CHILDREN OF ZODIARCS
An RPG that’s far from child’s play
Take a tactical role-playing game, such as Final Fantasy Tactics or Shining Force, blend it with Magic: The Gathering, and you’ll get a sense of what Children Of Zodiarcs has to offer. Turnbased battles play out on grid-based 3D plains, driven by a colourful narrative which sees your force, a band of three down-andout kids, fending off against everyone from royal guards to rival gangs.
Victory never depends solely on player tactics, as even the best-laid plans, conjured up by the most skilled of noggins, can be laid to waste by an unfortunate hand of cards or an unlucky dice roll. Cards determine what actions a character can take, including attacks (melee, ranged, and magic), healing, and special abilities. Dice are rolled after a card is played, and can offer bonuses, such as extra damage or additional moves, that can seriously turn the tide of battle. 1 It’s an intricate game of strategy, spliced with an element of risk-versus-reward that remarkably ramps up the tension.
Each party member has their own set of cards and dice, which can be customised and upgraded. 2 Most missions offer a satisfying challenge, but the occasional difficulty spike means that some scuffles are unfairly overwhelming. Skirmishes give you the opportunity to battle in areas you’ve previously visited, but these dish out woefully minimal amounts of experience.
Despite the sometimes unbalanced challenge it presents, Children Of Zodiarcs is a brilliant tribute to tactical RPGs of old, with the tabletop elements adding a fresh and engaging twist to the beloved genre. Anne-Marie Coyle
FOOTNOTES1 Rerolling allows you to gamble for a better outcome, if you’re feeling particularly gutsy. 2 You can customise individual dice faces, to play to the strength of your character’s cards.