PAX East 2024 – Kristala is Dark Souls But With Cats

Kristala PAX East
Image Credit: Astral Clocktower Studios.

Cats and souls—what do they have in common? Correct. Cats do have souls. That isn’t where I’m going with this. I’m talking about a Cat soulslike called Kristala.

Kristala lets you play as a cat person, and yes, you can customize them. I stopped and played a demo at the Astral Clocktower Studios booth at PAX East. Not only did I play the game, but I spoke with Co-Owner and Marketing Director Sarah Schaffstall about the game. She fed me all kinds of juicy details. Let’s see what all this meowing is about.

Mastering magic and upgrading equipment are your keys to success in Ailur

In this dark fantasy RPG, you will be tasked with two main objectives. You’ll need to master all six of the different magics and lift the curse afflicting the world of Ailur. A magic shard crashed into the world and shattered into six pieces. Six clans each took over a piece of the shard and learned unique magic.

Image Credit:
Astral Clocktower Studios.

You must master all six, but first, you will choose which clan you want to start with. Each clan has its own territory, culture, aesthetic, and magical specialty. You’ll need weapons and upgrades on your travels to restore peace to Ailur. 

Combat and traversal are smooth and agile, with cat-like reflexes

One big surprise was the combat. It felt much more fluid than all the Soulslikes I’ve played. I was told they were leaning towards a Nioh 2 type of agile combat style because you are playing as a cat.

There is also a huge Assassin’s Creed influence seen in the game’s traversal mechanics. You can jump off walls and walk across ropes. You can swing off rods and climb walls. The best part of being a cat is they always land on their feet. You take zero fall damage. 

Updating engines was bumpy, but the team is still on track for release

The game has been in development for almost four years now. I asked If they ran into any bumpy spots during development, and Schaffstall told me it was relatively smooth.

Kristala game
Image Credit:
Astral Clocktower Studios.

The hardest part was switching from Unreal Engine 4 to Unreal Engine 5. The team had to redo levels and use plugins that weren’t supported yet. They adjusted well and got development back on track. Schaffstall told me their goal for full release on PC and console is Q4 2024 or early 2025. Early access is coming to PCs in May.

With funding being tough for indie games, Early Access is important. It helps build more funds and allows them to receive feedback to perfect their product.

Consider checking out Kristala by Astral Clockwork Studios in May for Early Access.

Written by Mikey Yaden

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