The term indie developer has kind of been diluted, but Crystarise is actually from an independent developer: YUKIUSAGI Games, based in Japan. Crystarise is an open-world action RPG that has players creating a sky island. As the island grows, the protagonist grows stronger. It’s really intriguing to me, and as a bonus, it’s now been announced that the game will be released before the year is over!
The main character is a young girl who has been given the goal of becoming to guardian deity of a mysterious sky island. She will travel between the normal (and quite large) world and the sky island. She will develop the island by fighting monsters and taking their resources. Monsters can be defeated with actions common to most, if not all, video game players: shooting and slashing. The perfect combination of long- and short-range combat! Resources can be used to customise the sky island.
The sky island is automatically (perhaps procedurally?) generated, with monsters, items, dungeons, and more appearing one after the other. It will expand indefinitely as the player moves through areas to get to the next. As the island gets larger, with decorative items and NPCs, the girl-turned-guardian deity will be given various powers to help her on her quest. For example, if the player puts up a bunch of windmills the girl will be able to move super quickly. A lot of streetlights mean night is lit as though it were daytime. And if a lot of slime is collected, the player will get a new slimy look.
I mentioned the term pastel in the subtitle, and while it’s not all in pastel, the game features isometric graphics with a somewhat subdued colour palette. That doesn’t mean everything is bright though, as many places appear to be cloaked in darkness.
Developed and published by YUKIUSAGI Games, Crystarise will be released for PC via Steam in late 2022. It will feature both Japanese and English language options.