hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Chantelise

Review: Chantelise: A Tale of Two Sisters

2:15 PM on 08.05.2011 // Allistair Pinsof
  @DtoidAllistair

EasyGameStation is a doujin developer powered by fandom. Each of its games pay ode to the Japanese classics that came before them. Sometimes they feel like an inspired tribute (Recettear), while other times they border on being an unofficial sequel to an established franchise (Gunners Heart).

The only thing consistent in EGS' catalog, that jumps genre-to-genre, is quality. In that respect, Chantelise: A Tale of Two Sisters is no different.

Chantelise: A Tale of Two Sisters (PC)
Developer: EasyGameStation
Publisher: Carpe Fulgur
Released: July 29, 2011
MSRP: $8.99

Reccetear -- a unique blend of dungeon crawler and store management sim -- introduced many Western gamers to EGS when it came to Steam last fall. After the positive feedback, Carpe Fulgur, who translated Reccetear, decided to go ahead and bring Chantelise to the Western world.

Despite being a new release on Steam, Chantelise predates Reccetear by a year in its original Japan release. You could easily be mistaken, however, given that both games share the same engine and many art assets. However, the focus on hack n’ slash combat, its unique magic system and no-frills dungeon exploration distinguishes it from its successor. Mostly for the better.

Fans of Ys, Quintet's catalog, and Secret of Mana will feel right at home with Chantelise’s combat, which is far more developed than Recettear. Since this is a third-person adventure, you have the ability to evade, jump and combo enemy slimes to bits -- or do annihilated slimes just evaporate?

The combat is underwhelming at first due to the “spam x” linearity of it paired with enemy collision that takes some getting used to; a fault of the game’s dated, yet charming 2D sprites in a 3D world. Once you discover and understand the game's peculiar magic system, the merits of the combat unveil themselves and slowly addict.

Hidden in enemies, trees and barrels are gems which embody one of the four elements. At any time, you can pick them up and store up to six of them. In addition to each element having a different attack, combining multiple gems create new spells that can do anything from healing to summoning an elemental sidekick that will rain down icicles.

Since the gems are plentiful, they feel like a powerful but limited alternative to a projectile weapon. Spamming to your heart’s content will get you by early on, but strategically picking up gems eventually becomes essential to defeating certain bosses.

Because the order of gems is decided by the sequence you picked them up, you always face the danger of ruining a gem-chain for a healing spell or wasting a blue gem you could have used on a fire demon. The awareness and strategy of gem collection pairs nicely with the mindless swordplay.

By the end of the game, you’ll have memorized all the various gem orders for spells; racing frantically to pick up gems while dodging deathblow after deathblow from a boss creates a unique, frantic pace to the action.

Chantelise’s garish color pallet and cute character design may make you think this is a children’s game, but you would most certainly be disappointed by the game’s difficulty. The flow of the dungeons and tough boss fights earn the game the title of Demon’s Souls Jr. or, alternatively, Demon’s Happy Soul Time: XX Core Advance Plus. I know, I should name all of Atlus’s games, right?

Unlike Demon’s Souls, you won’t have to put up with traps or falling off an edge to your death every 30 minutes.  What you will have to put up with, though, is dredging through a level every time you die.
These aren’t the largest levels and some are linear enough to provide a straight path to the boss, but it still feels like needless, challenge-less busy work.

Having to quickly run through a level after failing a boss fight, just to fail again, is not fun. On an occasion, sliding through enemy formations has its own charm. It’s like fantasy soccer.

The game’s four worlds and fairly short final level don’t offer a great amount of variety beyond setting (each world is based off an element kind of like, well, a ton of other games.) Each world is composed of five or so rooms that are nothing more than battle arenas.

You must hunt every enemy in the room to unlock the door to the next and progress. Thankfully, these doors remain unlocked once completed the first time. Occasionally, you’ll need to platform or navigate a labyrinthine stage but these are by no means memorable for a positive reason.

Much like Recettear, you have a main town hub you return to in order to receive tips from the locals, trigger a story event or buy goods from the item shop. Since you don’t level-up -- beyond increasing item space and learning new spells from defeating bosses -- you’ll need to cash-in treasures and collected gold for improved gear.

