Over this past week, I've been working through the Tales of Symphonia Chronicles HD remaster collection and that made me curious about another Tales series game: namely, the Japanese mobile game Tales of Kizna. …And now I wish I wouldn't have.
Recently, I've been going through a lot of tie-in social games linked to bigger games or anime. Most of them have had something to set them apart, be that the interface and level design of Kingdom Hearts χ or the cute, board game-style setup of Madoka Magica Online. Tales of Kizna, on the other hand, has absolutely nothing special going for it.
Like the vast majority of Japanese social games, Tales of Kizna is centred around getting cards — in this case, cards of all your favourite Tales characters (occasionally in special costumes). Then you put them on a team of four and fight monsters. Now I say "fight monsters" but what I mean "tap the screen and see if your total attack and defence are higher than the enemy's." If it is, you win. If not, you lose. That's pretty much all there is to it — regardless of whether you're fighting a computer-controlled monster or another real player. Winning nets you prizes, of course — usually tickets to get more cards or items to help you play for longer periods — and you can sacrifice any unneeded cards you've gathered to power up those you use.
The simplicity and derivative nature of Tales of Kizna probably results from it being a mobile game, not a smart phone game. Thus it is made to run on old-style flip phones through the web browser. It's no surprise, really, that it can do little that is complex on the gameplay front — but that doesn't make it any less boring. As it stands now, you build a deck, select a quest, tap the screen to move on to the next area, tap it once again to fight a monster, tap it when the monster is dead, and repeat ad infinitum.
The only strategy comes in the form of building your team, but even that is a no-brainer: Get your attack and defence as high as possible while staying under your cost limit. The game even has an auto optimiser which can pretty much do this for you.
In the end, Tales of Kizna is nothing more than a waste of time. Other than its brand name, it has nothing to differentiate it from other similar social games. And with it being designed for obsolete phones, it is dated in both gameplay and visuals. Honestly, even if you love the Tales series, you should probably give this one a pass.
Tales of Kizna was released on November 22, 2011, for mobile phones in Japan. There is no word on a Western release.