Cris Tales, from Dream Uncorporated and Syck, is a love letter to classic JRPGs and is available now on Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC and Stadia. Past, present and future are brought together on one screen with unique gameplay. Slip between time periods to both aid citizens across Crystallis’ kingdoms and perform surprise attacks on enemies in a fight to save the world from the evil that threatens it.
Cris Tales Details
Platforms: Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC and Stadia
Reviewed on: Stadia
Developer: Dreams Uncorporated and Syck
Publisher: Modus Games
Modes: Single player
ESRB Rating: T (Everyone)
A fascinating story filled with interesting and unique characters
In Cris Tales, you play as Crisbell, an orphan girl who lives in an orphanage. One day while picking a rose for Mother Superior, a talking frog named Matias hops by and steals it. After chasing Matias around town, Crisbell finally catches up to him at the Cathedral. It’s here that Crisbell learns of her powers.
As a newly awakened Time Mage, Matias asks Crisbell to visit his friend Willhelm, another Time Mage, to learn more about her new found powers. In the midst of all this, the powerful Time Empress and her forces threaten Crystallis and the other four Kingdoms of the region. It’s up to Crisbell to stop the Time Empress while travelling the land and recruiting new allies in the fight.
While I won’t spoil the story for you, I can see there are definitely some twists and turns throughout your adventure and in particular near the ending of the game. And, the game’s entire story is fully voiced! A nice bonus that I wasn’t expecting!
Experience the past, present and future simultaneously using strategic turn-based combat
What’s unique about Cris Tales‘ gameplay is that you can see past, present and future all on the same screen at the same time. While this may sound confusing, it really isn’t. The screen is divided into three making each of the time periods distinct and easy to tell apart.
You can use time to your advantage against enemies. For example, during battle, you can send one set of enemies into the past to face their weaker, younger selves. At the same time, you can send another group of enemies into the future where they are weaker from the poison they have suffered from the present. Gameplay is really unique in that you can create your own strategies depending on the enemies and situation.
Furthermore, Matias can use Crisbell’s time powers to travel back in time and recover items or discover information that will help you in the present. Moreover, Cris Tales is a love letter to classic JRPGs in the spirit of turn-based combat. Each character has their own unique abilities and by making precise button presses during attacks you can dish out more damage to enemies or receive less damage when being attacked.
Discover a beautiful world
Cris Tales looks like a beautifully hand-drawn 2D fairy-tale world that I often stopped to admire. The art style is unique with a bright and cheerful colour palette. If you are a Cartoon Network fan, you’ll definitely fall in love with the game’s visuals.
Cutscenes are extremely well animated and have an anime-like quality to them. From the shining kingdom of Crystallis to the slums of Saint Clarity, each location is distinct and a sight to behold. However, the overworld map leaves something to be desired. It feels bland and uneventful. In fact, at certain points in the game, I wasn’t sure exactly where I needed to go next.
Additionally, while walking in dungeons or around towns, I found that sometimes the game’s camera angle would be obstructive. This means you couldn’t see where certain paths lead to and often lead to backtracking and unnecessary battles. And, without an autosave feature, this meant that sometimes I would die unnecessarily. As you can imagine, this would lead to frustration at certain points of the game.
Cris Tales is a love letter to classic JRPGs that isn’t without its faults
If your fondest memories of gaming growing up were playing JRPGs, you’ll instantly fall in love with Cris Tales. On the other hand, if you don’t share those same fond memories of classic JRPGs, you might find some of Cris Tales‘ faults a bit more concerning. Random battles, no auto save feature and some camera angles that can make navigation tricky might make you think twice.
Conversely, there is a lot to like about Cris Tales. The game’s beautiful 2D fairy-tale world is mesmerizing. I enjoyed the game’s time mechanic via Crisbell’s magic and the voice acting is superb! Each and every character is well voiced and full of emotion.
+ Beautiful 2D hand drawn visuals
+ Interesting and unique time gameplay mechanic
+ Fantastic voice acting
+ Love letter to classic JPRGs that fans will adore
+ Value priced
– Plethora of random battles
– Camera angles at times can make traversing confusing
– No auto save means you need to save early and often to avoid disaster
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF CRIS TALES
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3.5/5