Cris Tales seems to be a bit like Paper Mario with Persona 5’s UI.
Very similar to its inspirations, Cris Tales is a trendy recreation. Its cheerful characters and world may have jumped straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon, its timing-based fight and 2D-style borrow among the finest components of Paper Mario, and its sharp fight menus instantly pay homage to the anything-but-bland UI in Persona 5. However beneath these surface-level similarities is an RPG that makes use of time journey in a novel and thrilling means that made it stand out from the whole lot else I performed at E3 this 12 months.
Whereas Cris Tales’ quest-driven exploration and turn-based fight is perhaps pretty simple, it’s spiced up by your foremost character’s potential to change time. Time journey in video games isn’t precisely revolutionary by itself, however this isn’t a easy backwards and forwards kind of factor – the truth is, I’m unsure I’ve seen it offered in fairly the identical means anyplace else earlier than.
As a substitute of slipping to or from the previous, current, and future, all three time intervals are on display screen directly, separated by angled dividers that cut up your view into massive triangles. The center third is your current, left is roughly seven years prior to now, and the fitting is seven years sooner or later.
I needed to make a troublesome alternative, and I may instantly see the long-term ramifications of it.
As you progress by means of the world, you may see the areas round you shift by means of these completely different time intervals. Youngsters within the current will likely be grown sooner or later, whereas older NPCs is perhaps youthful to your left however not there in any respect to your proper. That may be grim, however a part of the purpose of Cris Tales is that you just then have an opportunity to alter the longer term to at least one you need to see.
One mission within the demo I performed kicked off once I observed two homes in my hometown have been crumbling aside sooner or later. I needed to make a particular potion to avoid wasting them, however first wanted to plant a tree prior to now so I may decide the complete grown fruit wanted for it sooner or later. Even nonetheless, I solely had sufficient potion to avoid wasting one home, and needed to make a troublesome alternative that I may instantly see the long-term ramifications of.
It’s a brilliant fascinating thought that may theoretically permit for choices that impression the world round you extra considerably with out making you wait years (or chapters, because the case is perhaps for a recreation) to see the outcomes. The constraints may really feel a tiny bit arbitrary at instances – if I’ve time journey powers then why can’t I discover a solution to save each homes as an alternative of letting one crumble, or at the very least warn the opposite home-owner? – however the impression was nonetheless palpable.
That point mechanic extends into fight as properly, with some encounters placing enemies on either side of you. The fight makes use of a turn-based system that rewards a well-timed button press throughout assault or protection with additional harm or extra armor – although Cris Tales’ attractive artwork may make determining the timings of these animations somewhat unclear. It has commonplace magical assaults as properly, however past that basis, you may as well use a time useful resource to ship enemies into the previous or future relying on which facet of you they’re on, which then adjustments their behaviors and talents.
Intelligent mid-combat time journey combos have a ton of potential to set Cris Tales aside.
I fought a brute enemy with an axe that began utilizing extra magic after they have been despatched to the longer term and have become older and frail, but when they have been to my left then they grew to become youthful as an alternative. There was additionally a barely unclear however extremely cool idea in a boss struggle the place I needed to moist an impenetrable metallic protect with water magic, then thrust the boss into the longer term to make the protect rusty and ineffective. These combos and interactions weren’t tremendous intuitive once I performed, but when they’re correctly defined within the full recreation then they’ve a ton of potential to set Cris Tales aside from different RPGs prefer it.
The UI and presentation additionally clearly take a web page out of the Persona 5 handbook, with sharp fight menu choices that reach off of your chosen character. They give the impression of being very nice, and the truth that they stretch towards whichever facet you need to assault makes it a lot clearer than if you happen to had a static menu elsewhere on the display screen.
I’ve already mentioned it, however “trendy” actually is finest the best way to explain Cris Tales. The just about paper-like world jogged my memory a little bit of an intricate pop-up guide diorama. It’s easy on the floor, however with a number of little particulars that elevate it above its daring blocks of coloration. And, frankly, it’s good to see a recreation with a lot white on display screen as an alternative of gritty, darkish colours dominating the whole lot.
I additionally actually love the character designs. Your sidekick is a flippin frog in a high hat, and just about each human seems to be cool as hell. That mentioned, I used to be somewhat combined on the voice appearing. I admire that Cris Tales is absolutely voiced, and the writing is charming and good, however the deliveries may really feel a bit stiff at instances. It’s not that it was horrible, however it did often pull me out of the in any other case participating story its beautiful world was telling.
Nonetheless, most of my issues typically revolve round tough edges that might be polished away – that’s solely pure with a work-in-progress recreation. The core of Cris Tales is what excites me greater than the rest: a mixture of inspirations from RPGs I’m already love with and a stunning time journey twist I already need to see extra of.
Tom Marks is IGN’s Deputy Opinions Editor and resident pie maker. You possibly can comply with him on Twitter.