Cris Tales Demo Impressions: Time-Traveling RPG Goodness

by David Sanchez July 31, 2020 @ 8:13 am

Cris Tales time-traveling gameplay.

Played on Switch

Last year at E3, Cris Tales was listed as one of five indie games to look out for. Two of the games on that list — Super Crush KO and Roki — have launched to positive buzz. Another game on the list, Cris Tales, recently received a playable demo on consoles. Like last year, Cris Tales is still very much worth looking forward to, and the demo is a blast. Straight up, there’s a lot of heart and soul in the game, and it’s hard not to get even more stoked about it when you spend time with the demo.

Colorful, Stylish Art

You can’t take one glance at Cris Tales and look beyond its visual beauty. The game is gorgeous — stunning even. It features a light and colorful semi-anime style that’s just really, really pretty. Environments look like something out of a pop-up picture book. Enemies look monstrous and deadly. And non-playable characters have a very stylized look to them.

As easy on the eyes as Cris Tales may be, though, it’s not just about providing you with some sweet eye candy.

Cris Tales on PC.

Time Travel and Turn-Based Combat

The big gameplay hook in Cris Tales is its unique take on time travel mechanics. Protagonist Crisbell has the ability to peer into and manipulate the past and the future. This allows you to assist NPCs in the game’s towns in different ways. In certain instances, you’ll have to make tough choices and wrestle with yourself internally when you can only help one character or another. This creates an interesting dilemma, but it’s even more heartbreaking when you look into the future and see the fate of the person you opted not to lend a helping hand to.

This time travel gameplay makes for some really neat world exploration, and it carries over into the battle system of Cris Tales. For example, Crisbell can shift enemies into a future state, making them old and weak. This means your attacks will have a stronger effect on them. Alternatively, you could shift enemies into the past, drop a poisonous seed in front of them, and then on your next turn bring them back to the present where that seed has now sprouted into a toxic flower that releases a cloud of poison.

Battles in Cris Tales are both time travel-based and just good ol’ timing-based. Like Paper Mario and many other similar RPGs, attacking and defending can be enhanced if you time a button press at just the right time. How close you hit that button within the allowed window or opportunity can mean the difference between a decent attack and a heavy-hitting strike. Perfect timing when you block and attack could also save you if you’re taking an onslaught of offense from baddies.

Cris Tales turn-based RPG combat.

Cris Tales may appear to be a little bit Chrono Trigger and a little bit Paper Mario — and it certainly is reminiscent of those classic titles and a few others like Child of Light — but it’s so much more than just that. Thanks to its high sense of style and rich art, as well as its fantasy-themed musical direction, it’s obvious that the presentation of the game is just as important as its gameplay.

If you get a chance, be sure to check out the demo for Cris Tales. It’s currently playable on Switch (where I checked it out for the purpose of this preview), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It’s a lot of fun, and it’ll probably get you stoked for the game’s planned November 17 release date if you’re not already excited about the game.

Cris Tales, we’ll be waiting for ya!

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