Celestian Tales: Old North – Review
Follow Genre: Turn-based RPG, Indie
Developer: Ekuator Games
Publisher: Digital Tribe
Platforms: PC
Tested on: PC

Celestian Tales: Old North – Review

Site Score
Good: Stunning soundtrack
Bad: Perspective of game world can be too flat
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Celestian Tales: Old North is good at doing what it wants to do. More than aiming to hold its own against the current big titles it shares its genre with, Celestian Tales: Old North intends to offer a new take on the classic turn-based RPG format while still honouring the traditions that brought the genre its popularity. You won’t find any all-powerful gods, ancient prophecies, or apocalyptic scenarios in this RPG though. What you will find, is a game that holds the middle ground between being a humble tribute to the old JRPG’s many of us hardcore fans used to love, and an attempt at telling a refreshing story that touches upon human interaction, grey morality and personal beliefs.

CTON startup screen


Celestian Tales: Old North is meant to be the first episode in a series of three. The player is invited to choose a playable character out of six options, all of whom have different backgrounds and unique storylines. Based on which option the player picks, the other five characters will become NPC’s that can join the player’s party. All six characters are supposed to become squires and help end a massive war in the kingdom. As the characters make progress as squires, the interactions between them change. The main quest is relatively straight-forward and even though it is advertised as being gritty, it doesn’t meet the high standards it has built for itself. Celestian Tales’ story certainly isn’t a bad one (on the contrary), it’s just nothing new, and this feels strange for a game that prides itself on its “different” storyline. Ekuator Games also tried to focus on character interaction, and while this aspect of the game is quite interesting, there aren’t enough opportunities to interact with your party members at random intervals. Side quests are kept to a minimum as well, which can be frustrating and makes the game feel “unfinished”. If Ekuator Games could expand on the current storyline in future instalments, the sequels to Old North could prove to become very succesful. Ekuator Games knows what they’re doing, and Celestian Tales: Old North’s negative points are easily forgiven as beginners’ mistakes.

CTON youarenotspecial


Perhaps one of Celestian Tales: Old North’s main selling points is its gorgeous graphical design. The game world consists of hand-painted environments, which the player can explore through the use of 8-dimensional character sprites. Celestian Tales: Old North’s art style is elegant and sophisticated; and this defines the tone of the game. The game world is enchanting and atmospheric, and the synergy between art style and soundtrack offers a strong foundation for the game’s story. The main issue with the graphical aspect of the game however, is the perspective. The game world often looks flat, making it very difficult to get a sense of your surroundings. Additionally, the lack of a mini map makes it even more difficult to navigate the game world, especially when inside the city walls. It can be extremely frustrating to walk into yet another wall that has exactly the same colour and very similar texture to the ground, and this really cheapens the game’s otherwise gorgeous settings.

Overall, the graphics are reminiscent of JRPG concept art and really add to the story.



For a relatively small indie game that didn’t even meet its first Kickstarter goal, Celestian Tales: Old North sure brought out the big guns when it comes to its soundtrack. Not only is the soundtrack extremely impressive, it’s also diverse. Different areas and characters have different theme tracks, and each theme has been chosen carefully to fit its purpose.

The game isn’t voiced, which is perhaps a good thing. It would have been difficult to pull off the sometimes archaic dialogue, and combined with the lack of character animations voice acting would have stretched out the game’s playtime needlessly.


Combat in Celestian Tales: Old North offers what you’d expect from a turn-based RPG. The battle system is characterized by typical RPG-mechanisms such as the attack, defend, skills, item and run commands. Healing and reviving characters requires crystals, which can be bought at churches. Churches also house priests, who function as the healers of the game. This system is simple, but it works.
There are very little pacing issues, keeping combat from becoming a chore.  Areas between villages are populated with monsters and bandits, and while you can avoid most enemy encounters by simply walking around enemy sprites, some level of grinding is necessary to get through boss battles. Overall, the game does a good job at balancing the level of grinding necessary for progress. Some of the bigger enemies can be unfairly overleveled compared to smaller enemies in the same area, but this keeps the game from becoming too easy, and as levelling goes quite quickly this is never really a problem.

Perhaps because of Ekuator Games’ limited budget, most environments can’t be interacted with. It feels strange and unintentionally breaks the 4th wall when the playable character is invited into a library without being able to read any of the books there. Celestian Tales: Old North did start out as a Kickstarter game however, so perhaps future instalments in the series will feel less empty gameworld-wise.

Overall, Celestian Tales: Old North offers nothing new when it comes to its gameplay mechanisms, but battles are enjoyable enough for those who like turn-based combat. All actions are remappable and added controller support is available. Since each of the 6 main characters has their own storyline, replaying the game with an alternative main character is encouraged, but while the unique storylines are very interesting, replaying the game ultimately adds little value.

CTON game screen example


The game is a tribute to and a refreshing take on the RPG’s of old. Unfortunately it doesn’t come close to the classics such as Final Fantasy or Suikoden, but perhaps this is a problem of budget more than anything else. The game does show potential: dialogue is interesting, the story and combat are simple but manage to entertain, and the music is stunning. Overall, Celestian Tales: Old North is definitely fun to play, and we look forward to future instalments!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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Celestian Tales: Old North - Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

I'm a 24 year old gamer with a passion for RPG's, and the gaming community as a whole. When I'm not gaming, I can be found cooking, reading, or with my partner and pets. Currently on: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, PC and 3DS.

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