Let’s address the Phanpy in the room straight away: yes, this is a pixel-art JRPG in which a young trainer battles their way across a dangerous land with a squad of adorable ‘mons by their side. That particular niche is, of course, Pokémon’s home turf. Pokémon is the highest-grossing media franchise in the world (no, really), commanding a veritable megalith of nostalgia. A Macy’s parade-sized Pikachu balloon hovers ominously over these lands, smiling. Who dares stand beneath that giant inflatable rodent, floating up there in the sky, threatening to block out the sun?
Jochem Pouwels and Marcel van der Made have been working on Coromon for seven years; after the first two, they formed their studio TRAGsoft, which stands for ‘Two Ridiculously Ambitious Guys’. Their goal is to create a modern JRPG that incorporates influences from classic Game Boy Advance era games; not just Pokémon, but Zelda, Golden Sun, and Chrono Trigger, too.
The risk, of course, with making games that remind you of some of the most beloved series of all time is that players will ask why they should play this rather than the original? Would I choose to play Coromon when I can play Pokémon or Zelda instead? The answer: absolutely.