One minor, seemingly inconsequential action in the past can create a ripple effect, causing some sort of major event in the future. It's a staple of any good (and even bad) time-travel story and also the driving force behind the colorful, quirky time-twisting role-playing game Cris Tales. The way the game handles this takes a lot of getting used to. The main screen is usually divided into thirds, with the left side showing the game world as it was in the past, the right side showing how it will be in the future, and Crisbell's present in the middle. Although Crisbell can see events in all three simultaneously, she can directly interact only with her present. To alter events, players must focus on one of the screens and use Crisbell's froggy companion Matias to "time-hop" into the past or future to tweak some event in some small way. An example of this is planting a seed in the past that grows into a sturdy vine in the present, giving Crisbell and her allies access to a previously unreachable area.
Crisbell's time abilities are a big part of the game's turn-based combat as well. Enemies will appear on either side of the player's party for attacks. Crisbell can use special abilities to shift time around the enemies to either the past (on her left) or the future (on the right), opening up odd new strategies. An example of this would be hitting an enemy with a fireball to inflict a burn status, and then warping them into their future selves, not only rendering them elderly and weak but also triggering a massive burst of burn damage in the process. It's not always best to use the time techniques, though, as some enemies actually become even more powerful when shifted to one time or another. Overall, controlling time is a unique and complex element added to your standard RPG formula, and it forces a lot of tough decisions, second guesses, and rethinking strategies. Still, Cris Tales has an engaging plot and interesting characters that should convince fans of the genre to invest in it their own time and gaming future.