Crisbell is an orphan living in the town of Narim. One day, while she was tending to the orphanage's rose garden, Matias, a strange talking frog wearing a top hat, hopped by and stole a flower. While chasing the frog, Crisbell winds up in the Cathedral, where she awakens a special power: by opening the Crystals of Time, she can see the past and the future. When the town is attacked by a group of raiders sent by the Empress of Time, Crisbell embarks on a journey to save her town.
The most distinctive gameplay feature of Cris Tales is the ability to simultaneously view the past, present, and future: the screen is split into three sections, each showing the world at a different point in time, and actions taken in the present can cause the future to change before your eyes. This ability can also be used in combat, turning foes into younger or older versions of themselves. However, this ability can also cause the player to be forced to make difficult decisions. Cris Tales is set for release in 2020 on Steam, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch. A demo version is available.
Cris Tales contains examples of the following tropes:
- Choice-and-Consequence System: The player may have to make difficult choices, and the ability to see the future means that the consequences are seen happening when you make the chioce. In the demo, Crisbell sees a future where two of her neighbors' homes have been destroyed by Ash Blight, but there is only enough ointment to save one house, forcing her to choose which one will end up homeless.
- Cold Open: The demo starts with Crisbell in combat against goblins.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Crisbell, the heroine, wields a magical sword.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: In the first encounter with the Volcano Sisters, their powerful armor makes it impossible to harm them.
- In Medias Res: The demo starts with the town of Narim being assailed by goblins led by the Volcano Sisters. Time then rewinds back to the start of the day, showing how Crisbell got there.
- Logical Weakness: The Volcano Sisters have impenetrable defense when you first encounter them. The second time around, your time powers mean that you can cast them into the future. Normally, this only makes them even more powerful, but casting Water on them first causes their armor to rust, making them vulnerable to damage.
- Mana Meter: As usual for a JRPG, everyone has a MP reserve which is depleted when using special skills. Crisbell also has a CP meter, which is drained when using the power of the time crystals.
- Talking Animal: Matias is a talking frog. He tends to hide around Muggles in order to avoid shocking them.
- Time Master: As one might guess, time mages have powers over time. Crisbell can look into the past and future, and send Matias or her foes to other points in time. Willhelm uses his time mage powers to preserve his youthful appearance.
- Visual Initiative Queue: The order in which characters act in combat is shown on top of the screen.