Since time before memory, the world has been covered by a poisonous fog known as miasma, in which monsters thrive and people perish. Towns have grown around magical crystals which keep the miasma at bay - but these crystals don't last forever, and must be recharged yearly with three drops of myrrh, a holy liquid that grows on trees. The trouble is that myrrh trees are guarded by exceptionally powerful monsters, and so the Crystal Caravans must annually fight these monsters and their minions to provide their towns with the myrrh they need. All four races - the earth-tilling Clavats, the shrewd Selkies, the warrior Lilties, and the mystic Yukes - have settled into this near-constant struggle for survival.
Though this premise seems at first simple, beyond it lies a deeper story.
Throughout the game are pseudo-random cutscenes and interesting dialogue sessions revealing the history of the land and many of its mysteries. You'll learn about the former dynasty of the Lilties, the arcane power of the Yukes, wandering characters (like a priest and a Black Knight) with their own tales to tell, and long-forgotten secrets of the world. Though Crystal Chronicles begins with a bland plot about simply saving your village, it later develops into a well-crafted epic of strife and heroism, more like the ones the Final Fantasy name is known for.
A crystal caravan has two powers at its disposal: a crystal chalice (which holds myrrh and keeps miasma away within a small radius), and the caravanners themselves.
Graphically, Crystal Chronicles is a marvel to see. Everything looks great and moves fluidly, from the chalice's beautiful radius of healing to the smooth and detailed character models. Sound effects (GBA aside) work well with the game, and while the soundtrack is at first uniformly unimpressive, there are several greatly-composed tracks lying in wait.