The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics review | Fighting fantasy

This turn-based tactical title lacks the crystalline polish you’d hope for. Our review of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics…


Muddled is probably the best word for this tactical outing. On the surface, everything looks pretty, and it’s evidently true to the 1982 movie and The Jim Henson Company’s series.

The Gelflings are proud and loyal; the evil Skeksis still creep me out. Look past the style, and you’ll find a robust system offering several options in its teams and compact, diorama-like levels.

Each character leans towards a certain playstyle – fighting, healing, magic – though their skills can be changed around by using a job system that allows for new abilities and some level of micro-management.

This system makes it easy to create ‘all-rounders’, however, which removes the need to balance a team – you won’t need a specific healer if you can give a fighter a back-up healing spell. In other words, the tactical action lacks the depth needed to shine in a world of Mutant Year Zero and, to a lesser extent, Mario + Rabbids.

The combat can often feel easy, too – in some stages, there isn’t much need to put on your tactical hat at all. I completed a few areas, for example, by simply moving a Gelfling or Fizzgig next to an enemy and wailing on them.

There’s a sense that the game wants you to play on the high difficulty setting, which I tried – but I felt the AI simply scaled the damage up, rather than offering a new, smarter challenge to overcome.

It is wonderful to interact with these familiar worlds though, and some areas offer a unique win condition to break up that simplistic combat. I loved pushing the Hunter Skeksis, SkekMal, into a biting pit to weaken him, or uncovering texts in the Gelfling library in order to progress.

The world of Thra certainly comes alive in your hands; it’s recreated brilliantly on the Switch, and its intimate, nostalgic fantasy world really suits the system.

The story gradually loses its some of its charm, however, when you’re already aware of the next stage of the plot, which retells the Netflix series’ story almost beat for beat.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics relies heavily on the player’s familiarity with the franchise, and it’s a pity the game doesn’t stray far beyond the familiar: the game needed to tell a new story, perhaps one that complemented the series rather than hewed so closely to it.

Ultimately, I’m not entirely sure who the game’s aimed at. Die-hard fans will undoubtedly enjoy the details on offer in the game’s world, but even they may be disappointed by the plot’s familiarity; tactical strategy game buffs, on the other hand, will find little here to get their pulses going.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics is by no means a bad game, but at the same time, it doesn’t offer much that will satisfy either of those camps.


The realisation of a world I was already so familiar with brought a smile to my face on many occasions, and its tiny interactive biomes are, at times, spellbinding. The swamps and castles all feel like home, and I often found myself swivelling the camera around to zoom in on the smallest of details.

Verdict: 52%

Lacks the crystalline polish needed to become as memorable as the rest of the franchise.

Genre: Turn-based tactics
Format: Switch (tested) / PC / PS4 / XBOX / Mac
Developer: BonusXP
Publisher: En Masse Entertainment
Price: £16.99
Release: Out now

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