Once upon a time, there was a 1982 puppet animated dark fantasy adventure film called The Dark Crystal. Sadly, I’ve never watched it (I wasn’t even alive in 1982), but hey, from the little that I know, it seems like it’s ended up being a cult classic. Evidently, it’s loved a lot more than I thought as Netflix has decided to make a series based on the film, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
But that’s not all, Netflix has given the “thumbs up” for developer BonusXP and publisher En Masse Entertainment to bring the world of Thra into the video game world with the tactical strategy game, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics. After going hands-on with a demo of it at PAX West, to my surprise, as someone who’s not yet very familiar with The Dark Crystal, I walked away thinking that the game is a special crystal in the making.
As aforementioned, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics is set in the world of Thra, and will have players will set out on an epic journey to ignite the fires of rebellion and save the world from destruction. I can’t share much more about the story since I just played a demo of the game; however, players can expect to play through and also go beyond the events of the new Netflix series. So chances are, if you’ve watched the series so far, you’ll be familiar with a good chunk of the story in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics. That said, players will encounter never-seen-before characters, stories, and environments, so there’ll be something new for both fans of the series and series newcomers to enjoy.
For me, just taking in everything that the demo offered was my goal. At the start, I noticed that the developer clearly had done their homework with the Netflix series, as all visual elements in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics, like distinct character models to the characters’ animations, matched the overall look found in the series. Accomplishing this, especially so early on in the game’s development, is pretty impressive — to say the least.
After soaking in the whimsical vibe within, it was then time to get down to business to defeat the Huns… I mean, the Skeksis. To prepare for battle, I was tasked with picking out characters to join my party. This itself was a massive undertaking for a couple of reasons: 1. There were several characters to choose from, and 2. I didn’t know any of the characters. Thankfully for me, David Whitfield, product manager at En Masse Entertainment, swooped in to help me out and gave me a nice rundown of each character and each job class they had.
With my party good to go, I entered into battle. For the turn-based tactical combat system in the demo, I was surprised by how it wasn’t too difficult to get the hang of. To put it simply, each character can move once and do one action per turn, similar to the likes of Final Fantasy Tactics, or a more recent tactical RPG, Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. But really, this was only just the beginning as the two battles I took on required me to be strategic and have a clear understanding of my character’s abilities. Also, I even had to be aware of my surroundings, like how and where a character was placed on a specific, dynamic environment could put me at a disadvantage.
For instance, there was an adorable healer-like, magic-specialist character named “Pombo” who could unleash a wicked AoE (Area of Effect) fire spell, but the kicker with him was that one behind-the-back enemy hit basically made his health drop down to almost zero. Even though Pombo did end up dying during my time with the demo, overall, battles were fun, and I got a good gist of how players could want to replay battles over and over again.
At the end of it all, the demo of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics was a pleasant tactical adventure surprise that was both whimsical and fun. If you’re a fan of the Netflix series the game is based on, or if you’re like me, a total newcomer, you may want to consider giving this game a-go.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics is set to make its way to Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC and Mac-via Steam sometime in late 2019.
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