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Video Game / The Tenth Line

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The Tenth Line is a Genre-Busting Eastern-style RPG developed by Sungazer Software.

The plot follows a spoiled princess who is abducted from her homeland by a mysterious cult and finds herself stranded in an unfamiliar land, trying to enlist the local people to help her return home. Finding reliable allies proves to be a problem, however, as these are troubled times and the long-prophesied End of the World as We Know It is supposedly just around the corner.

The game was released on March 17, 2017 for the PC and Mac, and on PlayStation 4 on June 27, 2017. See the game's page on Steam.

Following tropes are to be found in the game:

  • All in a Row: Subverted. In the platforming explorations mode, you control only the leader of the primary party, while the other two generally tag along—but when accessing a location that can only be reached by the current leader, the others cannot follow them automatically and have to either find another way there or stay back. If the leader then initiates combat, party members not in the direct vicinity cannot join them in battle.
  • Area of Effect: Most attacks in the game (and all carried out by assist characters) affect more than one enemy, since the party is usually fighting scores of enemies at once.
  • Assist Character: In addition to the standing party members, some recruited allies only join the battle briefly to assist the party with particular combo attacks.
  • Author Appeal: The developer really likes lizards of all kinds—which is why there are so many draconic characters in the game.
  • Back Tracking: All recruitable characters have scripted interactions in certain locations—including locations that come before they can even be recruited, rewarding a dedicated player for backtracking all the way back with them in the party.
  • Beast Man: The landscape the princess finds herself in is populated by various beastfolk, among whom she now has to find allies.
  • Betting Mini-Game: The player can challenge almost any NPC to a game of "Quad Pro Quo" (an early prototype video)—an in-universe Collectible Card Game they wager money on.
  • Break Meter: Hitting an enemy again while it's "vulnerable" (i.e. still recovering from the previous attack) inflicts bonus damage.
  • Casting a Shadow: Black Dracomages like Tox wield the powers of darkness to great effect.
  • Cooldown: Combat skills have cooldowns that limit how often they can be used.
  • Cult: The first antagonists the princess encounters are a cult with a mysterious agenda. They've been feeding girls with a particular mark to a destructive light entity in hopes of placating it so that it won't destroy the world. Anne was just their latest sacrifice.
  • Eastern RPG: The game is pitched as a homage to the 32-bit era JRPGs, despite being developed by a South Carolina-based studio.
  • Elemental Powers: There are four elements in the game: fire, ice, sky (wind and lightning), and nox (debilitating attacks like poison).
  • The End of the World as We Know It: One has been prophesied long ago—or, at least, that's what most people in the setting believe.
  • Enemy Scan: The "Look" command lets you discover the properties of the enemies and the current terrain in battle. In a twist, each character can see and deduce different things about their surroundings.
  • Equipment-Based Progression: Character progression is handled almost entirely through finding better items, and even the basic stats are improved by sacrificing them.
  • Everyone Has a Special Move: Each primary party member has a unique specialty and even different character advancement mechanics. This extends both to combat and to the platforming exploration gameplay: the Princess can directly interact with heavy and stuck obstacles, Rik can throw things to activate otherwise unreachable objects, while Tox can use his current Breath Weapon on objects for a variety of effects.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The primary party, basically. The Princess is the fighter (with Combat Medic as secondary role), Tox is the mage, and Rik is the rogue/thief.
  • Fight Woosh: The game transitions to a separate battle screen when you encounter a group of enemies.
  • First Town: Shivbury is the first settlement the Princess finds herself in—in fact, it is host to the last tutorial messages the player sees.
  • Fox Folk: Kobold look like fennec foxes and are the target of a Sapient Fur Trade. Those that have been exiled from human lands tend to form packs for mutual defense.
  • Genre-Busting: The game looks like a mash-up of Eastern RPG, Platform Game, and a bit of Fighting Game—probably a result of its origins as an Eastern-style Action RPG.
  • Global Currency: The commonplace currency in the game's setting is called "Gildeds".
