You wake up to a world of magic, mystery, and a tingling, burning feeling locked away in the deepest recesses of your soul. You shake off the last remnants of a nightmare, but what was it again? Was it about you, dangling on a string and helpless to a puppeteer’s machinations? Were you a bird clawing at the sun with your talons, the weight and the heat too much for you to bear? Or were you simply exploding from within, your outer shell peeling off and your inner self struggling to break free through the cracks in your skin?
That’s Terafyn for you right from the get-go. The game wastes no time in immersing you into this fantastical world from the very beginning of your journey, as you make an important choice about what plagues you during your slumber. The answer will reveal your deepest fears, and will then determine a specific attribute in you that will ultimately be your class of some sort. I had no idea this very decision would be such an important one, but I was so enthralled by the choices that I didn’t bother going back and redoing it, mostly because I was so curious to see where this choice would take me. Yes, I was that invested - I wanted to power through, because there are no take-backs in real life, right?
My choice led me to a “Ruse” main attribute, which I suppose makes me an assassin/thief class of some sort when compared to builds in other games. My character prioritizes speed and cleverness over might and magic (I managed to swipe a bow and a bag of gold from some drunk guy in the tavern, so yay), and I’m totally okay with that.
And so my journey begins.
Finding your destiny
Terafyn’s backstory is as follows: “Before time, Esyn shaped worlds and life in the cosmos. The god-like children of Esyn were sent in pairs to rule the lands through balance and harmony. One land, Terafyn, was ruled by the sibling gods, Ona and Aros. Ona was considered benevolent and merciful while her brother, Aros, was deemed harsh and authoritative. Discontent with their differences…a war ensued. Ona and her followers defeated Aros and his armies, albeit with great sacrifice.”
An era of peace supposedly ensued after that, but there’s an Onian prophecy that talks about a descendant of Ona who will rise to defeat Aros, whom people suspect is making a terrifying comeback. I can venture a pretty good guess as to who that Chosen One could possibly be.
From the opening prologue alone, you already get a sense that there’s a higher calling beckoning to you out there somewhere, even as you start out in your peaceful fishing village. What begins as a simple and typical fetch quest to gather some herbs for a grumpy but charming old lady leads to a scuffle in the forest, and really, I don’t want to spoil you with the details because the experience is just that engaging (and you have to go through it yourself).
Terafyn is a story about finding your destiny, I believe, and facing the dangers that go along with it. Do you follow what fate tells you to do and leave your peaceful hometown, or do you prefer to stay home with your father and your childhood friend where it’s safe, never knowing what’s out there and what you might have been? It’s the classic tale of the small-town RPG hero, but even though it’s all been said and done before, I never found Terafyn to be boring and predictable, at least, even after the prologue ended (which was much too soon, in my opinion).
A magical collectible card RPG adventure
The mechanics of the game aren’t too complicated, which I really appreciate in any mobile game. It’s just not too time-efficient to spend a huge chunk of your day trying to figure out how things work, but thankfully, Terafyn doesn’t suffer from the same mistake. Movement is node-based through the world map and even inside the town, where you can drop by the local tavern, chat up some friendlies by the water, or shop for some wares at the item shop and the armory.
Outside the town, you can explore the nodes and find some gold lying around, barrels you can search, a traveling merchant (buy this guy’s wares since they’re cheaper than the ones inside your town, and you might not chance upon him again), or encounter some wolves and other magical creatures lurking about to attack you. Once a battle begins, you can whip out your rune cards and strategize the most effective move to best your opponent.
Your main attribute comes into play here, as your cards can either succeed or fail based on the value of your Ruse, Might, or Arcane attributes. Once a card is chosen, you get a spinner wheel that determines where you can successfully land a blow, defend against your enemy’s attacks, or miss everything altogether. The spinner wheel is automatic, but a special move that you can unlock later on lets you tap on the wheel to stop it manually, giving you more control over where you want your hits to land.
I personally find this mechanic to be pretty ingenious. It’s a mash of different elements and unlike anything I’ve ever played before, but it works really, really well somehow. You get an ally or two to join you in your party from time to time, and their attributes add up to yours to increase your survivability. You also can’t just keep grinding to level up in the woods, because all you’ll really get from battles are gold, which you can use to upgrade your armor, weapons, and rune cards. The skill points to upgrade your attributes are earned based on story events, at least, for the prologue, so there’s not much that grinding can do to help you out in that area.
This actually ups the ante when it comes to winning battles, since you really need to think about your every move as opposed to just over-leveling yourself to triumph over foes.
The most enchanting narrative that captivates you with every word
What I love most about this game is that there are no huge CGI battles, no jaw-dropping graphics, no big action sequences that sweep you off your feet with every scene. All it does is tell a story through text, but the words in the narrative are just so darn powerful that they hook you in with every single word. I’m not sure if it’s just the creative writer in me that’s absolutely enthralled, but whoever wrote this narrative should receive an award.
The beauty of this game, in my opinion, is the masterful way it sparks your imagination based on words (and beautifully hand-drawn still images) alone. I also love how you get faced with quick choices you have to make even in the midst of ensuing chaos in the woods or inside your town. The soundtrack certainly helps, as it adds to the overall experience of the game. But the main star of Terafyn is the richness of the narrative that opens up this vast, magical world to players in such a simple but effective way, so it’s such a shame that the prologue ended much, much too soon.
Needless to say, Terafyn was an unexpected surprise for me. Certain scenes reminded me a little bit of Lost in Time for some reason, this classic point-and-click mystery adventure from Coktel Vision and Sierra Entertainment back in the day. I suppose it’s because both games do an impressive job at piquing your interest and curiosity as you dive deeper into the world, even though it’s mostly just still images and text. I’ll definitely need to buy the next episode as soon as it comes out - and, for the love of my rapidly declining gaming budget, I hope there aren’t too many of them, because I will definitely have to have them all.