Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner is a slightly darker take on the collectible-creature formula made popular by the PokÃ©mon games. But while the monsters are a bit more imposing and the characters are a bit less clothed, Jewel Summoner certainly isn't mature in any sense. It's a bland role-playing game wrapped around a compelling, if unoriginal, creature-collection system. The greatest shortcoming of Jewel Summoner isn't its dull story, dearth of character, or lifeless world. Rather, the most nagging issue is the extremely slow progression of the game and a very poor action-to-dialogue ratio. If you can forgive those problems, you'll find several hours of passable entertainment in Jewel Summoner.
In a time long forgotten, humans and monsters peacefully coexisted in the world. But then The Great Disaster came along and turned all of the world's monsters into jewels for some reason. The jewels became a source of power, which was harnessed by the humans to build a great and powerful civilization. Fast-forward many years later, and all of a sudden, monsters known as "abominations" have started to appear and attack people. A young, mysterious man named Vice sets out to defeat the abomination that killed his mother, only to find that he has hidden powers that assign him a much greater destiny. Could it be that Vice is meant to save the world?
Vice is a jewel summoner, a special kind of warrior able to summon monsters from the jewels left behind after The Great Disaster. There is a special group of these warriors known as The Order, and they go around the world using their powers to help people in need. Early in the game Vice joins up with The Order and picks a couple of companion summoners who accompany him for the rest of the game. You and your party of three get assigned missions from The Order. Most of these missions require you to travel to a dungeon, fight your way through some twisting, confusing corridors, and eventually kill the abomination that is causing all the trouble. But you'll visit the same couple of dungeons multiple times, which makes the game feel more like work than an adventure. Compounding the tedium is the unnecessarily lengthy and dull dialogue that you have to sit through before you set out on each mission. It's extremely annoying to be forced to listen to several long conversations when you just want to get down to business and start killing monsters.
Whenever you're in a dungeon you'll often be drawn into random battles. Instead of fighting these battles out with fists or weapons in the traditional sense, each of your characters summons a creature to do the fighting. You can equip up to three monster jewels per character, effectively giving you access to nine monsters in any given battle. The battles are turn-based, and you control your monsters directly. Each monster initially has four slots to which you can assign abilities. There are normal physical attacks, but the most common abilities involve elemental magic. Every monster in the game is assigned to one of eight elements, and by using your knowledge of the relationship between elements you can exploit your enemies' weaknesses. You can also use elemental prisms to capture enemy monsters to use as your own.
There are more than 100 monsters to collect in the game, so you have a lot of options when deciding how to set up your battle party. The monsters you use in battle gain experience, level up, and learn new abilities. That means that you'll probably end up developing a small handful of monsters for fighting, while collecting the rest just for the sake of filling out your monster compendium. In addition to the basic training monsters receive in battle, you can teach them other abilities and even get them to evolve and take on more powerful forms. This is accomplished through the needlessly complicated process of amalgamy. You can collect or purchase special items and different bits of quartz that you can take along with your monster jewels to a jewel meister, who will imbue your monsters with new powers and stat boosts. Do this enough times, and eventually your monster will evolve based on the element of the quartz you have fused with your monster jewel. It's an annoying, convoluted process, but you'll need to use it if you want to collect all of the monsters in the game.