It's a shame when a game that you see so much potential in, and get so excited for, winds up being a clunky experience that fails to engross you in any way. I've been carrying the torch for Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey [$4.99] for a while now, enamored by its gorgeous looks, the slick interface I saw at my GDC demo, the talent behind the game, and the intrigue behind its pricing model. But with the final product now available, what we've got is a turn-based RPG that pales in comparison to other entries on mobile that include a wide selection of classics, and many modern games that carry on the tradition of many of the games that the talent on Zodiac worked on. But thanks to a miserable world, a sloppy plot, and a progression that feels like you're going nowhere fast, Zodiac is merely skin-deep beauty.

Zodiac Orcanon Odyssey Review 2

The world of Zodiac can be best characterized as internally, extremely racist. All the races that form the good guys are openly racist toward each other, with the humanoid hyums not being a fan of the bird-people, and the bird-people not liking the big, hairy orsas, and so on. There's a general dislike and mistrust among all the different races here. But they all hate the lizard-people, and the lizard people hate them. And frankly, the lizard-people are jerks who wantonly murder and eat the Phyltrians, the fish-like creatures with stuttering problems who filter the world's water. Yes, I too cursed this game when I made the connection. But frankly, the lizard-people might just be reacting to what seems to be some deep-seated prejudice in this game's world. Like, maybe that doesn't excuse eating people out of nowhere, but this world's problems do not begin and end with marauding lizard-folk. It's fantasy racism, sure, but something about it feels so comically blatant. There's a humor in that all the races one side hate each other, and only put a modicum of effort into disguising it. Maybe there's an insightful commentary here, but it's hard to take seriously when it involves humanoid lizards and bird-persons and there is no subtlety about it at all.

But all this wanton internal racism belies a bigger problem for the player: the game is just so miserable and it does a terrible job at getting you to want to enjoy the story. The hero character (default name Cael) is a blank slate, which isn't anything new for the RPG genre, but this is a game that really needs a bright, shining hero to really rise above all the mediocrity around surrounding our protagonist. And none of the other characters really make a notable impression whatsoever. They're heroes, yes, one character has a tragic backstory, but the game does a terrible job at engaging the player with them as anything more than characters in the party, a means to an end for the enemy battle encounters on the game's levels. At least you get to fly around on a giant flying tiger-like creature named Saber.

Zodiac Orcanon Odyssey Review 4

And the storytelling is just rough, in general. Major plot events happen off-screen in what wind up being random cutaway cutscenes that tell you of more interesting things happening. One early cutscene kills off a character we've just heard about, and I guess is supposed to be a big moment, but the person alongside her touches a mirror with an object she just got, and I guess this was supposed to be a big moment, but right then, it's like "Why did I need to see this? Why couldn't this have happened when the character was introduced and defined as being sick?" And the cutscenes are an odd duck, because while they're fine out of context of the rest of the game, the animation style which simplifies a lot of character details feels so out of place with the in-game art, which is very, very detailed. Also, the lack of dialogue in the cutscenes just feels weird.

In fact, the sound in general in this game is kind of odd. I've been on a bit of an audiophile kick lately, but the default settings for the game have the music very much drowning out the sound effects. I had to turn down the music in the options in order to hear the sound effects, which regardless don't feel very much in tune with the game. The sound design could have been so much better.

Zodiac Orcanon Odyssey Review 3

The game was once free-to-play, and you can see remnants of the game's original business model scattered throughout. There's a crafting system in the game, but recipes are few and far between; considering you can buy most items you need at a fair price, and the game heaps mountains of gold upon you for the longest time, there's no real need for all those materials. You have a massive inventory, and no good inventory management system for all the junk you collect. Even the Easy/Normal/Hard structure of the dungeons is something out of a free-to-play game, but it sure does feel like this shifted direction late and fast. Which is good, honestly; this feels a lot more like it should be a paid game.

I've been very excited about this one for a while, but I think despite all the talent behind the game, it just never comes together. Nothing feels like it's of consequence. The story hints that there's more going on outside of your actions, but it literally has to show you what's happening. You fight enemies, their looks not really belying which is tougher than the other, and randomly getting stronger as time goes on. But exploring the levels isn't much fun when the level layouts are bland mazes with no maps, and the NPCs have nothing interesting to say. There's little reason to talk to anyone that doesn't have a special icon above their head. You can just kind of trudge on with your mission, which more often than not is "get to the end, fight this boss, repeat ad nauseam."

