[Review] The Tenth Line Special Edition – Nintendo Switch

Reviewed by Thomas

  • Developer: Sungazer Software
  • Publisher: Sungazer Software
  • Release Date: 12/09/2019
  • Price: £10.99 / $12.99
  • Review code provided by Sungazer Software

Intro

I’m always on the lookout for a good role-playing game. The latest of which just landed on the Nintendo Switch from Sungazer Software, The Tenth Line Special Edition. Take a look at my review to see if their unique take on the turn-based battle system pays off.

The Five Aspects of Sky

The Tenth Line is built upon ten precepts which govern the world based on a prophesy that the world will come to an end once each of the ten edicts are fulfilled. During the opening of the adventure a girl is on the run from mysterious pursuers. It turns out she’s no ordinary girl. She’s a princess who was abducted by a fanatical cult. Using a prop sword she makes her escape into the wilderness where she encounters a pair of Beastfolk. Her prejudices are evident as Beastfolk aren’t common where she’s from. It takes some time for her to warm up to her foreign rescuers. She soon employs them to aid her in returning home, striking a mutually beneficial agreement. Throughout their journey they bear witness to the fulfillment of the Lines.

The Five Fatal Vices

The Tenth Line Special Edition is a turn-based RPG with a twist. Your actions in battle are depicted as cards. It takes a certain amount of charge to use any of the character’s given skills. As with typical turn-based RPGs, you queue up your party’s attack and start the turn. Each character has a button on the controller which corresponds with their attack. For example, the princess is the A button. Certain skills will allow you to attack a row of enemies a given number of times. Doing so means you mash the A button three or four times based on the attack you selected. Depending on which enemy you are attacking, you can time the attacks to work with other team members to do the most damage.

The enemies come at you in three rows and continue for a few waves. It was a unique system but wasn’t enjoyable despite its attempt to add a twist to the age old formula. Likewise, when enemies attack your team, there is a timed element to allow you to defend. The timing system seemed unnecessary since I found it was easiest to just have each of your three members defend every time, regardless if they were targeted. The combat came off more complicated than it needed to be and was less enjoyable as the game progressed.

A few things made the combat a little easier. During your journey you’ll have additional characters join. They serve as what’s called an Assist Party. You can have two jump into battle with you and over time they can unleash powerful attacks to help even the playing field when facing a horde of enemies. Should one of your main characters fall in a fight, you simply have to wait a few turns and they’ll be back on their feet. These things helped make managing battles easier but didn’t fix the overall problem with a lackluster combat system.

Devoured by its Own Breathing Gift

Improving your character uses a unique system which I quite enjoyed. During the game and in battles you’ll find all manner of items. The application of these items can be used to level up certain skills for your characters. There is also an ability tree so to speak. I guess more like a board where you can place items to unlock new abilities and grant stat bonuses. I enjoyed playing around with the leveling system more so than the actual combat.

Movement around the map was another sore spot for me. The blend of genres by adding platforming to the RPG didn’t mix well. You control the three main characters on the map and have to navigate them from one end to the other. Each character differed in distance they could jump and world skills available. For example; the princess moves large objects, the kobold fits into small areas, and the draconmage breathes an elemental blast to clear paths. At first it wasn’t bad including a little platforming. As time went on, it grew tiresome getting each character to the end of a level. You have to switch characters and get all three of them to the end. By pressing the + key you can summon them to you but they can’t jump over obstacles. This proved to be a further nuisance as they often walked off cliffs and had to start over.

The Living Fall to Earth

The graphics were charming and made the game feel like a fairy-tale. The sprites were well designed and the portraits were pleasant. The music was enjoyable to listen to and worked well with the story and environment. I enjoyed playing The Tenth Line in handheld mode the most as it made the story feel more personal and kept me engaged with what was going on. Though it looked better on the Nintendo Switch’s native screen it was fine when docked as well. I didn’t encounter any bugs or problems and it played smoothly outside of the clunky platforming controls.

Final Wrap

The Tenth Line Special Edition took a lot of chances on a unique combat system and merging platforming into the game. The gamble wasn’t worth it as I feel those things detracted from my experience. The story did make up for it a little and urged me on to see the outcome despite my frustration of slogging through certain levels. There is an added card game that serves as a mini game of sorts. You can challenge NPC’s throughout your quest and I took every opportunity I could to play. It was a fun way to break up the combat and platforming.

Pros

  • Card Mini Game
  • Leveling System
  • Unique Story

Cons

  • Trite Combat
  • Aggravating Platforming

Verdict
The Tenth Line Special Edition has a lot of uniqueness to its presentation. Despite all the positive points, they don’t outweigh clunky combat and frustrating map movement which is core to the experience.
2.5/5

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