Mediocre & Glitchy
HIGH The character art in stills.
LOW Glitch-filled. Mediocre combat.
WTF The severe lack of character development
Ages ago, a spell was cast on the land of Estera as a last, desperate attempt to stop an evil mage and his demonic army. The sources of this spell were mystical gems known as the Tears of Avia. Legend holds that one day a Seeker will be able to collect these tears, break the spell, defeat the demonic army and bring Estera back into the light. That is, as long as they can get past glitch-filled combat and a drab story.
Tears of Avia is a tactical turn-based RPG where players control a party of five characters. They travel from town to town to gather supplies, information, and additional allies to aid in their search for the Tears. So far, so classic fantasy game.
Combat is grid-based. Players will tactically organize their characters to be close enough to creatures to deal damage, but far away enough to not take too much in return. Depending on the character (be it a fighter, mage, or ranger class) there are different abilities that can deal additional damage, inflict status effects, or attack an area on the map to hit multiple creatures at once. As players win battles, they earn money to buy new weapons and gear, or to upgrade the special abilities. Again, standard stuff.
While the hand-drawn character art that appears during cutscenes is well-done, the art style feels dated. I understand taking inspiration from previous generations, but it feels too generic and basic here. Paired with that is the animation — walking around on the combat map or in a town looks decent enough, but everything feels stiff and forced in battle.
Avia is also weirdly light on storytelling and narrative for an RPG. For example, at one point the script calls for a bandit town where all of the townsfolk are cutthroat and murderous. In practice, the bandit town has three intractable NPC characters, two of which are merchants and the player doesn’t interact with them in any meaningful way, instead keeping on course with the main plot.
While it might have been a passable SRPG otherwise, Avia is brought down by its worst aspect — glitches. In battle, characters often stop mid-motion and their turn ends without taking their action, sometimes landing halfway between two grid spaces. If players end a turn while a character is moving, it’s possible that character will either return to their starting position or just stop completely. Occasionally there were attacks where a character would hit an enemy, but the damage would be wrongly assigned to a friendly party member five spaces away!
As a basic introduction to tactical RPGs, there are worse games to choose than Tears of Avia… but there are also so many better. However, with the amount of brokenness present in the content, I just can’t recommend it.
Disclosures: This game is developed by CooCooSqueaky Games, and published by PQubed limited. It is currently available on PC and XBO. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the XBO. Approximately 10 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated T and contains violence, blood, suggestive themes, and alcohol references. One character likes to drink, and characters will be using swords, arrows and magic to defeat evil monsters. Suggestive themes come from some of the characters dress, and there was one scene where there was a suggestion of a teacher/student relationship. Fairly tame, all things considered, but something to keep in mind. Younger adults are fine, but maybe not little kids.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: All information is provided via text as the game is voiced entirely in Japanese, but there is no option for resizing or altering text.
Remappable controls: This game features fully remappable controls.
While Sonic and Street Fighter were great places to start, his first love was Final Fantasy X when his dad bought a PS2. Ever since, that love for gaming has evolved -- there are a number of game worlds out there, and he intends to explore them all. RPG to horror, platformers to casual and everything in between -- if it’s available, he’ll play it.
While his time is short between writing reviews, tabletop gaming, and attempting to start a cheesecake business, he has caught all 806 pokemon and can speedrun Star Fox 64 in less than 40 minutes. He’s always looking for new things to try and new challenges to conquer. You can find him on Twitter -- @eugene_sax.