Innovative Gadgets

A must-play for techniques followers


Sequence like Last Fantasy Techniques, Hearth Emblem and Techniques Ogre (which received a stunning remaster in 2022) are inclined to dominate the dialog round SRPGs. And rightly so. Nevertheless, with its newest launch – Unicorn Overlord – developer Vanillaware is taking cues from older titles in a approach that pays tribute to the classics whereas additionally offering one thing contemporary and interesting for 2024. And after being utterly engrossed by this stunning mash-up of outdated and new, Unicorn Overlord seems like a must-play for technique recreation followers.

Vanillaware isn’t shy about the place it drew inspiration for Unicorn Overlord. As a substitute of typical grid-based battlefields, the sport performs rather a lot like Ogre Battle 64, which has you commanding a handful of smaller squads that you just maneuver across the map to intercept enemy forces and seize strongholds. Every squad has a captain who lends a passive bonus with get together sizes that develop to 5 over the course of the sport. However since you don’t have direct management over particular person characters throughout fights, you must be artful about setting them up for achievement.

Unicorn Overlord features beautifully hand-drawn characters that reminds you of tactics games from the past. Unicorn Overlord features beautifully hand-drawn characters that reminds you of tactics games from the past.

Screenshot by Sam Rutherford/Vanillaware

Technique is dictated not solely by the place of every squad but additionally by which courses you select and the actions you set (e.g. setting a command to assault the bottom well being enemy or solely hitting an opponent that’s already been debuffed). This leads to gameplay that seems like fantasy soccer however for warfare. Take a look at you, you’re the final now. Besides it’s higher as a result of you may see how properly your artwork of warfare performs out, like when your archers take out flying enemies similar to gryfons and wyverns which might be naturally prone to their assaults.

However the strategizing doesn’t cease there, as a result of outdoors of fight, there are different methods to control battles. You possibly can commandeer siege models like catapults and ballistas to rain harm down on opposing models earlier than they get shut. Alternatively, you may spend Valor factors (that are earned by defeating enemies) to buff pleasant combatants (haste, further stamina, and so forth.) or soften up foes with focused strikes like a cavalry cost. Then there’s all the varied tools and loot you’ll collect, which provides one other layer of customization to your military.

Combat centers around skirmishes between squads of up to five characters each. Combat centers around skirmishes between squads of up to five characters each.

Screenshot by Sam Rutherford/Vanillaware

On prime of easy spec bumps, you can provide models extra turns or alter their talents by including poison harm to a spear or different weapon. And if you get every thing arrange good, the outcomes are devastating. One among my favourite combos was giving an archer and swordsman fire-based assaults to afflict a burn on enemies. Then I adopted this up with a mage that ignites each burning opponent with extra party-wide harm on the finish of a combat and I believe you may see the place that is going. Actually, I’ve misplaced monitor of the period of time I’ve spent menus to tweak ascactions and tools. However min-maxing every squad’s potential is a ton of enjoyable all by itself.

In the meantime, one other function Unicorn Overlord borrows from franchises like Hearth Emblem is its Rapport mechanic. Characters in the identical squad will develop nearer over time, providing upgraded stats over time. Alternatively, you may enhance rapport by sharing meals or giving items, and after sufficient bonding, you’ll get a cutscene that dives deeper into two folks’s relationship. On prime of that, the principle character, Alain, can develop a romance permitting you to decide on your greatest lady (or boy, in some instances, although I haven’t had the possibility to attempt that out myself).

Usually, the goal of each encounter is to take over the enemy's stronghold without losing your own. Usually, the goal of each encounter is to take over the enemy's stronghold without losing your own.

Screenshot by Sam Rutherford/Vanillaware

Unicorn Overlord’s roster is very large too. It felt like each different battle I added a brand new member to my ranks, and earlier than I even explored 50 % of the map, I had greater than 30 distinctive story characters. And if that’s not sufficient, you can too recruit mercenaries, which is arguably a extra strategic determination as that allows you to customise a unit’s progress (e.g. Eager varieties get further crit whereas all-rounders obtain extra balanced stats and so forth).

I additionally wish to name out Unicorn Overlord’s visible design, which is flat-out attractive. It’s a transparent homage to the 2D sprite-based graphics of old-school SRPGs, nevertheless it’s been polished up for contemporary HD screens. Portraits and character fashions are extremely detailed and the animations are a pleasure to observe even after the one thousandth time. Granted, Vanillaware sometimes succumbs to the trope of lady armor in video games the place male characters have large sheets of metallic defending them whereas some feminine characters are way more scantily clad. Why does the witch class put on a bikini? We might by no means know, although this has been Vanillaware’s type for the final 20 years, so it’s not precisely a shock. Actually, my gripe with that is that there must be a couple of extra himbos to stability issues out.

A preview of battle results gives players the opportunity to adjust their squad's positioning, actions and equipment in order to achieve a more favorable outcome. A preview of battle results gives players the opportunity to adjust their squad's positioning, actions and equipment in order to achieve a more favorable outcome.

Screenshot by Sam Rutherford/Vanillaware

As for extra normal cons, the principle one is that the sport’s plot is a bit generic. It’s not unhealthy, it’s simply based mostly on a well-known setup centered round disenfranchised Prince Alain (who most likely not coincidentally seems to be rather a lot like Magnus from Ogre Battle 64, proper all the way down to the blue hair) and his quest to liberate his nation from the clutches of evil emperor Galerius. That mentioned, there are nonetheless loads of touching moments to maintain the plot from getting too boring.

The opposite potential subject is that some might discover the sport a bit too straightforward. To begin, there are three problem ranges, plus a fair tougher setting when you beat the sport. Nevertheless, the quantity of strategizing you are able to do means you may virtually all the time have a bonus in battle, so relying on the way you have a look at it, the sport is hurting itself for having such a excessive stage of management and customization. Although for my part, that’s an excellent downside to have.

Amalia is mommy. Amalia is mommy.

Screenshot by Sam Rutherford/Vanillaware

A very powerful factor about Unicorn Overlord is that it seems like a ardour undertaking from begin to end. Its visuals are splendidly hand-crafted, and by adopting after which updating options and gameplay from Corridor of Fame technique titles, the sport seems like a love letter to the style as a complete. Heck, the CEO of Vanillaware even went as far as to pay for the sport’s growth out of pocket after its funds ran out. So whereas Unicorn Overlord may not attraction to everybody, techniques followers simply received a brand new prompt traditional.



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