Chocobos for the cost of two crystals to deal damage to all monsters in the area. The damage caused is low.
- Unicorn: Summon the spirit beast Unicorn for the cost of five crystals to double your party's attack power and speed for the duration of one wave.
The first version, released in Japan as Crystal Guardians, was originally released for mobile phones. This game was released in a episodic format: W1, W2, and W3.
Services for feature phones in Japan were discontinued March 31, 2018 (JST) along with other titles in the Square Enix Mobile portfolio.
Xbox Games Store
The Xbox Games Store version costs 800 MS Points ($10) and contains W1, W2, and W3 in their entirety, and is played with the usual Xbox 360 controller. Like all XBLA games, it also has twelve achievements that add up to 200 gamerscore points.
The PlayStation Network version costs £7.99 in the UK and 9.99€ in the rest of Europe and $9.99 in the U.S. It contains stages W1, W2, and W3. A free demo is also available, presenting a 20-Wave Stage from W1 and the Soldier, Black Mage and Archer jobs.
The iPod version costs $4.99 (in Canada) and can be played on an iPod Nano or Classic. This version has the W1 and W2 stages and is played using the click wheel. It should be noted that this version seems to be much harder than the WiiWare version.
This version has the W1, W2, and W3 stages and makes a large amount of use from the touch controls making it simple. However, it is quite difficult like the standard iPod version each W chapter contains 4 maps, making a total of 12 and each map contains 30 waves. There are two versions: the full version and the Lite version, which only has one map and 20 waves from W1.
The upgrade to the game called Crystal Defenders +Plus contains W1, W2 and W3 stages, albeit with more enhanced graphics and smoother gameplay. This version can be downloaded for free and contains the free stage Bisga Greenlands from W1. Subsequent stages from W1, W2 and W3 will cost $2.99 each and a total of $7.99 for all three game packs. DLC maps were being planned for this upgrade.
The WiiWare version costs 800 Wii Points ($8) and comes in two installments, called R1 and R2. Both installments are available, the first of which contains the first 12 stages of the game (plus one bonus stage for getting a "perfect" on the first twelve) and is played using the Wii Remote held sideways. It should be noted that this version seems to be much easier than the iPod version.
The Android version costs $7.00 in the USA and features only W1 and W2. It is currently available on the Google Play store and the Amazon App store.
Achievements and trophies
In the PlayStation Network and Xbox Games Store versions, Crystal Defenders has twelve trophies/achievements. The total achievement points value is of 200, and the Trophy list consists of 8 Bronze Trophies, 4 Silver Trophies, and a Gold Trophy. Most of these achievements and trophies revolve around clearing waves and levels.
Firstly released in Japan as Crystal Guardians on January 28, 2008, it was ported to the NTT DoCoMo series of mobile phones through a point download system called iMode, costing 300 points or 350 Yen. Part of the Final Fantasy Mobile series, it was later improved and ported to other major console networks and renamed Crystal Defenders for later releases.