I grew up with the classic RPGs of the 90s. I am well familiar with the gameplay and design styles that came from that era. Revisiting those games, whether it be playing the classics or in the new games that pay homage to the new style is one of my favorite things to do. One thing that’s nice to see is when the new retro games take advantage of the modern hardware and do things that the old games couldn’t. Struggle For Talyria not only doesn’t do anything new, but wouldn’t even meet the standards of the classics of old.
The Role You Play
Struggle for Talyria takes place from the point of view of multiple characters. Sometimes you play as Darin, the young King of Veltara City. Other times you play as Veltaran Army Sergeant Brannum and two of his officers. Other times you play as Kahri, an orphaned child you learned to fight with knives on the streets.
While they are all relatively distinct in their design and appear to be distinct classes, that is not the case. They are very interchangeable in terms of how you play as them. They all wear the same armor and learn most of the same abilities, so they all feel the same. Each character learns some distinct abilities, but not until about halfway through the game.
The story is about an ongoing conflict between humans and a rival race called the Delvirinn. The conflict results in Brannum’s squad taking out of a squad of refugee children and Darin’s father being killed by Delvirinn assassins. The plot then transitions to ten years later to Darin growing up to be the new King. He becomes a benevolent leader and wants to arrange a peace treaty with the Delvirinn.
There isn’t much gameplay that actually happens within Struggle for Talyria. When you do get the chance to play the game, all you get is basic turn-based combat. It is very simple, but also unbalanced. The challenge can spike at weird times and random enemies can often be more difficult than bosses.
Basic commands like running away from combat are hard to pull off. Late in the game, it will be common to regularly use your most powerful attacks on regular enemies. If you don’t combat takes too long and you can get killed easily.
I wish that I was able to give an accurate statement on how long Struggle for Talyria was, but I can’t. Before I got to the end of the game. I was met with a game-breaking bug. Somehow the game glitched out and I was unable to talk to any of the NPCs, so I couldn’t progress any further in the game.
There are achievements for beating the game in less than seven (7) hours, so I can guess that is approximately how long it would take assuming you skipped a lot of the dialogue. It would otherwise take about nine (9).
Something I get a bit tired of saying about retro-style music is that it sounds like it belongs in the environment where it takes place. That doesn’t really apply to the music in Struggle for Talyria. The music sounds like it should. It’s slow and somber during the cutscenes, and it’s fast-paced during the battles. It’s even compressed to sound more like a retro game.
The problem is that it’s what you would expect and it delivers a lot less. There are not a lot of memorable melodies and there are few recognizable instruments throughout most of the soundtrack. What you can recognize sounds very digital, like it was played on a synthesizer and not a modern one. It’s dull and forgettable and leaves very little impression.
The scaling and proportions of the characters and background scenery is incredibly awkward. It’s something that if you play the game for more than an hour, you will notice and it will get on your nerves. If you try and walk up to a bookshelf or the door of a house, you will end up misaligned with it. It happens a lot because the characters and backgrounds are not on the same scale. This happens very often and just becomes a frequent annoyance.
The Talking Parts
A very large percentage of this game is dedicated to dialogue, and we do see a lot of the story unfolding between the characters during these scenes. There are betrayals, deaths, assaults and a lot of heavy emotions conveyed during these scenes that can get very powerful at times. It’s engaging and informative and I can see why it made up such a large part of the game.
Z…We’ve Reached the End. Anything Else?
There are a lot of assets that have been clearly borrowed from several early Squaresoft games. The character icons are redrawn from Final Fantasy VI. Several sprites have also been clearly lifted from Chrono Trigger.
Struggle for Talyria is a broken glitchy mess. It’s a collection of cobbled-together assets that barely passes for a game. I’m still surprised that this was made in the Unity Engine because I feel like most games made in RPG Maker would have been better than this.