From the British study, CooCooSqueaky Games comes Tears of Avia, an interesting turn-based tactical RPG. You are the seeker, the chosen to search for the Tears, and you have the mission to collect them before the Ancient Demon’s henchmen take them to open the door to the Demonic Realm and take the world of Estera with a demonic army.
The story premise is interesting, but you will advance eventually on it, with some events in the cities, and other before starting a fight. Initially, this game’s story is slow, but when you advance further you will have different dialogue choices which will influence in the epilogue. At the start, this can be a positive factor if you look for pure tactical combats without intromissions, but I miss a major role of the story. There are secondary quests, but they don’t seem relevant, you can finish one, and the game will not warn you about this. You have to check it with the character which gives you the mission. Also, they give you some new characters (the secondary missions needs a better role) and nice rewards. If you want to test yourself, You have an arena mode too.
There are five main characters, you have to choose one at the start of the game. You will meet the others during the adventure, and they will join you. The difference is that this character will be irremovable of your team. The prologue dialogues vary depending on which character you choose, but the rest of the adventure will depend on other factors. In this prologue, you will get your first ally too, Afren (warrior class). There are a total of 16 playable characters.
There are five different characters’ classes. Every main character has one, but there are other allies with the same category:
- The Warrior (Kai): Class specialized on melee attacks and defensive/leadership skills. You can use them as main melee damagers or can be tanks with support abilities. The class-main weapon is the Sword.
- The Brawler (Raul): Class specialized on melee attacks and special attacks using their health to deal vast damage. They have less defence than warriors, but they have more speed. The class-main weapon are the Knuckles.
- The Ranger (Reina): Class specialized on ranged attacks and on summoning wild animals (wolves, spiders, bears…even dragons). They deal big individual damage, but they are weaker at melee ranges.
- The Mage (Iris): Class specialized on elemental magic, with fire, ice, and lighting. They have powerful elemental attacks and area damage skills. Weaker at melee ranges.
- The Healer (Momoka): Class specializes in healing and sacred magic. They heal their selves and the allies, also, they deal big damage on undead enemies. Weaker at melee ranges and they are very poor attackers.
Preparing your party
Every class has 3 skills trees. You will obtain skill points levelling up to unlock all the abilities, and you will unlock them in a relatively short time, but you only can use 5 at combat. You can upgrade every skill from LV 1 to LV 5 if you buy the corresponding item to do this in the shop, but you will need these items for every skill. Choose wisely or you will grind a lot to achieve this because you will not receive gold enough after winning the battles. Also, when you unlock several skills you will see that there are some interesting combinations to trigger. For example, Iris has some skills that burn the enemy, then Raul has a skill that deals more damage if the enemy is burnt. And as it’s many more.
Every class has a predetermined weapon, but you can equip every weapon in other characters, although this will be useless because they are oriented to the class skills. Every weapon has its skills, from a simple attack to special attacks, which will cost SP (the game’s PM or Mana) and they will need some recharge turns. For example, I got an axe with an ability to realize 3 attacks to the same target and it was very useful, but I needed the simple attack ability because I had to wait for some turns to use the triple attack again.
Tears of Avia is a turn-based tactical game. At the start, you deploy your characters, with a maximum of 5. You can move and use a skill every turn with all the deployed characters. Some skills have special animations (sometimes the Raul the brawler seems a Saiyan but without the blonde hair xD) obtaining experience with these actions. After you turn, the enemies will proceed to their moves and attacks. You will win if you defeat all the enemies. At the end of the battles, you will obtain gold, weapons, and accessories. The accessories are different from the weapons, they only have character stats values (HP, SP, attack…), and every character can equip up to 3. After every battle, you will come back to the last city visited. You will have to use the map to choose where will be your next fight. That feels a little awkward because it breaks the battles’ momentum. There are two difficulties, normal and hardcore. On hardcore, enemies will be stronger and there will be field ailments, asides from the provoked by your party or your enemies. Also, if one of the main characters you will get a game over, and if one of the others die, he/she will disappear permanently. If you need help, there are deities in the cities’ chapels where you can make offerings and obtain some bonuses, like more attack or less SP consume. You will have to choose carefully, when you offer gold to a deity, another one dislikes it, and its bonus will decrease. Others will level up too but in a less %.
Every stage will have three stars to obtain, three challenges, if you accomplish them, you will receive better rewards. You can earn them on different attempts, you can get one at the first try, then replay the stage and obtain the others. There are initial stages’ challenges only achievable after some story progress, as finish the first mission deploying five characters (the first time you only have two, you know). At some stages, you will lose a couple of turns just to reach your enemies, even with the ranged units (yes you have read it well) so some challenges will be harder than others. Fortunately, you can skip the skills and movements animations, it will be useful in the stages with tons of enemies.
Graphics, Soundtrack & Other stuff
The Tears of Avia graphics are in 3D, the game looks nice, the characters have a good anime style, but the stages look empty. In battle, you will pass this, but the cities are empty. Tirig, the second city that you will see, has tons of NPCs in the scenario but you only can interact with the ones that offer some service, like your partners to make changes to your party or the shopkeepers, so the emptiness feeling is constant. The soundtrack is good, except for the main menu theme, which is exceptional. The cities have their music track, battles have another and the map has another melody, among others, they accompany you very well during your adventure. The game has texts in English, Deutsch, French, among others. The characters’ voices are in Japanese. It has achievements and cards (steam). It’s available on Xbox One and PC.
OVERALL: 7.5. Tears of Avia is an interesting tactical premise and a good anime atmosphere. It has some interesting strategical points, but the story rhythm and some battles are too slow. Sometimes you won’t remember the motive of your fights, but the tactical mechanics are great to entertain you. I liked it, but it disappointed me a little, I had better expectations, but it’s a good game. If you like the genre, and the anime universe, or just pure tactical battles without extra stuff, you probably will like it, but there are better options in the genre.