Zodiac Orcanon Odyssey Review 1

The combat is a strength, if only because the wait timers make for a smart replacement for magic, and forcing you to deploy your abilities with their side effects wisely. Even the game's Zodiac system, which lets Cael change between classes mid-battle, is smart, because it encourages you to switch often with the only penalty being that Cael moves to the end of the turn line for this round. So, while that is a disadvantage, you can still jump between classes as you may, using abilities from one to another, if you so wish. Each class has their own stats, job, and upgrade tree, and my only wish is that the game introduced all this sooner, because as you've figured out how your base 3 characters work early on, the game doesn't introduce new elements fast enough. And the game promises a lot more than it's offering right now. While this seemed to be the plan for the longest time for the game to add new content after release โ€“ future story was already written back at GDC โ€“ it's important for a big first release to have enough to satisfy its players. But this winds up being a real trudge through boring events for the longest time, and frankly, many people are going to give up and find better things to do with their time before hitting any point where they'd be ready for more. There are so many more RPGs with actual characters to care about, and interesting stories throughout, and many of them are on iOS! Go play those games!

It's just all disappointing because Zodiac's such a gorgeous game. And the interface in combat is super-slick. And the Zodiac system is really cool to play with. But what Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey fails to do is to make the player want to keep playing it. It fails to capitalize on the strengths it has, preferring to draw itself out into a boring trudge rewards you with too few bright spots over far too long of a playing time. I was really excited for this game, and hoped it would be good, and it pains me that this one was a clunker.

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarNoneNoneNone
  • chico

    Wow, I normally hold my breathe on this site and sit back and watch but this is a serious injustice.

    Are you crazy! Lol! You are the same people who gave the horrible Avenge SevenFold game 5 stars. Now I have completely lost all respect for you guys. This game is the first game to start breathing new life into the RPG genre and you tear it to pieces. You give the shitty KEMCO RPG's better scores than this masterpiece and they just change character names and recycle old art. I really feel bad for anyone who reads this and doesn't experience it for themselves.

    Please don't let this horrible review decide for you. This is the first RPG on IOS, besides the classics that have started to reemerge (Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Secret of Mana) as of late, that has held my attention for a period of time since Chaos Rings 3. This game has amazing music, character design, animation, art work, character development, and an amazing battle system. But if you don't sponsor the touch arcade purchase program or do an Avenge Sevenfold interview I guess it's difficult to get a decent score.

    • Carey

      I couldn't disagree with you more Chico. Anyone thinking about this
      game should read the forum thread - it highlights an incomplete game (3 of 14 classes are implemented) that is filled with bugs (not getting characters, being trapped in the prison, crashes). I agree with Carter
      that there is substantial potential here, but this game is simply
      incomplete.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Don't forget we gave Candy Crush 5 stars too.

      • Exact-Psience

        *whooooooooooooooooooosh* THWOCK!

        That's the sound of a zipping arrow performing a headshot.

      • Leguro

        Wow, your just so very intensely undoubtedly funny...

      • Michal Hochmajer

        Ooo. You good for nothing editor! How dare you, I will immediately leave TA, my country...this planet. Just kidding, except leaving planet or so.
        TA reviews are totally legit as long as you are describing specific problems correctly and reviewing overall user experience.
        I can see visual style(screenshots/YouTube), I can hear sounds/music (YouTube), I can't feel overall experience until purchase. And that's where TA helps me with my decision. Do I play candy crush? Nope. Did I buy games primaly thanks to TA? Yes. Did I regret it. Nope, so far I can remember. TA editors have same taste...or they are just simply doing they job well. And that's real value of TA!!!
        I purchased Zodiac immediately. Do I regret it. Yes and no. I bought Zodiac because of artstyle. I hoped for good gameplay. And didn't expect so many technical issues. Took my lesson, again.
        Would rather read review, wait til game is "repaired" and support few small games instead next time.

    • Weisse

      Oh spare us your drivel. If you are having fun with the game, fair enough and that's all that should matter, but the review has hit some pretty good points and playing the game myself it is differently a rushed released. What could have been but not makes it even more frustrating. It's like early access on the app store now.

      The only thing going for the game is its lush visuals and animations. The game is mediocre at best compared to even older and less visually appealing titles.

