A Warrior who thought he had nothing left. A Woman who had everything to look forward to. Finally a woman on the run with almost nothing left to give. Tales Across Time is the story of three people and their individual struggles lifetimes apart yet all in the same space if not time. Not being overly long in terms of gameplay, the provided experience excels at telling a tale of mystery and wonder with a brilliantly designed battle and encounter systems.
Critical Games is at it again with another stellar tale. Unlike 8-bit Adventures that let us see true 8-bit retro with an old school color scheme in order to pull it all off, Tales Across Time goes in a whole other direction. Set generations apart, three separate people will experience life changing events. Designed in order to tell a story there’s a lot of fluff that has essentially been cut out opting instead for predetermined encounters instead of random. This allows for the full story to be told in about three hours, give or take, depending on how much exploration you do in order to find items that can only help out each character. That and how many times you fail in combat against a Goblin trying to kill someone...
Having opted to go straight into the heart of the matter was refreshing. Most encounters will happen in places that are expected and make sense in regards to the current event as they are obstacles that need to be passed. Other times they may seem random but will make sense in regards to the whole picture and the path being taken to reach your goal. In either case, each protagonist will need to fight their way through using the same core concepts but each will have a twist making each subsequent characters battles more than the previous keeping things interesting from start to finish.
Tales Across Time is an RPG that does not see the character's level up. Instead, each character can find a crystal in order to increase their maximum health and action points in order to skills in combat. Sometimes the chests will lie directly in your path while others will require a bit of looking around in order to obtain them. While I figure that it is possible to finish without these I would seriously not recommend it as sometimes these upgrades are truly the line between victory and defeat.
Engaging against enemies was fun and innovative. Instead of simply pummeling each and every one with one standard move, there are three forms of attacks to be had. Weak, Normal, and Heavy attacks are the three options to be had. While you may think of “why not just use the heavy attacks”, Tales Across Time makes sure to let you know that it may not quite be a good idea. Starting off each encounter with full health and a portion of the total skill points, each attack style will raise the usable skills points by their own amounts with weak attacks obtaining the most and heavy being the least. These acquired points do more than simply boost attack or daze an opponent.
Skill points can also used in order to distract an enemy from another target in the event that it happens, finish off another foe as the character themselves is not proficient in combat, and also heal up in combat as there are no items. Careful judgement to your actions will be more required in the later combat sequences than the earlier ones in which the feeling of invincibility is there. Learning exactly what each character is capable of is important in order to not have to restart multiple times over as sometimes the checkpoint, as there is no game over, is a screen or two over requiring a decent distance to be recovered.
While the start to finish as mentioned is not overly long, the experience to be had is an excellent one. With an innovative combat system that only evolves around our three protagonists, each tale told is better better than the last as it opens up questions to how everything is intertwined. The only issue is that it was not longer as I would have definitely loved more.
Article by Pierre-Yves