Notice: All forms on this website are temporarily down for maintenance. You will not be able to complete a form to request information or a resource. We apologize for any inconvenience and will reactivate the forms as soon as possible.

Crystal Story: Dawn of Dusk

Crystal Story: Dawn of Dusk


Release Date

ESRB Rating




Bob Hoose

Game Review

As modern game consoles become more technologically advanced, and their games grow more graphically spectacular, many still love good ol’ retro, throwback fare. Fans and indie gamemakers alike yearn to see titles that evoke the 16-bit charm of yesteryear.

Developer Fred Brown has produced a homage to those games of yore with Crystal Story: Dawn of Dusk, a game that feels a bit like a blending of an old Super Nintendo Zelda game with something like the überpopular indie title Undertale.

In this Crystal Story entry, gamers take on the role of a fiery-haired young girl named Mina. But Mina has more than just blazing red hair going for her. She also has the ability to wield and shoot balls of flame. And after having some frightening dreams about an encounter with a fierce beast in the woods, she finds herself setting off on a quest.

Mina lives in a sunny world known as Dawnside. But years ago, her brother was mysteriously kidnapped by an evil force. She’s wished for her brother’s return for many a year. But this year, she’s determined to rescue him. And to do so, young Mina ventures into the parallel world of Duskside, a shattered-nighttime dimension that’s threatened by a mucky blight and a foul creature called Termina.

Gamers guide Mina through her journey after she discovers and charges up her fiery ability at “crystal nexus” points hidden in the woods. She then uses flames and a found sword and lance to battle dark slimes, hovering ghosties and fearsome monsters. Mina also develops special magical “Arts”—bomb-like large attacks—that she uses to best the dark world’s crumbling mansions and soggy marshes and solve its puzzles.

Crystal Story: Dawn of Dusk is a point-and-click adventure that challenges players to switch back and forth between different weapons and magical attacks as foes move in from various angles. Players also gather items; run, jump and navigate through varied terrains; solve environmental puzzles; and take on big bosses in turn-based RPG battles.

It should also be noted that this is only the first chapter of a story that is being released episodically. And though this indie title does not have an official ESRB rating, it feels very much like an E 10+, or at worst, a T-rated game. (See content details below.)


The graphics, action and turn-based battles feel heavily inspired by 16-bit classics. That results in pleasant images and musical underscores reminiscent of older games. Those pixelated visuals also mean that there’s no gore or mess during the slash and magic-blast battles. The game’s puzzles and RPG battles are enjoyable without ever being overly difficult. …


That said, there are some regularly attacking foes that require a quick weapon change and that can become irritating, which detracts from the enjoyment factor. And there is a dark feel to some of this game’s magic-laced story. We’re told for instance, that the major monster threat, Termina, was a mystical manifestation of “the centuries of bloodshed and suffering that prior wars had caused.”

Some occasional light language is in the gaming mix. Gamers will encounter a use of “d–n it” and “h—,” along with uses of the words “crap,” “heck” and “geez.”


Crystal Story: Dawn of Dusk offers gamers a very nice taste of throwback gaming feel. But you’ll have to wait for future episodes to get your full games worth.

Bob Hoose

After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.