The Tenth Line Review
The Tenth Line
We all like some curious games that take inspiration from older eras of gaming. The Tenth Line does exactly that. It’s a strange RPG-Platformer that takes inspiration from the 32-bit era. The story is about a princess that has escaped from a cult after they kidnapped her from her kingdom, Easania. After her escape, she meets with two beastfolks: Rik, the anthropomorphic fennec fox armed with a knife, and Tox, a dracomage capable of powerful spells. Those two will help the Princess in her journey to go back home. The group will meet more and more helpers along their adventure, like Sonya, a skilled archer from the forest.
The gameplay is divided into two parts: Fighting and platforming. Neither is as basic as one might expect.
The combat is a mix of the standard turn-based encounters with real-time queued moves. During an encounter, the enemies are lined up both horizontally and vertically. After selecting an action, the player can choose which enemy (or enemies, as some attacks can hit all the enemies in a line) to attack. Just keep in mind that each action consumes a certain amount of SP. It’s wise to sometimes wait a turn to recharge some SP, since if you run out all you can do is wait for more.
Once all the actions for all the characters are selected, the player needs to press the character’s corresponding button to act. When the turn ends, the player must defend from enemies attacks. After the battle, the characters will get XP to level up.
The combat sections are fun, as there are hordes of enemies to fight and they can get a bit chaotic, but in a good way. The enemies variation is OK: you can fight against mages, archers, birds…nothing you wouldn’t find in your usual RPG!
In the platforming parts of the game, the player needs to move all 3 of the characters from one side of the map to the other. Since the three characters have different movement characteristics, such as the Princess being able to push blocks to reach higher places and Rik being incapable of doing high jumps, they must be moved one at the time. In each level, there are objects scattered around that are used to increase your character’s statistics. They are hidden mostly in chests, but they can also be found in trees, bushes or more.
There are also enemies scattered around the various stages, as there are no random encounters. With the right timing, you can hit them with a preemptive strike and start the battle before they do.
Whenever a character reaches the end of the level, he or she must wait for the other two to arrive.
The platform parts are mostly decent, but it happened to me that I would get stuck with one character for a while before seeing what I had to do in order to proceed. Some stages are very long, and the checkpoint based system doesn’t help the game. Most of the puzzles can be completed in no time, but I liked the differences between each character, though the option to control the whole party at once would have been appreciated way more.
There are town scattered around the game’s world, and while most you will do there is talk with NPCs, it’s worth your time. One of the most interesting things about The Tenth Line is that each character has a different dialogue with each NPC, giving a bigger understanding of the world’s lore. For example, beastfolks are usually mistreated by humans, seen as “lesser” creatures.
The game has many more peculiar features, such as the leveling up system. Every time a character level up, they gain an extra space in their “Power Flow”, a grid-based level system similar to the one in Final Fantasy X. The player must put an item in the grid in order to use it. Each item has a specific shape and color, that must be connected in order to get higher stats increases.
It’s hard to explain, but once you see it, it will eventually become easier, as it can be considered as a sort of minigame.
Talking about minigames, if you loved Triple Triad from Final Fantasy VIII, then you’ll love Quad Pro Quo! During your journey, you are able to collect cards used in this minigame. In this minigame, the player has numbers on the corners of a card. When those numbers outnumber your opponent’s card on that side of the card, you win points. If the opponent does so, they win points.
The art style used is mixed. The backgrounds look almost like paintings, and the characters are in pixel art. But the highlight goes to the music, which is absolutely amazing and give that “Fantasy RPG” feeling. There is also some degree of voice acting, found in battles.
The biggest issues one may find with the Tenth Line are the length of some battles, a slow start and, as I already mentioned, the platforming parts.
Some battles seem to go on for ages, as the enemies always keep coming. The plot at the start is okay (albeit it’s a bit clichè), but it suffers from a LOT of dialogue and tutorials. Some of the platforming parts seem to go on forever and the fact that I have to get all of the characters at the end of the level is annoying.
But I really think that this game should be rewarded. It does have a lot of unique characteristics and it’s all been done by ONE person.
In conclusion, while The Tenth Line may not be the perfect game, it has a lot of unique features and with some very enjoyable music. If you are a fan of some more classic stories, you will enjoy this game. The game lasts about 15 hours, with a New Game Plus mode if you want to enjoy it some more!
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Reviewed on the Nintendo Switch by Senpavo. Game provided by Sungazer Software