Children of Zodiarcs – Strategy, cards and dice in a perfect blend
Children of Zodiarcs
Children of Zodiarcs is a story-driven, single-player tactical-RPG that combines traditional tactical gameplay with the thrill of collectible cards and craftable dice!
Children of Zodiarcs was inspired by a deep love of tactical-RPGs, namely Final Fantasy Tactics and the 16-bit Shining Force games, as well as a love of playing board games and collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering.
A perfect mix
Children of Zodiarcs is a tactical-RPG that incorporates deck building and dice into the basic turn-based formula. Party management allows you to prepare the card decks and dices each character will bring to battle, each card is an attack or spell that you can use during your turn and dices enhance the cards effects or give extra bonuses.
Each character has its own unique set of cards that they can use, leveling up unlocks more cards and upgrades ones you already had by adding more effects, making for a constant progression of what you can do with each character.
After selecting a card to use, you’ll have to throw the character’s set of dices to decide attack/defense bonuses or activate different cart effects, if you don’t like the roll you got you can choose a maximum of 2 dices and re-roll them once per turn. This adds a good layer of randomness alongside strategy to not only try to get good rolls but trying to mess with the opponents through different spells.
Positioning is a big part of each battle, both attacks and beneficial spells affect both enemies and allies so you gotta be careful with collateral damage and planning ahead before using a zone attack or spell. A bad movement or poorly placed spell could be the difference between losing a character or even the battle.
Its also worth mentioning how the moment to moment gameplay can be sped up without ruining the feel of the game and makes up for a great quality of life feature that’s very helpful once you’re accustomed to the games systems.
From battles to party management, the menus and interactions with the game are clear and smooth. The very few tutorials you get at the beginning of the game are enough to get into the game, and information about cards, effects and dice effects are available during battle at all times without being invasive.
Children of Zodiarcs takes the already solid base of tactical games its inspired by, and takes it to another level by not only improving it but adding its own unique flavor to the mix, and its achieved with flying colors.
Theres no adventure without a world
The game features 3D chibi characters on combat, with beautifully drawn 2D art for the rest of the game. Cards, UI and character sprites all have a very old fantasy look that suits the game atmosphere perfectly, it has a rocky or papyrus like texture to all of it that just makes it really good to look at, and relevant UI elements use more bright elements to remark important information in a way that doesn’t clash with the art style of the game.
Each part of the world has a different feel to it, and stages are well designed to both be attractive but don’t get in the way of the gameplay.
The soundtrack despite not having a lot of memorable tunes, its very good and brings home the whole atmosphere the game world gives with its orchestral tunes.
Children of Zodiarcs
The world the game presents you is captivating and rich that really tries to immerse you into it, but the characters and the story itself failed to keep my attention thanks to most characters having very drawn out sentiments that are repeated too much throughout the game. It feels like characters sometimes get stuck on a loop of repeating the same during multiple missions and the story pace goes to a sudden halt often.
The game has “Moments of Quiet” where you can get additional dialogue between each story mission that explain the world, the character’s backstory or just feature small moments between the party. This dialogues are the most interesting part about the story since they tend to either give good exposition about the world or just make the characters stand out by themselves, sadly this doesn’t carry to the main narrative and feels like it could’ve been done better.
Children of Zodiarcs is a must have for any RPG fan thanks to its world and incredible gameplay, despite having a mediocre story and bad pacing, the small character moments and great gameplay makes up for it and makes for a great experience for both seasoned RPG players or people trying to get into it.
Be it old time fans or new player, I highly recommend this game especially on the Nintendo Switch.
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Reviewed by ChitoWarlock on the Nintendo Switch. Game provided by Plug In Digital.