I’ve been a fan of RPG’s since the early Final Fantasy titles of long ago. So I’m always down for checking out and playing them, especially when they tend to mix things up by adding card-based combat in them like Trulon: The Shadow Engine does from Headup Games. If you’re looking for a nice, budget RPG title to play and enjoy combat with cards, this just might get your shadow engine fired up.
Things start off with our young heroine named Gladia, a monster hunter who learned the tricks of the trade from her father. What starts out as a simple quest of her dad asking her to go to town ends up becoming an adventure of a lifetime, thanks to tons of monsters lurking about and a spreading illness that has no known cure. It falls to Gladia and some allies she comes across in her quest to find a cure, stop the monsters, and prevent some factions of people to not destroy the world before she has a chance to save it.
Like most RPGs, the controls consist mostly of you opening menus and selecting things from new gear you get, to applying new skills you learn as you level. The main battle system here is called “Tactics”, a card-based way of fighting against foes. At first the battles are simple as you just throw down one or two cards that you start with, but as you progress, you’ll earn better cards to add to your arsenal which allow you to get more creative with your strategies. You’ll also come across some items that will apply “Assault Tactics” to your cards which randomly boost your deck with special abilities such as raising defense or offense, healing, elemental magic, and more.
As far as graphics and audio go, Trulon originally was a mobile game that was later released on Steam for the PC, which has now made its way to the Xbox One which I’m reviewing. The game definitely has a budget/mobile look, as everything has a simple yet clear look to them. This is all well and good until you get to the combat where each attack reuses an animation clip over and over that’s overlaid on top of the battle area instead of making the characters in-game fight. At least the music and voices aren’t too bad and tend to breathe some fun into the game as you play.
Despite its budget look and feel, and some technical hiccups here and there, Trulon: The Shadow Engine is a decent card-combat RPG that anyone can pick up and play. Interesting characters, fun card battles, and a story you’ll want to see through to the end are just a few of things that’ll get your shadow engine running for this one.