Modus Games hosted a behind-closed-doors first look preview presentation showing off their upcoming RPG Cris Tales; and we were invited.
During the presentation Niche Gamer staff were shown a preview of Cris Tales, as well as given a first look at cutscenes and boss fights. The game is an upcoming JRPG-style game, featuring a unique time travel mechanic that’s used in both combat and exploration.
Though the time travel mechanic has been a known part of the game- affecting the outcome of both battles and the lives of NPCs- new details were divulged during the presentation including a “choices matter” element to the gameplay. Each kingdom that the heroine Crisbell visits has at least three different endings; and some may have even more, giving the game replay value.
We were also shown some of the JRPG-like elements, including an overworld map with vehicles similar to the Final Fantasy games. Some zones will be locked, and require story progression which upgrades this transportation (like finding an upgrade for a boat that allows it to travel in things other than water).
Dungeons are a mix of puzzles and fighting. More than just exploring a maze; each dungeon has a unique mechanic that players need to use to progress. The puzzles have much in common with 2D The Legend of Zelda titles, but the developers denied that the series was much of an influence. Instead, they credited games like Paper Mario as both an inspiration for the art style, dungeons, and even the combat system.
The developers also cited western cartoons like Samurai Jack and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends as an inspiration; which can be seen in their use of hard geometric shapes and flat colors to create a whimsical fantasy world.
In addition to the time traveling mechanics, we were shown the combat. It also has a quick time element similar to Paper Mario, where hitting the action button at the right time can increase the damage, or allow players to parry attacks. The developers even mentioned that it’s possible to beat any enemy without risk of failure by perfect parrying their attacks.
The aforementioned time powers fundamentally change how enemies behave. For instance, invoking the past crystal can make an ape-like enemy younger, which makes them weaker.
However, it also makes them more mischievous, and they will do things like trying to steal your items. Enemies that are too old or young already (depending on which time crystal you invoke) will take a big chunk of damage to make up for the lack of action.
Crisbell’s powers can also interact with status ailments caused by her allies. Some enemies that become “drenched” will rust when sent to the future, and enemies who are poisoned will take all of the poison damage immediately. Knowing that the time change mechanic is more than just a novelty is a big relief to those who have been tracking the game’s development.
Players can expect about thirty hours of gameplay for a single playthrough, with twenty dungeons to explore, and replays are desirable for those who want to experience every kingdom’s different endings. The game also features a soundtrack that’s over two hours long; and every city, dungeon, and boss has their own music. The game will also be fully voice acted by the time it releases.
Cris Tales launches July 20th for Windows PC (via the Epic Games Store, GOG, and Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Google Stadia. A demo is available. In case you missed it, you can find our preview here.
You can find the rundown (via Steam) below:
Experience Past, Present, and Future simultaneously in this gorgeous, indie love letter to classic JRPGs.
Cris Tales is a gorgeous, indie love letter to classic JRPGs with a new perspective. Peer into the past, act in the present, and watch as your choices dynamically change the future — all on one screen as you play! Join the newly awakened Time Mage Crisbell and her fantastical companions on their journey across a dark, fairytale world facing a grim future.
Crisbell must embark across Crystallis and the four Kingdoms in a bid to stop the powerful Time Empress and rewrite the future of the world and all those living in it. Along the way, she’ll meet and recruit powerful allies with their own unique stories and skills like Matias the Frog and Willhelm the Child Mage.
As she explores the world and meets her unique companions, Crisbell will have to make choices with far-reaching consequences for the people she meets – consequences that will impact the world you’ll experience in real-time throughout your journey. Each companion will be invaluable as you face these choices and the myriad enemies who stand in your way. Will you buffet them with attacks, or discover creative ways to use Crisbell’s time powers to alter the reality of each fight?
Beautifully hand-drawn 2D art is animated frame by frame to bring the branching pasts and futures of each region, enemy, and NPC to life across more than 20 hours of gameplay. Experience a unique combination of branching stories, innovative combat, and classic RPG excitement in Cris Tales’ exciting and unforgettable exploration of how our actions echo through time.
- A Love Letter to Classic JRPGs – Inspired by timeless JRPGs like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, Valkyrie Profile, and modern classics like Bravely Default and Persona 5, meet and recruit a unique cast of teammates, challenge myriad enemies, and make your way through an expansive world.
- Experience the Past, Present, and Future Simultaneously – Peer into and learn from the past, decide on actions in the present, and alter the course of the future in ways that will reshape the world dynamically depending on the choices you make.
- Master Strategic Turn-Based Combat – Warp your enemies into the past or future, synchronize attacks for enhanced group abilities, and master the timing of attack and defense to go beyond your party’s limits in combat.
- Uncover a Fascinating Story & Characters – The Empress’ plot to destroy the world is complex and layered. Use your wits and recruit powerful allies throughout the world to uncover and undo her multi-faceted web and make your way to the True Ending of this enchanting tale.
- Discover a Beautiful World – Climb aboard an airship or boat and traverse this handcrafted, dark fairytale world. From the shining kingdom of Crystallis to the slums of Saint Clarity, discover each unique location and shape its future.