In the modern world the distinction between PC and console has become steadily blurrier; at this point, a console’s basically just a low-end PC with a couple of exclusive games, so even referring to “console-style RPGs” is becoming a little silly. Still, we’ve seen RPGs that obviously hearken back to the 16-and-32-bit days show up on PC every now and again, with the first that springs to mind being Septerra Core from back in 1999.
Trulon: The Shadow Engine is another game that obviously borrows some inspiration from those magical times, and despite being a clear mobile port it might still be worth a look.
Trulon stars Gladia, a young monster hunter and tinker who finds herself on a journey to determine the source of monsters infesting the land. This eventually leads into gathering a team and seeking the cause of a sickness that’s causing issues for innocent people. This isn’t exactly a globe-spanning title and the action is relatively limited in scope, but the effort is appreciated. While some of the concepts the plot touches on are a bit dark, Trulon pulls its punches fairly consistently and feels like it would be an appropriate RPG for younger gamers. Imagine something like Final Fantasy Mystic Quest back in the day and you’ve got the idea.
Trulon’s combat system is really the high point of the game. Gladia and her friends battle mutant monkeys, ghosts and others using cards. There are a variety of cards available with different effects, ranging from mass attacks to defense-boosting stances, and it can pay to inspect ya deck like the Wu-Tang Clan to optimize it for the foes you’ll be fighting.
Some cards require you to consume magic power in order to activate them, so you’ll need to manage your magic resources as well. What’s more, there are different types of magic – some of your characters drink blue Kool-Aid while others prefer red, and you’ll have to pay attention to those separately. Trulon’s battles feel like they’re fairly tightly designed, so much so that they can play out like puzzles where you’ll need to use just the right cards at just the right time to persevere.
The presentation here is generally acceptable, though its mouse-centric interface betrays the game’s roots as a mobile title and is bound to frustrate players now and again. Gladia’s world is bright and colorful, if not especially well-animated; in particular, combat animations are sparse and the majority of attacks look alike. This takes a little of the spice out of an otherwise solid battle system, especially since the animations are unskippable so far as I can tell and combat can take quite some time already.
While its lazy control scheme and animations bring the experience down a bit, they can’t overshadow the game’s colorful graphics and unique combat system. it’s not the deepest or most epic journey out there, but Trulon: The Shadow Engine is still an interesting experience for RPG fans to check out.