By Eric, Getty, Gettinger
It would be a lie to say I haven’t been waiting at least a year to finally play Cris Tales. Cris Tales is in the vein of a classic role playing game, RPG, which has a weighty story to experience and unfold. One of the main charms of the game is that each zone, battle, enemy can experience the flow of time in the moment. Jumping back from past, present to future is at your fingertips and is necessary to complete the journey. Along with the beautiful visuals and voice acting this RPG is about to steal away your heart and leave you wanting more, as it totes three endings. Wanting to know what will happen to our heroine or her party of friends drove my initial play through. It was well worth the wait, but from my experience playing on the Nintendo Switch you might find yourself waiting all over again.
Cris Tales follows the young orphen Crisbell as she discovers a frog has stolen one of the flowers from the garden she tends. Chasing him all over the place sets up a narrative for our hero. She unlocks the ability to shift time in the world and in battles. The lovely stages in the game are split into three sections on your screen. An upside down V marks off the left side as the past and the right side as the future while leaving you in the center stage of the present. In moving around the town you can see how it has evolved and your actions play a direct role in what happens to the future. Saving a person from death or helping them out will change how they look in the future panel. Cris Tales offers you multiple options in how you will improve the cities you visit as well. In this sense I will be coming back for seconds and thirds.
During the initial opening scene you are dropped right into combat and you learn the power of the time crystal attacks that Crisbell is able to unlock being that she is a time mage. Using the time crystals you can regress enemies on the left half of the screen or age the enemies on the right half. This will cost Crisbell some of her crystal points, instead of magic points, so you need to manage use for this added element. Normal attacks made against enemies can also be timed to increase damage with a button press and it works the same for blocking. Timing is key to make sure that you maximize damage and damage prevention, it’s really very easy but essential to make it through. The icing on the cake here is that status effects done to enemies can be activated with Crisbell’s time manipulation. Poison an enemy and sending them to the future causes huge damage as the poison hits all at once. Cris Tales is littered with tricks like this.
The story evolves and you find more and more characters to join your party. A total of five allies will tag along to help save the world. Each character is again well voice acted and most undergo development during the course of your play time. I found myself wanting more individual character interactions and at times you will have the chance to check in with everyone. It is missable if you so choose to skip them but I found the check in to be a nice break in the action. Since the host of characters is so different their abilities also change the ways you can play. One of the later characters Zas has abilities that revolve around roulette and chance. While Cristopher has abilities that are linked to elemental magic. Yet another character, no spoilers here, can capture enemies and use their abilities to attack, cause ailments, or buff the party.
Playing on the Nintendo Switch was a bit of a pain. A number of issues plagued me during my initial play through. The software would crash and there is no autosave function, so I found myself having to go back a bit but never too far as my motto remains ‘save early, save often’. The loading times were outlandish, finding myself waiting 10 seconds for a random encounter to load, and I know later in the game you can get a ring to skip them all together but there is nothing to do during loading. The screen goes bright white and Crisbell is running in the corner but that’s all. It made leveling painful at times so if you are going to dip into Cris Tales I say stay away from the Switch.
Overall the game can be a bit buggy and the way I played on the Switch felt like I wasted a lot of time waiting however I still loved my time with Cris Tales. This is a story that made me laugh, I teared up a few times as well, but truly made me feel comfy. With all the time and effort put into the game between the scenery that you have the ability to impact and the stellar voice acting (which isn’t easy) this game is a joy to behold. If you have the time since it’s a bit longer of a trip to dive into, give Cris Tales a shot. I know I will be making my way through at least one more time on the PS4. Its time to make some choices and change your future, and make those you find on your voyage through Cris Tales.