Cris Tales is an all-around great turn-based RPG with some incredibly interesting gameplay mechanics. It focuses on an orphaned girl by the name of Crisbell as she discovers her powers as a new Time Mage. The art style is cute and the whole world design is fantastic. But before we go too far let us take a look at the story.
Where To Begin With Cris Tales?
Cris Tales starts off by introducing you to the main protagonist, Crisbell. Crisbell is a young girl who grows up in an orphanage run by a Mother Superior. One day, as she is picking roses, a random frog decides to steal. This prompts Crisbell to track down that thieving amphibian. She eventually finds the frog and her rose in the town’s cathedral, where she also begins to realise her true powers. It turns out that Crisbell is a Time Mage and very possibly, the person that is described in the game’s prophecy. As a Time Mage Crisbell is suddenly able to see the Past, Present, and Future. Well, “possible” Future, I should say.
After this happens, Mr “I’m a frog, I can take what I want,” or Matias for short, proceeds to help her with her newfound powers and decides to introduce her to another Time Mage, Willhelm. After spending a little time with Wilhelm and testing out her new abilities, the town’s farm is set on fire and Crisbell rushes to their aid, only to find goblins and two annoyingly arrogant demon-like people, working for a mysterious Empress. However, they decide to retreat when they realise these puny little mages won’t be so easily destroyed.
Then as the town begins to blame Crisbell for the fire, or more accurately – as Secretary Lana begins to blame Crisbell for the fire – Christopher, Willhelm and Matias all decide to travel together with our young protagonist, seeking out other cathedrals to help her achieve full power. The story is nothing new, it doesn’t break down walls or stir up a lot of feelings. However, what it does do is entertain. The characters are well thought and with a few jokes thrown in here and there, it does enough to keep you playing.
The Astoundingly Amazing World Design
The World Design for Cris Tales is absolutely incredible. Yes, the art style is majestic and lovely, if a little simplistic. And yes, there isn’t a lot to traverse when you’re inside the cities. But the single best aspect of the world design is how they show the Past, Present, and Future timelines. When Crisbell gets her powers, the screen is split into three sections. On the left you have the Past, in the middle, the Present and on the right, the Future. The reason this is so phenomenal is that the scenery changes from each timeline seamlessly as you traverse the world.
A little tree sapling from the present grows into a tree in the future. You can witness someone age from middle-aged to becoming old, to not being around anymore because they have passed on. This level of detail is just astounding. From the top of a tower having been destroyed to trees changing in the background – it is superb. Not only does it let you visualise all three timelines at once, but it also allows you to affect change in the cities. Hence this is why Crisbell can only see a “possible future”. As she can alter something in the present, in order to change what happens in the future. This is one of the reasons why Cris Tales is brilliant. The entire experience is built around this incredible mechanic.
The Bedrock of Cris Tales
Now of course, there are elements in Cris Tales that you’ll find in any traditional turn-based RPG. You know how it is; run into enemies and take turns smacking each other to death. Plus, you’ve got your special moves and weaknesses you can exploit to get a leg up on your opponent. Where Cris Tales differs is that it really leans into Crisbell’s Time Mage powers. In battle, Crisbell can accelerate and turn back the clock by using something called Time Crystals.
Why is this so important you may ask? Well, let’s say you poison someone with Wilhelm; if you then accelerate time on that enemy, it does all the damage that status effect would normally occur over multiple turns, instantly. For another example, if you hit a shield-carrying opponent with a water blast and then accelerate time, said shield will become less effective due to rust, resulting in a weakened defence.
There’s a multitude of combinations you can try out to efficiently take down enemies, and that’s what makes this system so interesting. It’s not as overwhelming as it seems either, as you’ll meet townsfolk that’ll help you figure out weaknesses and which tactics work best against certain foes (Footage of talking to Zoe). It really gets the brain churning and adds a great problem-solving aspect to the combat. However, the gameplay away from battle is rather simplistic. Crisbell basically just travels from city-to-city talking to everyone, picking up side quests, and helping people out, like every other turn-based RPG on the market.
Icing On The Cake
When it comes to the music and sound design though; this is the cherry on top, the icing on the cake, the little extra something, the crux of the biscuit, the cream of the crop… Sorry, I got a bit carried away there. What I am trying to say is the soundtrack is just that little something that makes Cris Tales all the more enjoyable to play. When you start the game, it is the very first thing that stands out. It caught me totally by surprise and I just had to sit there, controller down, listening to the entire intro. The differences between the more mellow and laid-back sections, compared to the fierce encounter tunes are simply fantastic. But let’s be honest, the game’s main battle theme is to die for.
Honestly, there is very little to dislike in Cris Tales. If I had to say anything, it would be that the loading times can be occasionally annoying on the Nintendo Switch. It also feels as if you’re being sent on standard fetch quests a little too often. Although maybe that says more about my impatience as a gamer, rather than Cris Tales itself. In all honesty, there is a lot more to this game than simple fetch quests. Discovering new equipment and powers, meeting new people both good and bad, wandering around aimlessly to find a random encounter, or speeding through to try and avoid said random encounter. There is so much fun to be had, all while tapping your feet and bopping around to this title’s catchy soundtrack.
Cris Tales is enjoyable, easy to follow, and not too difficult to understand or play. It’s a great starting place for introducing people to turn-based RPGs, whilst also having an intricate combat system to entertain the tried and tested gamers. The devs have covered all their bases and I highly recommend it if you’re thinking of playing a turn-based RPG – just gotta give it a go!
Cris Tales is an incredibly enjoyable turn-based RPG. The story does exactly what it needs to with well fleshed out characters and great flow. The mechanics are magnificent with the manipulating time to your advantage. The World looks incredible with its art style and the way they show the different timelines. It is an all-around, incredibly enjoyable game, and yes there are a couple of minor mishaps but honestly, they’re not even noticeable half of the time. Cris Tales is loads of fun and anyone who likes a turn-based RPG should at the very least give it a go.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Modus Games. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.