  • The Hedge of Thorns: The Tangle is a region overgrown with enormous thorns.
  • The Homeward Journey: The Princess trying to find a way home is the basic premise of the plot.
  • I Know Your True Name: Names have power in the game, so many human characters go by monikers rather than proper names (including the Princess). Word of God is, however, that it's not so much a property of the setting as a convention in the particular plot, so this trope is downplayed here.
  • Lazy Backup: The Assist Characters physically hang out (and can be interacted with) at the last save point you've cleared, only catching up with the core party briefly to deliver their attacks in combat and going back immediately.
  • Light 'em Up: Most of the Princess's ranged attacks are light-based. This also gives some of them healing effects.
  • Light Is Not Good: The princess has her light powers because of a mark connecting her to a world-ending entity of pure light.
  • Limit Break: The assist characters' "super attacks" require a full SP gauge to initiate.
  • The Lost Woods: A deep, foreboding forest is the third stop on the Princess' journey, after the Tangle and Shivbury.
  • New Game Plus: This option is available upon beating the game normally.
  • Noob Cave: The Tangle is the first area of the game where the players get their bearings.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Dragons in the setting came in all colors and are universally attuned to magic. Dracons are Draconic Humanoids supposedly descended from them and attuned to a specific element. Dracomages are Dracons who have great natural talent with magic of their element. Dracons are also able to interbreed with the setting's Lizard Folk, producing Drakelings.
  • Our Kobolds Are Different: Kobolds are humanoid fennec foxes about the size of a human child, whose fur is sought after by hunters.
  • Player Party: The primary party consists of three characters—the Princess, Rik, and Tox.
  • The Prophecy: The title refers to the tenth line in the setting's Sacred Scripture, which contains a number of prophecies, most of which have already come true. In a twist, the tenth prophecy is actually incomplete, so one one really knows what exactly it foretold.
  • Poisonous Person: Nox magic is poisonous in nature, taking the form of toxic green gasses. This makes its practitioners quite poisonous as well. Syx in particular is something of a walking chemical spill. Notably, it's associated with change and has an Order Versus Chaos dynamic with its opposite, Sky. Black Dracomages' darkness powers are also quite poisonous in high quantities.
  • Respawning Enemies: All (regular) enemies on the map respawn after you exit it and return or after you reload a save.
  • Resting Recovery: In battle, a character can waive the attack action on their turn and instead regain some health and skill power.
  • Roaming Enemy: Standard mobs roam the wilderness areas, and engaging one transitions the party to the battle screen.
  • RPGs Equal Combat: Combat is the first and, according to the creator, most important gameplay subsystem of the game.
  • Save Point: You are only allowed to save the game at specific locations.
  • Side Quest: In addition to the main story, the Princess can undertake several non-essential tasks for extra rewards.
  • Side View: The exploration gameplay takes place in a 2D side-scrolling perspective.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: Played with. Instead of a classic tree, each character has a Power Flow grid—a unique "board" of colored stat boost tiles, 2x2 skill tiles, and "blocker" tiles. Upon gaining a level, a character can place a looted item onto a tile connected to their starting "Source" tile for a small stat boost (in case of colored tiles, whose color determines which the stat is boosted) or a new skill (skill tiles). Blocker tiles cannot contain items and instead serve the purpose of directing the power progression onto a somewhat balanced course, and different items connect colored tiles to different neighbors, turning leveling-up into a minigame akin to Pipe Mania!!.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: The Tutorial Level introducing Rik's abilities involves him breaking, entering, and avoiding detection.
  • Stern Chase: The Princess finds herself on the run from some cultists from the start of the game.
  • Story Difficulty Setting: The "story only" mode removes all non-plot combat encounters, while drastically simplifying the plot-relevant ones, as well as the platforming segments.
  • Turn-Based Combat: The battles are of the one-side-one-turn variety, but with a twist that attack orders are given for all party members at once and the player then has to time them manually. On the AI's turn, the player likewise manually triggers each character's defensive actions.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: The essential party consists of the Princess, Rik and Tox.