      It is evening gaining a lot of critical reviews on the app store. They should have finished the game and released a complete and polished experience from the start.

    • makkoto

      Wow, I see you even posted 2 comments about how you hate reviews on TA. Maybe having a friend would help you ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Big Papa

      LOL, your comment reeks of sentiment from someone who obviously hasn't put much time into this game and wants to feel good about that high price tag. Don't feel bad though, I thought it was a great game too when I only had 20 or 30 minutes into it. I'm sorry to say, but this turned out to be a big, steaming pile of poop.

    • Matthew Thegreat

      I was bored, got stuck, and looked up the name of this game to find out when I got new classes. This review came up, summarizing what I thought COMEPLETLY so far. Even the part where the swords don't make a satisfying enough sound was noticed. It could be better, but it does lack drive. You might be in a different opinion, but the reviewer isn't making this stuff up. It really irked me to the point where I looked for spoilers online, which I never do

    • Matthew Thegreat

      Also I found this review looking for a map online. So...... Y no maps! Just that is proof of an unfinished game. Also grinding is required a lot. Still gonna play it, stuck at swamp boss area.

  • MagIor

    Unsure what to think about this.

    I enjoy Carter's writing all the time, but I don't think I've remember him writing about a game like this before... this is usually the sort of far reserved for Mr. Musgrave.

    I'd be interested to hear if his thoughts mirror Carters.

    ~

    • http://about.me/wondroushippo Carter Dotson

      I reviewed Attack the Light (and have reviewed plenty of RPGs across my writing career, just not always here), and I actually offered this one to Shaun but he graciously let me take it. Based on our discussions after I submitted my review, he was a bigger fan than I was, but we're not too far off in our opinions.

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      Shaun talked a bit about this game on twitter, wasn't a huge fan:

    • Shaun James Musgrave

      It's funny because after finishing the current content in Zodiac and feeling pretty sour about it, I started to worry about how much Carter would diverge from my opinion. After he wrapped up the review and submitted it, we had an in-depth talk about it and I was surprised to find how much we agreed on it. Like, I have a few concerns he didn't (I feel like the battle system doesn't fully explore what it seems to be set up for in the course of the current content, and the available jobs are terribly balanced), and he had a few I didn't (like Nojima tackling magic racism with the subtlety of a sledgehammer - I'm used to his ham fists on this topic), but we had almost the same feeling about the overall game. Gun to head, I'd have given the game a 3/5 based on content and deducted points from there for the extensive bugs, probably settling at 2.5 or, yes, 2. And yes, that's lower than I give most Kemco games, and I'm okay with how that reads.

  • Jigglypuff

    woah Toucharcade just became one of those pathetic SJW reviewers. 2 stars for "racism" in fantasy world ayy lmao! do you even Arcanum NWN BG Witcher or any other mature RPG bro?

    • http://about.me/wondroushippo Carter Dotson

      My issue was not that the world was internally racist โ€“ it's a pretty common trope โ€“ I just found the implementation to be more over-the-top than saying anything overly clever with it. And that it contributed to the world not being one that I wanted to experience or partake in, it made everything feel miserable! It wasn't the key reason the game got 2 stars, though. Contributing factor, but the game being not that much fun to play was the main reason I didn't like it!

    • Matthew Thegreat

      The first screen is full of like 5 people. I wanna say 4 of them mention racism. Like seriously that's the games first screen! It just felt very forced. Almost all characters mention oppression or hating another race. Like people refer to you as your race mainly. "Hey Hyun (human) aren't bird people pieces of shit?" "Hyun remember that us bear people are better cause we aren't theiving lizards" "I am bird and cannot fly ๐Ÿ™ oppressed and triggered". That sums up the main dialogue for the first two scenes.

  • psac

    So far my biggest gripe is the lack of a map. It's really awful. Hard to keep track of anywhere.

  • Schpank

    Agree. It's slick, but I can't get into it. The key elements: story, battle mechanics, character progression... seem a bit random and disjointed and don't come together into a cohesive loop that inspires me to continue. 9 bucks flushed.

  • Exact-Psience

    I dont have the game, just because the devs refuse to release it in certain asian appstores, but from what i read in its thread, i was expecting somewhere between a 2.5 to a 3.5 for anyone's review. So Carter's 2, considering people have different tastes and opinions, is somewhat justifiable.

