Cris Tales, or as it’s known in Japanese (けいおん!クリスティーズ), is a new JRPG series that’s of unknown origin, but was published by the Koei Tecmo subsidiary called Gust. It’s an RPG with a unique art style and interesting stories that are a bit more mature than other JRPGs. But has it really got that much to recommend it?
This past week, I played the first of two upcoming JRPGs from Square Enix. Cris Tales is the first game from the studio, and it follows the adventures of a young boy who becomes embroiled in a war between civilization and monsters after his parents are killed. The story here is serviceable but not particularly memorable, the characters are well-acted but a bit flat, and the game’s combat is slow and clunky. But it’s really the art that makes this game. The character designs are gorgeous, the worlds are gorgeous, and the music is gorgeous.
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Cris Tales is a brand-new indie game that is a love homage to classic JRPGs, developed by Dreams Uncorporated and Syck and released by Modus Games. Cris Tales tells the tale of Crisbell, a Time Mage who discovers her abilities at a critical juncture in her life and must flee her home to rescue everyone she loves. Cris Tales is a turn-based JRPG that delivers a unique experience by combining its unique time management features with turn-based combat. We control time and explore a wonderfully hand-drawn universe with a talking frog in this Cris Tales review.
Cris Tales tells the tale of Crisbell, a little orphan child. Crisbell is now living with her foster mother, Mother Superior, and her foster sisters. Her life is going well until she meets Matias, a wonderful talking frog who alters her life entirely. She discovers that she is a Time Mage, capable of seeing, controlling, and managing the past, present, and future. She must leave her life behind after she finds a power and go on a quest with her new friends to fight the wicked Time Empress. She has the opportunity to meet new people and go to new places she has never been before.
Cris Tales is set in a stunning 2.5D environment. You’ll travel right or left most of the time, much as in a 2D game, but you’ll also move back and forth on the screen to access other locations in certain instances. The primary screen is split into three parts once she gains her abilities. The present is shown by a triangle in the center screen, which travels around as Crisbell walks about. However, you can see the history of that place on the left side of the triangle and the future on the right side of the triangle.
All three timestamps are displayed at the same time, and if you want to view a specific point in the life of a certain place, just walk about until that area or person is in the past or future zone to see how they will be or how they were before. These abilities enable Crisbell to see into the future and see a variety of things, not all of which are pleasant. Crisbell can also rescue certain individuals around here as a result of her understanding, but even with this ability, she has limits and can only save a few people. Matias the talking frog may also time-travel between the past and the future to provide you with more information or to assist you in different situations.
Early on in the game, you see that two of your town’s homes are in poor condition, and if not repaired quickly, they would both collapse. However, after you’ve figured out the answer, it’ll only save one home. One of them is a mother, while the other is a pharmacist. At this time, you are offered the option of selecting one home to preserve for the future. This is your first and most difficult option. It demonstrates that being a Time Mage has its limits, and as you continue through the narrative, your choices will have an effect on the world around you. There are many decision points in the main plot.
The stunning graphic design of Cris Tales is probably the first thing you notice when you start playing the game. This seems to be where the developers did their magic. The game’s visuals are stunning, and the many locations and settings that you explore are all well-designed. Cris Tales isn’t really an open-world game, although it may be classified as such. You will visit numerous towns, woods, and other places during your trip, but you will navigate to these areas via a map. Once within an area, you are free to wander about at your leisure, interact with various NPCs, and buy or sell goods at various merchants.
Some locations include hidden chests with various valuable objects, which you may open and gather the contents for later use. In the game’s graphic design, you’ll note that each region has a dominating hue that appears more on the screen than other colors. The game is very colorful, yet in each region, one color dominates, and that color is unique to that place. Cris Tales’ entire visual design is made up of this color, as well as other colors on the screen. Not only are the levels and surroundings appealing to the eye, but the character design and color choices are also excellent. Another reference to JRPGS is that the characters have huge, protruding eyes with otherwise tiny features.
All of this beauty isn’t only for the eyes; the game also has a fantastic music. Tyson Wernli, who grew up listening to some of the greatest soundtracks of his time, composed the game’s music. Cris Tales is, according to Tyson Wernli, a homage to all of his childhood video games. Every location and situation in the game has its own music, which plays an important part in creating the tone. It has poetic melodies as well as powerful beats. Your whole adventure in the world of Cris Tales is made better when you explore every region and battle every opponent while listening to a fantastic music.
Cris Tales’ combat is turn-based, and I’m presently undecided on whether or not to play it. The combat is generally excellent and provides a multitude of choices to experiment with; yet, it still seems rudimentary and sometimes fails to register some of my orders. Later in my review, I’ll go over this in more depth. Starting with the most fundamental of fighting concepts, time is crucial in Cris Tales combat. Crisbell is a Time Mage, thus she naturally utilizes the passage of time to her advantage in battle.
