Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey is a 2D RPG with a persistent online world developed by international developer Kobojo. Zack Webster had a chance to check out the game, which is heading to iOS and Android later this year. Releases for PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 are planned to follow, but for now, RPGamers can read about out Zack's experience with the mobile version.
Mobile games are bigger than ever and will likely only continue to grow, so trying to stand out in that crowd can be quite difficult. Kobojo Games, maker of the upcoming Zodiac, is hoping to make a splash with its free-to-play RPG, relying on its international appeal and distinct art style.
Zodiac is a title that takes place in a world based around the twelve symbols of the Zodiac, each representing a God in the universe and a playable class. The demo involved the chracters investigating a prison after an alarm had been raised. The game plays out on a 2D plane with a foreground and a background. Characters occupy the foreground while NPCs and other interactive objects are in the background. Moving around is as easy as holding down your finger and battles are triggered randomly.
Battles are simple affairs. Characters have no mana bars and abilities are all on cooldown timers. Players have one customizable character while the other two are recruited party members. Kobojo wants to make Zodiac a single-player focused experience and a deep and expansive story is a big part of that, including the party members. Attacks and skills appear in a crescent in front of the active character and are used by dragging a specific ability over a legal target. The UI is quite clean and easy to read, but at this time there isn't any way to see what each attack does — additional notes were available in the demo area detailing all the attacks — so its unclear what exactly is happening during the battle. After ending a battle, loot is rolled randomly and can be re-rolled by spending gems, which are gained by spending real money, the only form of in-app purchases that I saw.
The only form of multiplayer is unique, though a little situational. If you enter a battle and you have a friend online, you can message that friend and let them know you need help in a battle. That player can respond and join your battle as their own character, replacing one of your allies. Each player retains control of their own character and when the battle ends loot is divided equally between both players, though the base loot is increased to a degree. It's a shorter burst that complements the game's mobile nature well, though I imagine it would be quite difficult to have two people online at the same time consistently.
Overall, the game's art style is beautiful, entirely hand drawn and heavily inspired by VanillaWare titles like Muramasa: The Demon's Blade and Dragon's Crown. Kobojo hopes that the game will be quite large and extensive, keeping people playing despite its single-player focus in a socially-minded market. The game will appear on iOS and Android first before the studio begins work on PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4.