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Tristan & Isault fights for the kingdom

I’ve got a secret to share: I have a soft spot in my heart for tactical RPGs. That’s why Tristan & Iseult is so incredibly fun. Using some free graphics from various sources – most notably Oddball’s sprite set for the Assemblee Competition at TIGsource – might sound like a recipe for disaster, but the developers pulled together to make an excellent turn-based strategy game. And RPG. Sort of.

Tristan & Iseult follows two star-crossed lovers from the British Isles. You’ll never guess their names. As the game progresses, you kill guys and act like a general badass. We aren’t too clear on the specifics, namely because the story is extremely pulpy. It’s awesome for those into really cheesy old-school fantasy, but it’s not quite up our alley, so we skipped it.  Thankfully, the visuals are pleasing, even if the character designs are a bit too anime. The mechanics are a simplified form of what you would see in an Advance Wars game: move unit to enemy, select attack, win. Hopefully.

It’s a game that’s a bit rough around the edges, like most of the characters and writing. While the individual pieces of artwork are nice, the styles clash too much (pixelated units, detailed background, anime character portraits, and real-like backdrops for conversations). It also has a very slow pace. If you want to see if it’s your cup of tea, you can check out the developer’s website for a download and a run-down of the plot. It’s very historic.