By – Jarrett Riddle

Celestial Tear Review 3

Many gamers the world over often enjoy reminiscing about classic 16 and 32-bit RPGs; those timeless gems filled with gorgeous pixel environments, compelling stories, and innovative battle mechanics. Celestial Tear: Demon’s Revenge, White Guardian’s upcoming episodic title, aims to recapture the spirit of these much-beloved games. In this modern age of remakes, homages, and nostalgia trips, does Celestial Tear have what it takes to stand out from the crowd?

A refreshing change from traditional RPGs makes itself apparent from the very start of a new game: Celestial Tear offers multiple characters to choose from, each with their own story and abilities. In the current beta build, two of the game’s four adventurers are available to play through the first areas. Since development is still in relatively early stages, only the prologue of each character is accessible. As grieving demon hunter Jagen or emotionally afflicted Sen, you’ll learn about their back story and get the gist of how navigation and combat works. Both fighters’ opening chapter takes place around the same area, so I have a feeling they will cross paths somewhere down the line.

As Jagen, the story opens in a residential setting as the protagonist makes his way home. As he walks down the dreary street, whispers of gossiping townsfolk can be overheard. Everyone seems to know about the recent murder of Jagen’s wife. Not surprising, though, as he seems to be doing quite well for himself and thus a common interest amongst the commoners. A friend of Jagen’s stops him and shares their view of the demon-like creatures that were responsible for his wife’s death: they’re all horrible monsters deserving of slaughter. Jagen, though obviously hurting from his loss, keeps a cool head and disagrees, stating that these beings are known as jehts, not demons, and not automatically deserving of an ill fate. Once home, Jagen decides to join the Ridders, a nearby military organization dedicated to “ridding” the forest area of hostile threats. His first assignment is to empty out the wolves’ nest and kill the pack leader. Along the way he’ll meet a few strong companions and learn the shady intentions of some Ridder high-ups.

Celestial Tear Review 3

Sen’s tale begins on a different note, with her pondering about where she’s going to get her next meal. It appears that she’s one of those jehts that the Ridders are after. Like Jagen, Sen has experienced much loss in her life, but has the voice of her brother to keep her from going all-out ballistic. After being caught by the Ridders, however, she loses it and tears her captors a new one despite her brother’s calming words. Making her way back to a hideout in the forest, she wonders what her place in the world as a jeht is and how to carry on without killing again.

Story isn’t the only difference between the two available characters, as their journeys lead them down drastically different paths. This means they have quite different obstacles to overcome as well. Outside of combat, Jagen’s powerful scythe weapon can be used to chop through progress-blocking weeds while Sen’s water magic can flood bee nests to both prevent swarms and acquire health-increasing honey. Jagen’s section involves a lot of fighting and forest navigating. He will need to climb, shimmy, and even swim deep underwater to complete his goal. Sen will be traveling solo throughout the foggy forest, solving puzzles and reading the journals of those who once lived. There’s a little bit of fighting in Sen’s story, but she spends much more time exploring and figuring things out.

But a game is hardly an RPG without combat, and Celestial Tear handles it with flair. When not in a battle, enemies can be clearly seen moving about. In most cases, you can run around and away from threats, but these fights are invaluable for giving your party experience necessary for leveling up. Once an aggressor is encountered, the screen shifts to a close-up, side perspective of the battle. Combat progresses as one would expect in this type of game, but with a few neat tweaks to attacks. Instead of simply selecting the attack option and watching the character do their jog to the enemy and land a blow, the game pauses when the fighter reaches the creature.

Celestial Tear Review 3

Here you’ll be given four points to use for the attack. Light swings use only one point and are likely to hit, but have decreased damage. Medium swings take two points and are average in damage and hit chance. Hard swings take three points, and you can guess the rest. You can use any combination of these to use up the four points before your turn ends. Better yet, the protagonists can learn devastating moves that play out when a meter is filled and the correct combo is entered. Also, each party member has their own set of skills that can be used so long as they have the energy for them, and protagonists can upgrade or even gain new skills as they level up. These additions to the traditional battle system ensures every fight is fun and unique.

Puzzles can come in the form of finding hidden switches, getting through deathtrap labyrinths, or simply finding the correct route among many. They’re all done incredibly well and allow a needed break between fight bouts. The puzzle areas in Sen’s chapter in particular are great and are what make her section a little more fun than Jagen’s to me. The fact alone that there these non-combat mechanics and aspects in the game pulls it ahead of many RPGs which rely heavily on grinding alone.

Graphics in Celestial Tear are nothing short of breathtaking. A clock actively ticks away, changing the lighting and feeling of scenery depending on the time of day. The wind carries petals delicately across rugged mountains and fog wafts over old, abandoned cabins, giving each respective area a distinctive feel. Incredible rippling effects are on display in underwater tunnels, adding even more aquatic ambiance to the fish and jellyfish-filled coves. Battle backgrounds are spectacularly drawn, and player characters and creatures alike are animated with great care. Character portraits are wonderfully done as well, breaking from the expectation of generic, pre-drawn faces found in many other RPG Maker games. Screen ratios can be sorted through but as of now the resolution can’t be chosen. The sprites scaled up nicely to my 1920×1080 resolution though, as sprite-based artwork tends to do.

Celestial Tear Review 4

Music fits the setting and never grows dull or irritating. Even better, sound effects are superbly done and feature everything you’d expect like smacks, growls, and explosions. Of particular note are the voice-acted dialogues with talented actors that accurately portray the emotions and intent behind the words. Only the most important characters are voiced and at times not them either, but when they are it adds a layer of immersion and professionalism to the whole experience.

Gamepad input is fully supported, with my 360 controller working like a charm. I’ve personally had no issues whatsoever when moving or performing combos in battles. When I encounter a situation where I can perform jumping, climbing, swimming, or another action, after hitting the prompted button it always does the desired action without a hitch. While the gamepad is plugged in, other input methods aren’t possible; this lead me to believe that the game doesn’t support the keyboard. However, after unplugging the pad, the keys work just fine for performing all actions.

I encountered a few CTDs when trying to converse with people and access save points after completing the wolves’ den objective with Jagen. The first time this happened I was trying to overwrite my previous save, and after crashing and restarting the game, my save was erased. Thankfully nothing like this happened with Sen’s chapter, and hopefully the developers will have nasty bugs like that fixed by release time. They seem to update frequently, so I’m not too worried the final product will have such frustrations.

Celestial Tear Review 3

Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?

Celestial Tear: Demon’s Revenge isn’t your run-of-the-mill indie game. White Guardian Studios have obviously taken great time and care to craft this atmospheric world, and with the prologue alone taking me eight hours to complete with both characters, it’s sure to offer more exciting gameplay. While I’m not the biggest fan of episodic installments, I personally can’t wait for the first official chapter of this game to be released on November 19th. I recommend  Celestial Tear: Demon’s Revenge to anyone who enjoys great, old-fashioned RPGs.

Celestial Tear Technical Summary:

Celestial Tear Review 3

  • Time Played – 8 Hours
  • Widescreen Support – Yes
  • Windowed Mode – Yes
  • Resolution Played – 1920×1080
  • Bugs/Crashes Encountered – Some
  • DRM – Steam
  • System Specs – 3.7 GHz AMD A10-6700, 768MB Radeon 8670D, 8GB RAM
  • Control Scheme – Gamepad
  • Acquisition Method – Review Copy
  • Availability – Steam
  • Demo – No
  • Saved Game – SteamApps\common\Celestial Tear Demon’s Revenge
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