Developed By: Dreams Uncorporated, SYCK Published By: Modus Games Categories: RPG Release Date: 07.20.21
*Cris Tales would not allow me to capture any screenshots or video*
Before release I was often wondering what the big deal with Cris Tales was. Of all indie games I saw advertisements and posters for it at big chain stores like Gamestop. After playing it, I started to understand.
The best way to describe Cris Tales is like making a Mario RPG style game with impeccable presentation and time travel mechanics. You play as a young girl name Crisbell (the Cris names don’t end here, believe me). Crisbell is a time mage, who early on learns of her powers to manipulate time, taking things and moments from the past or future to guide her. After a small adventure, a tragedy happens near her home, with her blamed for it. Teamed up with another time mage and another child, she escapes on a journey to fix this.
Discussing Cris Tales means we need to discuss how Crisbell uses her Time Crystal. You’ll see the past on the left, and the future on the right. The future might not look so bright, but you can fix that. However, you can’t fix everything. An early side quest has you choose between fixing someone’s home and fixing a local potion refinery. You’ll need to consider what means more to you, as you’ll have rewards and consequences for your choices. But thankfully, it’s all still in the future, so maybe you’ll have time to fix it. How exactly are we using time for this however? Well, we need a certain fruit from a tree. We need to go into the past to plant it, then go to the future to bare it’s fruit, then bring the fruit to the present.
In fights, it gets more exciting. Quick example is poison. Bring an enemy into the past, plant a poisonous seed on them, then throw the enemy back into the present or future, and they’ll be overwhelmed by the poison for a quick kill. Use a water attack to get a metal object wet in the past, then go back forward to have that metal rusted. It’s always satisfying to do stuff like this. This all takes crystal points though, so use it sparingly.
So like Mario RPGs, like I mentioned earlier, you have a bit of control during attacks and defending. Time your presses to get stronger, double or critical attacks or block what could be a devastating move. I never quite got the timing right for these. You can probably have decent luck just pressing right when attacks land, but for defending, it’s a bit trickier.
Cris Tales is beautiful. It’s cliche to say it, but it’s like a cartoon or anime made into an RPG. There’s fantastically animated cutscenes, including the intro. Showing the present, past, and future move with you in towns and fields is a joy to see. Wanna raise the stakes? The game is fully voice acted too. With good voice acting at that! Cris Tales really knows how to present itself, it’s definitely the game’s high point.
With all of the RPGs out there, especially on Switch, it’s great to see ones that are either inventive or don’t look incredibly low budget or pandering. Not that any of those games don’t have their place, and I love standard RPGs like Dragon Quest, but Cris Tales was a nice change of pace.
Buy Now: $39.99
*Game Download Code graciously supplied for the purpose of review