  • Tony Gavin

    I think this was a little harsh. But then again, I actually am enjoying the game for what it is. The combat is fun and strategic and I don't think the story is that bad. Could it be better? Definitely. My main concerns are that it wasn't fully complete. Only a few of the classes being available and abrupt end with no indication of when it will be available. I also wish there was voice acting and more sound effects overall. A map would be great as well. All that said, I can say I'm still really liking it. Probably a 3-3.5 from me. Higher once concerns are addressed-- particularly what we can expect as far as more content in the game. The devs need to give some assurance that those who paid for it will get a complete game at some point. This was just released too soon IMO.

  • chico

    All I'm saying is I've seen so many apps receive 3-4 stars on this site that are meerly repetitive tap fests. Then we get this game where the art, gameplay, music, and world were clearly given so much love and attention and you slap a two on it. In my past experiences on the site I've noticed that you guys only give 2-2.5 scores to horrible garbage games. So do you honestly think all of the love that went into this project deserves a little more respect.

    Now please if you can explain how Death Bat deserves a 5 if this is a two.

    Just saying.

    Fan of the site just slightly confused.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Death Bat is fun, this is not. We don't score games based on some kind of matrix where a terrible game can get 4.5 stars because the scores for the graphics, sound, and other things bring the average up. Do you disagree with the review text, or merely the score?

      • Tony Gavin

        I actually do find it fun. It's just unfinished and needed more time to fully develop everything from classes to the story itself. The artwork is amazing and the combat is really good. Just sad that they didn't build it out to where it needed to be before release. You can say more is coming but that's just opening it up for criticism from early supporters and it'll hurt them in the long run regardless of what they do with. The good things it has going for it aren't enough to build goodwill.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        We can't really review games based on what they could be. If we did, every game would be five stars because who knows, in five years, maybe they'll all get updated enough to be good.

  • Daniel

    It's like no one even read the review.. Oh wait, that's not surprising. Personally, my biggest gripe with the game is that it is blatantly unfinished and there is NO signs of that in the app description. How can you charge $9 for a game and neglect to say "well actuallyyyyyyyyy it's missing a lot of content, characters, etc"??? Also, all of you people keep saying "but it's so purty and and its music is good and and TA YOUR BIASED" while ignoring very valid criticisms like NPC's having nothing to say/very little, or maps that have no maps for them (really game?). a boring world, etc etc. Lastly though, again, it is the reviewer's opinion. You can adore the game all you like, but the reviewer thought X so don't have a fit because of that.

  • chico

    Death Bat was the biggest piece of trash I've ever seen get 5 on any site. You're calling DeathBat Flawless, think about that. Shitty animation, shitty story, shitty controls, clearly a 5.

    This month it's the lowest review of all.

    I think zodiac is very fun. Way better than deathbat.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Where have we ever said a five star game is flawless? No game is flawless. Hell, I'm playing Fallout 4 right now and if we reviewed PC games I'd give it six stars even though it's so buggy I basically need to quick save every 30 seconds.

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      Deathbat got 4 stars. At least know what you're talking about before you speak. In addition, Deathbat is one of my all time favorite games, and is still on my device over a year later. I hop into it frequently just for fun, and bought all of the IAP characters. Obviously you didn't like it, but does that make my opinion any less valid?

      You like this game. Great! Carter did not. Great! You're both right. That is how opinions work.

    • metalcasket

      Hey, just for your information, Carter actually reviewed Death Bat on another site and basically shat all over it. Who would've thought?

  • vic_viper_001

    Looks like I'll be picking this one up...

    ...at 99 cents or even zero dollars.

    It's one thing to miss the mark a little. It's a different thing entirely to completely misrepresent your game and release it unfinished. It's even worse to release a "premium" priced game and switch to free-to-play later on, and I can see that one happening from a mile away.

    • Tony Gavin

      Don't see F2P being an issue for buyers. I've accumulated so much gold that I have nothing to spend it on. That said, the unfinished issue is pretty bad.

  • philsmtx

    whoa... what happened here?

    • Design by Adrian

      Somebody accidentally hit the "Publish Game" button prematurely on the App Store.

