Guardian Tales - 2020 First Impressions and Thoughts
This game brings back some serious A Link to the Past feels, man. I’m a fan of RPGs – they helped me get through my childhood years, and action-adventure titles like this were a major part of that stage of my life.
Guardian Tales takes what was fun about 90s RPGs and brings it to a new age of gamers in a colorful, satirical, tongue-in-cheek kinda way, and I love it. And before you ask – this is a game that has absolutely no auto-play. At all. No auto-pathing. No auto-combat. No auto features.
Alright, so before we begin, we’re given a small introduction to some of the main characters. We then learn that our kingdom is under attack, face off against a giant demon, run away from the demon, meet back up with the demon, fail to escape the demon, and wake up alone in a forest.
And thus begins our journey, right?
Immediately you’ll recognize the kind of game this is. You play the game from an overhead perspective, moving vertically, horizontally and even diagonally around the field using the D-Pad, something that I haven’t seen used in many a moon.
Most of the environment is interactive – meaning that you’re capable of lifting, moving, breaking, activating, and engaging with much of your surroundings.
This plays as pivotal role in the game, as Guardian Tales, while yes, it’s definitely an action adventure RPG, is also a very strategy-driven game as well, providing various types of puzzles to solve.
I played for around what, 6 hours straight obtaining footage for this video, and I’ll admit, the further I got through it the more enthralled I became by it.
The core of the game is much what you’d expect: It has various Chapters to progress through, with each Chapter providing a plethora of different levels to play through. However they go above and beyond, providing side-quests while out in the field, side-quests that unlock new areas to explore, provide new gear, or new characters.
This is something I haven’t seen done before, and is a level of depth I find sorely missing from mobile games. Instead of running through small, linear zones – instead of auto-battling and auto-pathing, Guardian Tales has you take the time to explore and play the game, completely.
The various maps you come across are also aesthetically varied. Speaking of the maps, or, rather speaking of the graphics in general, this game looks great. I’ve played a couple mobile RPGs that genuinely look really good, and I can happily make the claim that this is one of them.
Running around the forests, in the towns, heck, even my own flying castle looked incredible. Yup – you get your own flying castle that you can construct buildings in and most importantly.. see all your recruited heroes wandering around. And they’re so adorable!
But all of that is meaningless if the combat sucks, right? The combat is an integral part of what makes every game worth playing, after all.
Combat in Guardian Tales is not complicated at all. Where traditionally mobile games are cluttered with a ridiculously oversized UI, Guardian Tales has a small map, your party info, D-Pad, exploration info and dash, attack and ability buttons. That’s it – the UI is clean, modern and doesn’t get in the way of playing.
As noted, you have your basic attack button, your dash button which also functions as an interact button as well, and your ability. There are quite a few different weapon types, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and unique abilities.
Choosing the right weapon type for the kind of playstyle you want isn’t easy, as sometimes the gear you find is just substantially better than what you currently have equipped that learning the intricate differences for each weapon type is integral to the success of the encounter.
Combat requires active management of your cooldowns, dashing to avoid enemy attacks, weaving between AoEs from several targets at once, all the while attempting to launch your own barrage of attacks.
And as you progress further through the game, it continues to get progressively more difficult. By the time I’d finished my recording, I was almost dead by the end of each map. It got unbelievably difficult, and my party members felt that.. as they were both always dead.
Speaking of, yes, you can actually recruit characters to aid you in your journey through the game. There are over 50 characters currently available as of the release. I think by the time I finished, I’d unlocked 8 or 9 of them.
They have individual levels just as you do, and require you to equip them much in the same way you equip yourself, meaning you’re required to decide if you necessarily want to heavily equip yourself with all the good gear, leaving them to constantly die.
You also have costumes for your characters, allowing you to actively swap and customize what you look like. I had this adorable outfit that I wore for half the game, and then unlocked a weird.. neko outfit, and did the rest as a catgurl ’cause.. catgurl.
While Guardian Tales can be played as a single-player RPG, there are a variety of multiplayer activities as well. You’re capable of playing with up to 3 other players and participating in 4-player co-operative raids and 1v1 PvP.
I never participated in the PvP so I can’t say how it functions but I’m definitely a fan of PvP in my games and would no doubt have absolutely dominated my enemies. ’cause I’m me, and I’m awesome.
There’s also guild functionality, allowing guilds to create and manage their own Guild Houses. These can be customized, and actually allow players to walk around in in real-time with all of the other guild members.
Overall, I had a lot of fun in Guardian Tales. I did not think I would have as much fun as I did, but I can safely say that this is a much higher quality game than I would have ever expected.
The incredibly fun storyline, the sheer amount of content to do – both in the form of main-quests and side-quests, the Tower, dungeons, and other features, the levels, the combat, the sheer depth of the game.
This is a game I’ll definitely continue my adventures through as it’s honestly something I’ve wanted to see for a long while now.