While the Tales series of RPGs has had a healthy expansion across platforms since its debut on the Super Famicom—with the console favorite even making the jump to PC in recent years—the one platform that still could not boast a proper Tales game was mobile. Yes, we received Tales of Link last year and it was clearly designed with existing fans in mind, but its character collection match-3 gameplay was far too simple to be considered in the same vein as the core series: it was to Tales what Record Keeper is to Final Fantasy.
Tales of the Rays looks like it will bring us the full Tales experience that Link did not, while maintaining the same level of fan service. Rays takes place on the world of Tir Na Nog, which was once torn apart by an overuse of the light energy, anima, that fills the planet. In the present day, the balance of anima has returned, but a new danger has emerged to threaten the current peace. Our heroes, Ix and Mileena, stumble upon this threat after they are uprooted from their island home by a destructive meteor shower, and their journey begins…
Ix and Mileena are new characters introduced in Rays, but the game will be packed with cameos by heroes recognizable from past Tales games. In one group shot, we can see Yuri from Vesperia, Lloyd from Symphonia, Luke from Abyss, and even Cress from Phantasia, among many others. These heroes will accompany our protagonists on some of their adventures, offering guidance and taking part in battle.
Those battles look very similar to the classic Tales system, but optimized for mobile. Encounters take place in separate screens but in real-time, maintaining the quick paced and active format we expect for engagements. There is a “tap to attack, flick to use artes” control scheme to allow for complex but executable tactics, which will likely feel reminiscent of a mobile fighting game. It’s unclear whether players will have direct control over character movement in battle, but Bandai Namco’s “Flick-LIMBS (Linear Motion Battle System)” seems to be focused more on abilities than maneuvers.
Players will have control while exploring dungeons, however, which takes place in 3D environments with hidden treasure chests and visible enemies like any other Tales game. Skits between characters, a variety of costumes, and even classic Tales games’ music are all familiar inclusions for fans of the series, but should also be enjoyable to newcomers.
We have high hopes for Tales of the Rays, and we won’t have to wait long to see how its combination of classic Tales characters and battles transitions to mobile. Bandai Namco claims it should release sometime this summer, as a free download on iOS and Android.