Those wary of similar action-RPGs turning into grindfests will be happy to hear that I only faced this issue on the final boss, who is a total dick! If you make the most of the gem system and dodging, you’ll be able to progress through each level nicely. If, however, you are a worthless bum who is useless at videogames, you’ll be able to achieve success through mindless grinding. Keep an eye out for the jukebox; that thing is worth a ton!

Speaking of which, the soundtrack captures all the warmth and joy of a late 90s RPG. Man, I love those corny midi synths!

Chantelise is a fairly short game that can be completed within eight-hours by the skillful player, a couple more for worthless bums and nearly double for those determined to discover all of the game’s secrets -- there are a lot of them.

Each area of the game has a treasure box that can be unlocked by doing a specific action. Some of these require not getting hit for a certain amount of time or killing a hidden enemy somewhere in the room. Each of these treasure boxes contain valuable items that you won’t find otherwise. If you can’t find any, you can talk to the priest in town who provides hints at the cost of HP.

The story of Chantelise isn’t notable, but the dialogue is charming and succinct -- never keeping you from the action for too long. Thanks to the localization effort by Carpe Fulgur, the dialogue is amusing but lines like “cut the horsepoop” may be a bit too cute for some.

There are some genuinely funny moments though, such as when the two protagonists bicker about opening a door via methods that The Legend of Zelda’s Link would use. However, even Carpe Fulgur's admirable localization efforts can’t improve the expository dialogue and convoluted story.

Chantelise is a game made by three people and, in some respects, it shows. Recycled art assets, a small world and a problematic lock-on system serve as a constant reminder. For the action-RPG fan, these will be minor issues in what is an otherwise well-designed game.

Chantelise doesn’t have the epic adventure of Secret of Mana, but its unique magic system, challenging bosses and pleasant aesthetic will hook you.

Antipole (DSiWare [Reviewed], PC, Xbox Live Indie Games)
Developer: Saturnine Games
Publisher: Saturnine Games
Released: July 21, 2011 (DSiWare) / June 27, 2011 (PC) / January 21, 2011 (XBLIG)
MSRP: 500 Nintendo DSi Points / $4.99 / 400 Microsoft Points


THE VERDICT

7

Chantelise - Reviewed by Allistair Pinsof
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Allistair Pinsof,
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidAllistair

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

nanashi avatarnanashi
PStoid #30 records today, you still have a little time to ask questions!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
I can now play the first 20 measures of Little Trinketry at full speed. It ends when you start playing chords with the right hand. Also something about carts #passdatgas [youtube]http://youtu.be/40fulS_olU8[/youtube]
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
According to fart scientists, the rate of intestinal gas escaping through the anus increases when regular sleep patterns are not observed.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
I farted a lot during Mad Max Fury Road. I blamed them on the engines.
Dreggsao avatarDreggsao
A fart says more than a thousand words.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
A fart a day keeps the doctor away.
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Why can't we have more Lovecraftian horror games? It's such a great setting, but nobody ever uses it.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Best purchase I've made in a long time. This little remote controlled BB-8 robot by Sphero is amazing. [IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b321/Felth/bb8%202.jpg~original[/IMG]
gajknight avatargajknight
I fart, therefore I am.
extatix avatarextatix
Working on my next collection blog and holy shit, I should sell some stuff already.
Myles Cox avatarMyles Cox
My first word was "fart".
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Philosophical question: if the only way to get Batman: Arkham Knight to run decently on my laptop is to lower all the settings and have it run windowed, am I really playing it?
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I'm farting right now.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
I farted in Gamestop today and wasn't blamed!
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
I have never farted. #TrueLies
From Must Git Gud avatarFrom Must Git Gud
Getting banned soon!
VIRGO avatarVIRGO
Here's to hoping Nintendo makes mobile games as compelling as Pac-Man 256...
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
I hate when a new game comes out and D-toid gets flooded with stuff about a game I don't know anything about and I'm just stuck here, sitting with myself and my freeware games...
Dreggsao avatarDreggsao
It is the middle of the night and Yu-Gi-OH is on TV. Are children with insomnia so common these days?
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
My hair's done did and my Teddie cosplay is officially ready for next weekend's Comic-Con! Do I impress you, Sensei? [img]http://i.imgur.com/ZNlOmMf.jpg[/img]
more quickposts


Contest!


destructoid's previous coverage:
Chantelise


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!



Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -