Sometimes when you visit conventions, you get to see games in a very early state, early enough that you'll probably be seeing them again the next year. Such is the case with Sheena Games and their strategy RPG Realm Chronicle Tactics, which I played and enjoyed in an early form at last year's Tokyo Game Show. At the time, they were still uncertain about whether or not they were going to release the game in English, but this year they were back with the game in a more finished state and seemed quite open to the idea.

Realm Chronicle Tactics is a free-to-play SRPG built along the lines of Final Fantasy Tactics. There's a story to play through, complete with a cast of characters and cut-scenes between missions, with the game making use of a timed stamina system that you draw from on each stage attempt. The mechanics are quite familiar if you've played any Japanese-style strategy RPGs before. You control a squad of characters, each with their own weapons, skills, and so on. You have to eliminate the enemy forces before they do the same to you. The game is played on a grid-based map from a 3/4 overhead perspective, and the controls work pretty much like every other game of this type on iOS.

There are a couple of interesting features that separate Realm Chronicle Tactics from similar efforts, however. First is the idea of combos, wherein if you have multiple characters attack the same enemy unit, they'll start comboing off one another for extra damage. It kind of reminds me of the system in Terra Battle where you could rack up multiple hits through careful positioning. That's the other unusual aspect of Realm Chronicle Tactics. While many games of this type try to use large maps to convey the scale of a battlefield, this game opts for small, tight maps that convey a real sense of claustrophobia. You don't have room to run or fool around. The enemy is within range from the beginning of each and every stage, so you need to mount an offensive immediately if you want to survive.

These smaller maps not only increase the sense of urgency, they also make for shorter rounds than we typically see in this genre. I love my big, complex battles that take forever to resolve, but I can definitely see some merit in a game that gives me a similar type of play in smaller chunks. The challenge here will be to increase the stakes of each battle without being able to use larger maps filled with enemies, but I'm confident Sheena Games will find a way.

Last year, I remarked on the game's visuals, and they're even nicer this year. The game essentially looks complete, but the developer is still looking for a publisher willing to help them go worldwide with the title. I sincerely hope the next time I play Realm Chronicle Tactics, it won't be on a show floor, but in my comfy chair at home. We'll pass any new information on the game to you fine readers if and when we get it. In the meantime, check out our hands-on video to see some footage of the game and hear my painful attempts at comedy.

  • defunct32

    Looks promising, that map looks really squeezy though...

  • baldeagle86

    Oh man, this and fantasy war tactics are all I want lately, oh and about 7 other games 🙂

  • Matthew White

    Looked interesting until I saw it was free to play.

  • curtneedsaride

    Bummer. Lost me at "timed stamina system." But I guess people who don't want to pay upfront for games should have something to choose from in this genre too.

  • Michal Hochmajer

    Can you give us some more info about iapftp elements Shaun, please? And release date in Jp?

  • Pivi

    "Which is a free to play, premium strategy game". Errr, what? 🙂
    Timed stamina system made me uninterested in the game.

    • Shaun Musgrave

      Ah yeah, I said freemium there, not premium. Sorry, the mic sucked, and so does my elocution at times. I normally don't use the word 'freemium', but the developer had said it several times before we recorded. 🙂

      • Pivi

        Ah, okay. 🙂
        I'm sad that story based games are becoming free2play though. 🙁