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Tale of the Ice Staff (Switch) Hands-on Preview

by Daan Koopman - September 16, 2018, 6:38 am PDT
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A Zelda-like game shown off way before it's time to really shine.

During a games convention, you get to see titles at various stages of development: some close to release, others a little ways off. Tale of the Ice Staff, however, really seemed like the title was being demoed way too early. Now, to give credit where due, the game is made by a single person. He is getting help from Zodiac Interactive to ensure that the game will be finished and released on the Nintendo Switch. The problem here, honestly, is that the product seemed very unpolished.

Tale of the Ice Staff tries to be a top-down Zelda game so much is clear. You will move, dash and have attacks attached to various buttons. There is a basic sword attack that does a swiping motion, but also fire and nature-based elemental attacks to destroy or get control over the enemies. It played all right, but the main character Yersa did move a little on the slow side. Another problem I had was lining up the magic in a way that felt satisfying. The enemies can shoot freely in any direction they like, while you are stuck with just 8 directions.

Outside of the basic issues I just mentioned, the demo was extremely glitchy. At one point I was running away from a boss, and the camera just stopped following me. Another instance saw me heading a certain direction, but that part of the game wasn’t built yet. The only thing I got to see was my character walking off screen and never coming back. Other game demos would block these paths altogether, but not this one.

After rebooting and knowing the correct path to travel, I finished the demo in about 15 minutes. Honestly, I got the hang of the controls and managed to make due somehow. The thing that I stayed with me is how the game looks. Sincerely, it has a sharp and fun visual style that is enjoyable to watch. Tale of the Ice Staff feels a little Earthbound-esque in its character design, but of course with a fantasy setting. That is what honestly made me the most excited about the game.

Tale of the Ice Staff has a long way to go. It is coming to Nintendo Switch in 2019, and I really hope that they are taking their time, for the sake of players and the developer. The intention and premise are sound, but the game being showcased didn't show off much of anything in the trailer. More though and polish would really improve the game, and allow the developer to strike back with a new demo. At that point, I am more than willing to give the game a second chance.

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Genre Adventure

Worldwide Releases

na: Tale of the Ice Staff
Release Year 2019
eu: Tale of the Ice Staff
Release Year 2019
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