Trulon: The Shadow Engine (Review) Xbox One

Trulon: The Shadow Engine (Review) Xbox One
Review Score:

Trulon: The Shadow Engine by developer Headup Games is an isometric, card-based RPG that closely resembles a Super Nintendo game. The game uses beautiful 2D environments that are complimented by Anime-style sprites. The Shadow Engine is actually a port of Trulon for iOS, which first appeared on the Apple App Store in 2015.

Trulon follows a basic premise that is somewhat vague, but it’s just enough to aid the gamer on their mission: As the game’s protagonist, Gladia – the player must free the kingdom of Tripudia from a disease that is threatening its people. Aided by a group of friends, the hero in question must liberate the countryside from an influx of monsters, while searching for the ‘source’ of the infection. From there, the player must figure things out on their own.

The game does provide a brief combat tutorial, which can be activated by speaking to an NPC named Marcus. During the tutorial, the player must attack a target dummy while the game explains the ‘Card Combat System’. As a bonus, the game will randomly give the player ‘tips’ on fighting, but it’s not often.

From there, the player leaves Tripudia (the protagonist’s hometown) and enters the World Map to travel. The neighboring towns are typically large and have plenty of NPCs to interact with. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to do inside these towns. Most of the buildings – while beautifully drawn – are nothing more than scenery, and they can’t be explored. This makes the villages feel one-dimensional.

Trulon uses a Card/Deck system similar to Magic the Gathering for its combat system. It contains attack cards (known as ‘Tactic cards’) with specific conditions (i.e. single attack, etc.). When these Tactic Cards run out, the player can use what is called Wildcards or the ‘Default Attack’ setting.

Once a Wildcard is used, it is automatically replaced after the current turn. Some Wildcards can provide temporary stat boosts during a single turn. For example: Some may include a +50%  boost in melee damage, while others may offer -50%  in Defense with a double or triple melee bonus, to name just a few. Basically, the combat system is designed to help the player survive, even when their deck of cards have been exhausted.

Graphically, Trulon is a beautiful game. There’s a unique 16-bit quality to both its environments and sprites that isn’t often seen in modern video games. The in-game combat cinemas – which are 2D images that appear over bands of cycling color  – add to the game’s overall appeal. 

Gamers looking for a new RPG to play will appreciate Trulon’s subtle nod to classic role-playing games. On the surface, the game seems basic and somewhat cookie cutter in appearance, but this all changes when the combat system is experienced for the first time. It provides just enough content to keep gamers of all ages entertained, regardless of their gaming skills.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Xbox One (Available on XBL)
Developer: Headup Games
Publisher: Headup Games
ESRB: E 10+ (Everyone 10+)
Price: $19.99

Trulon: The Shadow Engine Official Website:

Review Score
There's a unique 16-bit quality to both Trulon's environments and sprites that isn't often seen in modern video games.
Average sound effects and a decent soundtrack.
The card-based combat system is Trulon's best feature.
While simple in appearance, Trulon The Shadow Engine is a fairly entertaining game.
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