  • Jack Chan

    Never played this game, but honestly I fail to see why this game deserves a 2/5 stars from the writing. I don't know what happened to the reviews in TA anymore; they used to be quite insightful and let you know what you are signing up for when you get a game. But this.... this just tells me you hate blatantly put fantasy racism, you hated the story and plots flow, you hated the cut scenes, and you hated the some mechanics. Maybe they are all done sloppily and everything written is true, but at the same time they all sound extremely biased and subjective in writing and feels more like a hater post than an actual review. I understands rewviews always have an element of subjectivity to it, but I can't really tell where are the critical flaws that made this game deserves a 2/5. There are no mentions of critical flaws like bugs, crashes, specific things that were promised but not implemented, or even horrible game plays, etc. Only one I saw was mentioning of this game seemed to have designed for F2P but rushed into a P2W last minute. But again, not enough details to convince me how bad that translate.

    I don't know. After reading this I still have no idea if Zodiac is a bad game or not and it seems I still would have to try it to find out.

    • Dunan

      I've played enough of this to know that it's not good enough. The story is very disjointed, I experiences transitions and fmvs and have no idea why actions happened and why they even decided to send you all over the place.

      3 of 12 classes, unfinished ending. No sounds at all during movie cutscenes. no voices I can deal with but no sounds is very bad. Not much of a sound presence leaves it with a very soulless experience. Bugs and story ideas being in your face without much intelligence aside this review appropriately scored what it did.

      Let's not even get into the UI issues either of which is has several problems.

      So all we have left is a gorgeous looking game with a turned based combat system but nothing else.
      Lastly read the forum thread that confirms all this by other people who have purchased it.

      Sadly this is $14 that I could have used for something better on the PSN sale going on right now.

    • Bryan

      I think the review glosses over some things but the 2/5 is definitely deserved. I'm trying so hard to enjoy this game to justify the money put into it, but it's really difficult.

      UI is clunky and unresponsive at times (the 'hitboxes' for UI items always seem a little too small or a little off). The UI also lags sometimes and animations generally don't line up with their sounds.

      Speaking of sound, the sound design in this game is pretty awful. The default mix, like the review says, has music blasting way too loud, but when I actually turn down the music, there's nothing special about the sfx that I'm finally hearing. Attack sounds don't have any weight to them and don't seem to match what the attack is actually doing. Battle sounds feel too quiet and UI sounds feel too loud. Some things just straight up don't have sounds. Sound can make or break a game and immersion-breaking sound for a game that shows such detail in graphics and music is hard to get past.

      I have no problem with fantasy racism, as it's in a lot of games and can be used well to go into deeper issues and make meaningful commentary. But this fantasy racism is just so clunky and blunt and feels unnecessary. The writing feels lazy and very explicit (as in everything is told, not shown). Everything just lacks nuance and substance. I'm not expecting literary genius anytime I play a mobile RPG, but all the dialogue feels like an unedited first draft. And NPC dialogue just straight up doesn't matter because it's all the same flowery, yet mundanely blunt racism no matter who you talk to. I GET IT, EVERYONE HATES EACH OTHER. That could be interesting if you told me why or gave me some back story or world history or lore but that rarely happens. It's all just 'Ugh, Hyums are the worst. They can't be trusted and they don't care about me." or "Fawlkons are dirty and second-class citizens."

      Cut scenes feel disconnected from the main game as they don't provide much story or anything extra that couldn't be told in-game. The style is too different from the main game to be cohesive. There's only music in them, no sfx or dialogue. I don't mind the lack of voice acting, but if you show characters' mouths moving and talking, it's a little disorienting. And there are several action-heavy cutscenes, which feel completely empty without sound.

      There aren't any maps in dungeons, and the layouts of dungeons are pretty boring, but can also be confusing. So, not having maps is discouraging if you actually want to explore, or if you literally just want to progress.

      The combat is the only redeeming quality, but it's really nothing so innovative that it saves the rest of the game and makes me want to wander aimlessly through a poorly laid out dungeon with no map and a clunky UI any time I want to allocate job points or switch weapons.

