Trulon: The Shadow Engine is a good old-fashioned turn-based RPG that boasts pretty & colourful visuals & easy to understand gameplay. However, a boorish plot, a lack of content & frustrating difficulty spikes stops it being a great game.
Developed by Kyy Games, Trulon is set in a world of steampunk & magic. Players take on the role of Gladia, a monster huntress sent on a quest to find a cure to the disease that is spreading across the land of Tripudia.
Alongside 3 companions, Gladia will uncover a plot that goes to the highest levels of power within the land.
As plots go, Trulon: The Shadow Engine is standard RPG fare. We’ve seen it before & it doesn’t capture the imagination. What doesn’t help are the bland characters, forgettable & very interchangeable. With no real cut-scenes, no voice acting (text bubbles) & no emotional punches there is no reason to ever get invested in them.
Also as the game uses a card drawing system for battles there isn’t much variation in their attacks. Although some cards are unique to each character. This card system is initially confusing but once you get to grips with it, it’s very simple. With the right setup you can breeze through groups of enemies with ease.
Cards are collected throughout the world in hidden treasure chests & by winning battles. Some cards are more powerful or specialised and require your character to use the games version of mana. At the start of a battle the game will randomly choose your starting deck & as you use cards they are replaced by others from your collection.
While initially based on luck, there is a fair amount of strategy involved when it comes to playing the right cards. Battles can be turned around in an instant with just the right one played at just the right time.
Cards such as stun & freeze become invaluable later in the game!
Characters also level up improving their stats with a cap of 30 in place. Without going out of your way & fighting the occasional random battle you’ll reach at least level 23 before the final boss. However early on in the game you’ll find sudden difficulty spikes as the story progresses faster than your levels do. Fighting random battles & completing side quests is key to ensuring you stay competitive throughout. Not that there is much punishment for losing. The game will literally throw you back at the battle you just fought giving you the option to try again or walk away & level up some more.
There are various items that characters can equip that give additional bonuses such as improved defences or additional attacks. Unfortunately, the menus, while simple, are not optimised for a controller & can be frustrating to use.
Visually Trulon is nice to look at. The simple graphical style is bright, colourful & pops out of the screen. Musically it’s simple & sweet but gets repetitive the longer you play. It’s hardly memorable stuff but pleasant enough.
There isn’t a lot of replay value in the game. The story can be wrapped up in a matter of hours & even if you take the time to complete all the side-quests it can still be finished in under 5 hours. There’s even an achievement/trophy for that.
Annoyingly there is no end-story content. Once the final boss is beaten, you’re back in the starting village & initiating a conversation with the mayor will see the game end. You can walk around the village but you’re unable to leave. There’s absolutely nothing to do in the village so it’s pointless giving you this brief bit of freedom.
Bear that in mind if you’re going for a couple of the achievements/trophies & thinking you can get them once the plot is wrapped up. You can’t.
For all its problems, Trulon: The Shadow Engine is a decent game that is easy to grasp, visually pretty to look at & fun to play. A better plot & more interesting/deeper characters could have resulted in a really great experience.
Trulon: The Shadow Engine