Written by Jonathan Lee, October 5, 2017, 12:00 AM. Tweet to: @Writerscube
Enter the World of Trulon
Published by Headup Games and developed by Finnish studio Kyy Games, Trulon: The Shadow Engine is a steampunk RPG that has come to the PS4 scene after it’s PC release in March 2016. Before PC, it was availabe on Mobile. Much like other games that were initially exclusive to a specific system, Trulon: The Shadow Engine eventually hopped its way to the PS4 store, releasing on September 12, 2017. Its indie aesthetic carries a mix of 2D illustrated avatars and Unity-engine environments. This made for a unique game setting that I seldom run into in my usual gaming. I was intrigued. Before we go further, I’d like to also thank the folks at Headup Games for providing me a review copy of Trulon: The Shadow Engine!
What’s In The Game?
Trulon: The Shadow Engine plays like a traditional RPG in several ways. Thinking on games like Square Enix’s Final Fantasy 7, Trulon: The Shadow Engine has turned-based combat, a world map, and dialogue boxes for character interactions. But that’s not to say this game isn’t unique. To mix things up, Trulon: The Shadow Engine injects a refreshing layer of strategic combat in the form of skill cards. Throughout the game, you will collect skill cards that you may attach to characters. In combat, you’ll be granted a random hand of these skill cards with which to slay your foes.
The plot isn’t anything too deep. So far, that is. At present, I’m supposed to talk to a merchant, but I can’t seem to get the dialogue to activate with the fellow despite it being my next step, so I’m hoping this will get patched or I’m going to try restarting my game file to finish it. The main character is a monster huntress by the name of Gladia of the peaceful land of Tripudia. Initially, you set off to investigate a surge in monster sightings, but you quickly come upon evidence that leads you to suspect the industrial kingdom of Maelon of sabotage and preparation of war. Nothing like a war between kingdoms to get a story going! And you’ll run into three companions along the way who each have their own specific skill cards to add to the strategic depth of the combat system.
As mentioned before, the combat system is turn-based. At the beginning, the skill card system seems simple enough. But as you run into tougher battles, the skill card system starts to shine even brighter. Before you know it, you’ll be sorting your deck over and over as you try to maximize its draw efficiency and card probability. Without the right cards, battles become even harder, and your party will start to die more than you’d expect. It is this surprising depth in the skill card system that made me have to offer the game some kudos. You wouldn’t think this would be the case at first sight!
There are tactics that can be added to your cards depending on the equipment you put on your characters. At one point, I had Gladia using some skill cards that did not only their initial effect, but also stunned
enemies, which proved invaluable against the really tough monsters. The magic user of the party, Ferra, was able to heal himself with certain skills that had a tactic attached, enabling him to keep the party alive and making him much tougher. And the items that you may equip your characters also bolster their stats, further adding to their survival. And you’ll want to take into account each character’s unique skill cards when deck building. What synchronicity you can achieve with your random hands of cards will go a long way.
Trulon: The Shadow Engine is a game that I would encourage gamers to investigate (so long as that Merchant quest in Maelon gets fixed), if not for a story about the conflict between Maelon and Tripudia, then try it for the refreshing card-based combat. The last time I enjoyed a deck-based combat system was Phantom Dust on the Xbox (I know. Old.) and once I got into it, I was having fun with Trulon: The Shadow Engine‘s own combat. There’s a certain satisfaction with finding a max-efficient card setup (probably comes from my Magic the Gathering days).
The characters are engaging and distinctive in both their play styles as well as their dialogue, so you’ll enjoy the moments of characterization in-between the battles. I eagerly await getting to see what the last remaining party member is like once I can progress in the game. And finally, it’s always neat to see a game based on a novel, and this one’s based on Jak Koke’s novel based in the world of Trulon (Unfortunately, as of the writing of this article, I cannot find this Shadow Gears novel that the game is supposed to be based on. In the embedded link, you will find Jak Koke’s announcement of his collaboration with Trulon’s creator and Game Designer Johan Lillbacka. I quite wanted to check this novel out! The collaboration is mentioned on the game’s Steam page.)
Here’s to hoping a patch comes soon. I do want to see the rest of the story since I’ve been enjoying it so far.
(Keep an eye on this article, as I will be updating it once I can progress in this game and finish it. I will be attempting to start a New Game file and see if that remedies the Merchant quest situation)