I’m not lying. Somewhere in the world a developer has put together the talents of a Final Fantasy/Kingdom Hearts writer, the musical direction of the composer for Final Fantasy Tactics, and the art director of Final Fantasy VI (my favorite). It sounds like the perfect recipe for a premiere JRPG, right? Kazushige Nojima, Hitoshi Sakimoto, and Hideo Minaba have all been brought together for one game, and I’m not so sure my heart can take the excitement of such a prospect.
Well that’s what developer Kobojo has done in order to create the inspiring and brilliant world of Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey. Although, this game has already seen its release on iOS devices, it is currently in development for Steam, PlayStation 4 and PS Vita, clearly benefiting from being developed on Unity. Come one, Kobojo. First you bring together some of the individuals behind the bedrock of my formative gaming years and then you BRING IT TO THE VITA? It sounds to good to be true. That is, until I played it.
What playing Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey feels like
When I got some one-on-one time with this game at PSX, I immediately felt a Child of Light vibe as I soared though the air on my trusty winged friend. Painstakingly detailed environments, corridors and labyrinth style areas really brought that feeling to my mind. Gazing at this game (which is easy to do), I could see an obvious inspiration from Dragon’s Crown in Zodiac‘s gorgeous hand-drawn 2D art. It truly does benefit from the “authentic” feel that that art-style brings to the experience.
Battling enemies felt like a classic throwback to those turn-based JRPGs I grew up on. That battle system is a tried-and-true formula that many JRPGs would benefit from returning to. A class system is included here. There are 12 classes that the player can switch through for each character. Of course, the character models reminded me of the days when Enix (now part of Square Enix) brought us the Valkyrie Profile series. There is a richness to this game that would be impossible to have with out the JPRG lineage of talent that Kobojo has assembled.
The result is a game that brings together many familiar elements, but ultimately, feels like its own unique game. I never got the impression that I was retreading over an experience I had in previous games. Everything felt fresh.
The most remarkable thing about Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey
When speaking with Kobojo, I was informed that this is truly a global project. With studios in Scotland, France, and Japan, this marks a rare time - possibly the only time I can remember - that both Japanese and Western rpg creators collaborated on a single rpg experience. In light of that, it’s no mystery why the game feels so unique. This proverbial RPG melting pot is pooling from many different cultures, experiences, and intellects.
PS4 and Vita cross-save function!
As soon as I played this game at PSX, I was tempted to download it onto my Ipad. But with physical controls being my comfort zone, I felt as though I owed it to myself and this game to wait for Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey to come to the PS4 and Vita. I know I’ll enjoy it more in that form. With the implementation of cross-save, it’s going to be even easier for me to invest more time into leveling up my characters and zodiac classes. As much as I love my Vita, the game looks additionally gorgeous when played on a TV. Both formats add their own special layer, so I’ll never feel like I’m losing out when switching back-and-forth.
I absolutely adored Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey. I’m glad Kobojo is taking risks by developing a game with bigger ideas and goals. We should never count out mobile developers because of our unfamiliarity with that platform. If you have, I highly suggest you give this title a shot. You won’t regret it.
Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey should make its way onto Steam, PlayStation 4, and Vita some time in 2016.