Review: ‘Trulon: The Shadow Engine’ is a perfectly entertaining RPG with a unique combat style that strives to make it stand out

‘Trulon’ is easy to pick up and uniquely entertaining, but you might be better off experiencing it on a mobile device.

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Android, iOS

Developer: Kyy Games, Headup Games


MSRP: $19.99


The ancient land of Trupidia, located in the vast country of Trulon, was once thought peaceful and safe for all its well-meaning inhabitants. The marriage of both science and magic led its people to a prosperous life and gave them all the advantages they needed to survive in their evolving world. Now, a dark force begins to consume the neighboring region of Maelon as famine and disease leave their people hopeless. Luckily, a few brave warriors have found each other amidst the chaos and have decided to prove their worth against the ever-growing scourge facing their home.

‘Trulon: The Shadow Engine’ is an RPG adventure originally released as a mobile title for Android and iOS devices in 2015. Two years later, the game was ported to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and on PC via Steam. A fun, addicting game taking place in the already established world of ‘Trulon’, Headup Games boasts a pure gaming experience free of micro-transactions, providing players with a more “classic style of gaming”. As well-received as the game had become, it seems like bringing it to the larger medium of PC and console may have been unnecessary. While the game itself is entertaining, it’s possible it might be more suited for the mobile platform for which it was designed.

The gameplay is easy-going and entertaining, making it ideal for a mobile title, but an odd choice for a console.

All the very basic elements of a turn-based RPG are here. You travel with a small group of fighters and spellcasters, you happen across random spawns, you find stat-boosting equipment, etc. The difference between this and your usual breed is in the subtleties. For one, the environments you enter are pretty small, pulling focus away from exploration and treasure hunting. That focus is instead honed on the combat, which this game does do pretty well. A less cluttered map means you probably won’t get lost or feel the need to backtrack something you think you might have missed, so the travel experience is relatively user-friendly. Even though the actual movement speed is just slow enough to seem unnecessary, that fact might be attributed to the studio’s desire to extend playtime in its mobile form.

Unfortunately, some aspects get lost in translation with the move to console/PC. The graphics for one suffer in a pretty noticeable way considering your main character, Gladia, walks around with a very stiff duck walk. It seems like a quaint, 16-bit throwback aesthetic was attempted, but what we end up with is more akin to the memorably unnerving animation from the original ‘Zelda’ CD-I games. Thankfully, she’s the only character that has any kind of mobility problems considering your team disappears as soon as a fight ends and anyone else is a motionless NPC. Even some smaller mistakes interrupt your experience like Gladia‘s tendency to face away from characters she’s speaking to, or facing towards an exit that you just walked through, sometimes throwing you off and tricking you into walking right back where you came from. None of these issues, however, are in any way a major hazard to the gameplay. It’s penchant for quick, punchy battles and easily manageable strategy allow these hiccups to remain overlookable at the worst.

Your combat options are kept very simple, but they might make you think twice about how you strategize.

The combat system at your disposal comes in the form of a card-based move list. You have basic attacks and spells which all have different purposes like evasion, damage, and healing, among others. You collect these cards in your travels from chests, quests, or as rewards for dispatching enemies. The fact that these cards are essentially consumables which are burned after every use end up nudging the player into wanting to explore and perform side quests in order to add to their arsenal. Despite the many opportunities to collect these cards, there’s still a limited amount of total possible moves and options per each character, so refining your skills by only using what’s necessary becomes your main strategy.

Keeping this in mind, your teammates end up becoming your most valuable asset. As your character Gladia the monster hunter gathers her rag-tag group of charming little adventurers, you’re joined by three more characters who have their own abilities and move sets. The issue in which you will inevitably find yourself, as you will with any card style game, is the matter of the “luck of the draw”. Each character is only able to hold a finite amount of cards. Since each card is one peruse, you will end up running out of usable cards to draw outside your basic attack, or simply not having the cards handy that would be the most useful. At times this can be irritating, but that’s why monetizing on your most useful attacks and maneuvers become so important. Making sure every character you control is functioning as efficiently as possible is one of the most emphasized aspects of the combat system, lest you run the risk of repeating the same looping battle until you rage quit.


It feels like a strange choice to port this to PC and console. The game appears to be perfectly at home in a mobile world. Its simplicity speaks volumes, but there are diminishing returns when transferred to mediums that usually provide more content. The animation translates in an oddly stiff way, your basic menus have a somewhat non-traditional layout for a console RPG, the travel time is often slow, along with a handful of other minor issues. All things considered, ‘Trulon: The Shadow Engine’ is still a fun and plenty entertaining title. It doesn’t take much to understand it and developing a strategy around your combat is satisfyingly easy going, while still confronting you with challenging enemies and obstacles as you progress. Considering how minimalist the whole experience is, it might make more sense to grab it in its original mobile form and save your PC or console for more eventful games.