During battle scenes, the triangle in the middle vanishes, leaving just the present to be seen. Crisbell, on the other hand, may forcefully open time fissures on the left and right edges of the screen, affecting opponents in the process. The left side of the screen manipulates the past, while the right side manipulates the future, thus if you create a time fissure on the left side, you may send your opponents back in time, making them younger and occasionally smaller. On the other hand, if you open the time fracture on the right side of the screen, you may send the opponents into the future, thereby making them older.
The real fun starts at this point. Each of your game’s supporting characters has unique talents and powers that complement Crisbell’s time-shifting abilities, which you may mix to play with your opponents. If you poison your opponents, it will usually harm them every turn, but if you send them back in time, apply poison, and then bring them back to the present, they will be dead since the poison was administered in the past. Similarly, you may use water strikes on protected opponents to submerge them in water, then send them into the future to corrode their shields, lowering their resistance.
I’m just providing these two examples in this review, but when you meet additional NPCs and some of them join your team at various times in the main narrative, there are a plethora of possible combinations you may utilize in the game. You may manipulate time to your benefit and weaken your opponents in a variety of ways. Aside from time manipulation, you may also receive a boost by pressing the attack buttons at the appropriate moment. If you hit the attack button at the correct moment while assaulting the opponent, you will inflict additional damage.
If you’re defending yourself, though, hitting the attack key as soon as the assault hits you will either parry the strike or block a tiny portion of it. This is a vital strategy that will save you from death many times in some fights, particularly in the early stages of the game. As you acquire additional talents and powers, you’ll be able to depend on them to inflict agony on your opponents. You will also discover different things such as Health, Mana, and CP potions for your personal use, which will ensure your survival in the game.
Marbles are the game’s in-game money, and you can use them to buy and upgrade better goods and equipment. You occasionally receive extra goods at the conclusion of each fight, but you eventually have to save up and buy different supplies, such as the terrible tents for 10,000 gold, which is very irritating. Tents are a necessary component of the game, but they are too costly. At this point, I’m not sure whether they’re costly to deter people from using them or if they’re simply expensive.
With that said, Cris Tales unfortunately has its own set of difficulties and troubles at this time, which has irritated me as well. This is due to the fact that Cris Tales starts out strong and it isn’t until you’re far into the narrative that you notice the game’s flaws. These problems vary from technical to balance concerns in-game. Some of the problems, such as lengthy loading times, are apparent straight away. The game loaded well for me, however I found myself gazing at the screen for quite some time when saving. The speeds aren’t as excellent as they should be, even with an NVMe SSD. Fortunately, the game did not crash even once, thus everything is OK.
In-game balance and combat optimization are two of my other main issues with the game. During repeated assaults, the battle would occasionally just fail to acknowledge my inputs. Some of the more powerful opponents launch waves of assaults rather than a single strike. To block or parry all of these strikes, you must repeatedly click the attack button, however I found that the characters simply refused to parry the next attack after blocking the first. In a four-attack sequence, the most I could do was block two of them since the game just refused to take my control inputs for the other two in the middle. This demonstrates that some combat optimization is still required to make fighting more efficient in all situations.
The Bottom Line:
Cris Tales isn’t a JRPG, yet it has that familiar JRPG feel to it. It seems to be lovely, and the hand-drawn graphics are stunning. The game starts off great, but as you advance farther into the game, several of the in-game elements begin to fall short, making the game a bit more boring and difficult to enjoy. This leads to inconsistency, which may irritate some more seasoned JRPG players. However, if you can overlook these flaws, Cris Tales is a lovely and engrossing game that will appeal to both new and young JRPG fans. The game is in urgent need of balance, both in terms of fighting and the price of different game items. I wanted to give Cris Tales a much better rating since it is clear that the creator has put a lot of work, effort, and love into the game. However, some of the mechanisms are just inadequate, and the developer should address them in future updates. Nonetheless, it’s a lovely JRPG that you should add to your list of must-plays.
7.5/10 for the overall performance.
In a world of mediocrity, it’s nice to find a game as amazing as Cris Tales. Cris Tales is a JRPG by the same team that worked on the EarthBound series (named after the most popular game in the series), and it’s as beautiful as it is loving. The game starts off with a touching story, introduces you to its main character named Cris, a young girl who has her world turned upside down when she is attacked by monsters. After that, the game is a tribute to JRPGs. The plot is a bit linear, but you’ll get to explore a large world, complete varied side quests with different themes, and encounter dozens of characters you can interact with. It’s a JRPG that will make. Read more about cris tales review and let us know what you think.
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