A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics is a turn-based strategy game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. The game is based on the Netflix TV show The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, and it's targeted at the same sort of family audience. Gelfling heroes -- including courageous characters from the show, such as Rian -- band together and fight bravely against the oppression of evil overlords, using swords and magical attacks against a mix of humanoid and fantasy enemies. Battles are viewed from a raised, distant perspective, and there's no blood or gore -- just flashes of light and foes that fall to the ground and disappear once defeated. Parents should be aware that kids who play this game may be drawn to seek out the TV show and/or the original movie that inspired it.
What's it about?
THE DARK CRYSTAL: AGE OF RESISTANCE TACTICS is a video game tie-in to the acclaimed Netflix TV show. It follows a growing group of brave Gelfling resistance fighters who decide to stand up against the Skeksis, evil enemies who are draining the peaceful Gelflings of their spiritual essence to prolong their own lives. The plot develops between missions via series of cartoon drawings that progress the story, providing context for the group's decisions and movements. Battles are turn-based and unfold on small, gridded maps, with players commanding the movements and actions -- attacks, healing, status-altering spells -- of each character under their control, one by one. Mission goals range from simply avoiding enemies and escaping an area to being forced to take down all visible foes. Between battles, players can equip their heroes with newly acquired gear and assign each character jobs and abilities suited for upcoming encounters.
Is it any good?
Fans of Netflix's family-oriented fantasy series might have anticipated worse of a small-budget video game spin-off. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics may lack the narrative depth, sophisticated combat, and epic length of other games in the genre (such as Final Fantasy Tactics and the Fire Emblem games), but it nonetheless provides a competent turn-based strategy role-playing experience with plenty of story tie-ins to appease fans of the show. The quick story sequences between battles never overstay their welcome. They introduce (and sometimes say farewell to) characters, and provide simple threads that keep things moving at a quick click. Combat is fast-paced, too. Maps are never overwhelming, nor is the number of characters under our control. Players are generally given just one or two main objectives to complete, and these can sometimes be accomplished in just a handful of turns. Which isn't to say missions are one-dimensional. Players need to make ample and proper use of all of the job-based abilities at their disposal, whether that means taking flight to outflank an enemy or making efficient use of potions and spells to keep their party healthy and effective.
Don't go in expecting too much, though. There are plenty of little fraying strings for nitpickers to tug at, including the need to occasionally grind levels to grow characters, or failing and needing to restart battles just because you didn't know which job abilities would be most useful beforehand. And while the simple, comic strip-style storytelling conveys adequate information, it does feel a little cheap -- especially when put up against the big budget TV show, which dazzles viewers with its visually stunning presentation. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics isn't pushing any boundaries, but it was never meant to. It's just a fun little turn-based fantasy romp designed to satisfy devotees of the show who also count themselves casual strategy game fans.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen time. Battles in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics are often fairly short, but do you crave longer play sessions for deeper immersion, or are you satisfied playing just one or two at a time before taking a break?
Can you think of real-world instances in which groups of people stood up against those who were persecuting them? Do you think you would have the courage to take a stand against a tyrant?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: En Masse Entertainment
- Release date: February 5, 2020
- Genre: Strategy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Alcohol Reference, Fantasy Violence
- Last updated: September 10, 2021
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.