Cris Tales is a Role-Playing Game developed by Colombian independent studio Dreams Uncorporated and SYCK, and published Modus Games. It is described as a "love letter to classic JRPGs", featuring hand-drawn art and turn-based combat.
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 Early 2021 (originally late 2020 before postponing) on Steam, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch. A demo version is available.
The demo version of Cris Tales contains examples of the following tropes:
- Action Commands: The demo starts with a battle, in which Matias instructs Crisbell how to use these in combat.Matias: Getting that second hit requires precise timing! Make sure you push the [attack] button again right as your attack hits the enemy.
- The Ageless: Willhelm, another time mage (but one that has only unlocked one half of Crisbell's powers), uses his powers to preserve his youthful appearance; Crisbell originally mistakes him for a child when they meet in the demo.
- 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 choice. 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 and Christopher in combat against goblins.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Crisbell, the heroine playable in the demo, wields a magical sword in combat.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: In the first encounter with sisters Volcano and Galley, which is the third fight in the demo, their powerful armor makes it impossible to harm them.
- How We Got Here: When the first battle against sisters Volcano and Galley in the demo appears unwinnable, time then rewinds back to the start of the day, showing how Crisbell got there (and what she can use to win).
- In Medias Res: The demo starts with the town of Narim being assailed by goblins led by the Volcano Sisters.
- Logical Weakness: The Sisters, Volcano and Galley, have impenetrable defense when you first encounter them in the demo; they combine their giant metal shields, each already as tall as they are, to block all incoming damage. The second time around, towards the end of the demo, your unlocked time powers mean that you can cast them into the future. Normally, this only makes them even more powerful, but Christopher casting Water on them first causes their armor to have rusted over time, making them vulnerable to damage.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Christopher, the male mage who is the second party member gained in the demo, carries a shield half as tall as he is.
- 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. In the demo, during combat, Crisbell and Christopher's stats are displayed in the bottom-left corner; the green bar is health, yellow is MP, and red is CP (and is absent for Christopher).
- Talking Animal: Matias, a friend of more experienced time mage Wilhelm the Wise who provides the tutorial in the demo, is a talking frog. He tends to hide around Muggles in order to avoid shocking them.
- The Hecate Sisters: The local church, which must be explored in the demo, has a stained glass window with three female figures who appear to represent Crisbell's past, present and future selves (given that they are literally wearing the exact same outfit, and Crisbell gains her Time Master powers immediately after, with past and future shown on the same sides as, respectively, the younger and older women in the stained glass).
- Time Master: As one might guess, time mages have powers over time. Crisbell is special, as she can look into both the past and future (such as when she sees the destruction of her neighbors' homes in the demo), and send Matias or her foes to other points in time (such as the demo's second fight against sisters Volcano and Galley); in comparison, more experienced time mage Wilhelm (also encountered in the demo) can only use his power to be The Ageless.
- Visual Initiative Queue: The order in which characters act in combat, such as in the battles at both the start and the end of the demo against Goblins and sisters Volcano and Galley, is shown at the top of the screen.