      I understand the reaction to the review thinking it's too subjective. But there are just objective problems with Orcanon Odyssey: Clunky, unresponsive UI. Poor sound design, sometimes no sound design at all. Pointless NPC dialogue. Lazy, clunky story writing. Characters that haven't been written to get me to care about them. No maps in dungeons, which are maze-like and boring and have lots of backtracking. Zodiac just makes it really tough to have fun while playing it ๐Ÿ™

  • Michal Hochmajer

    2.5* from me. I agree with everything in this review. Those who defend this game. No one is complaining about art! Characters and environment is one of the most beautiful 2d on platform. YES! Also battle system is very good. I don't mind it's simplicity (no, you can't call 4 different types of attack deep rpg element). Even world itself is OK. When you check website of the game...wow. But terrible implementation ruins it all!
    Great music? Indeed. Except it sounds like hearing can echo or old walkman (filter/compression?).
    Beautiful levels? Yes. But slow movement end not best Sabers controls (personal taste, playing on iPad air) are problem a bit. Side by side with other things like door bug (really? First level, you hit unopened door without having key and script cycle itself!). Generic NPC everywhere, saying...well why they are there(yes, I've read everything so far in 4 realms)? Quests are ok, even if extremly generic.
    Someone mentioned chaos rings, one of my favorite rpg series on mobile(very high on my overall rpg list), and I thing it is good merit. But in exact opposite. I really wish to love Zodiac. In my eyes, this game is generic free to play Asian like rpg for lower premium price, where let's say chaos rings 3 is fully fledged jrpg with some ftp social aspect for full price. Both were meant to be free games! Both cut this aspect off.
    I fully understand that Zodiac is probably low budget, do everything by yourself beloved product (hack, I can tell from my own experience on dead effect, how things should goes wrong during such development) and as that I can even accept how small Zodiac is, maybe even for it's price on some level. I can easily accept missing voiceover(o my, I wish there is). But even if I ignore this hyped part of myself for this game, I didn't enjoy this game due poor implementation of different things. No one wants Zodiac to be "high" budget game like chaos rings 3, but most basic things like enjoyable experience is must have. For God sake, what become of indie games, when you cut off fun/enjoyment? Strongest and most important part of bloody game industry and it's tiny part called indie?
    For 9 bucks, I can support up to 9 other small indie devs, where at least few of them will offer 10 - 50 minutes of enjoyable experince.
    To devs of Zodiac: I know it will be tough now. You will ask yourself many questions. If you go over this financially, kill egoism in yourself and read carefully what people criticize. Then repair this game. It will be good start to obtain my trust. For now...sorry.

  • Gamera Love

    i hope when they release it for asian player they will change it back to ftp. i will gladly spend at least $100 us on this game. i downloaded with CA account and really love it, but it would be much better if it's a ftp, so they can add more story and characters later and we can have a never ending story. these type of games are extremely popular here.

  • Stimorol

    Hmmm....difficult it is with so many opinions about the game.
    Well nothing is perfect people, and you better get used to it.
    Reviewers have their opinions about games but it doesn't mean the game sucks after all, they simply didn't like it. Of course we all tend to read the reviews before we make purchases but it's very difficult to make a decision from just reading a review, with so many different opinions evolved. I would say; what does your gut feeling say? Buy the the game or not!? I read the reviews but I don't let them decide if I should buy I game or not. Reviews are nothing more than guidelines simply as that.

  • Onikage725

    Isn't this a glorified beta? The version listed on the store is like 0.6.something. Also, I read at one point that this is planned for a console release as well, next year. In that context, I think this review is more than fair. They are asking a premium price for an incomplete product. Granted, I don't know what they intend to charge for the full product on other platforms, but that is THEIR job to convey.

  • Ragn4rok 74

    Just read the forum thread for this game and see the complaints from people who have played it and they are numerous. I wish I had waited for a review before buying it.

    • Huon

      Appstore will issue a refund if you ask for it. This falls as false advertisement.

  • chico

    Today I decided to go back and find an RPG which Carter reviewed as quality, 4 stars. I did this to see where the barometer was set. The game in question was called Tap Titan. It looked great, however about 15 minutes into the game I realized I hadn't even looked at the screen in the past 10 minutes; and yet I was still winning, leveling up, and adding characters. Now I know what Zodiac could have done better. It could have played for you and got a higher review score.

    Look, I'm all for everyone having their own opinion but this review was just childish for the sake of being childish. The people who worked on this game clearly put a lot of love into it and got nothing from you in return. You guys scored a fun game lower than something like a 5 nights at freddys part 8 which is no more than recycled version of the previous games.

    Well, I think i'll go back to Zodiac now. Thanks

    • dingdongfootball

      Ok Zodiacs PR guy.

    • Nekku

      Zodiac is advertised as an JRPG and therefore is getting reviewed as one. Tap Titans is a whole different genre.

    • Michal Hochmajer

      And now tell me. I am harcore old school gamer (25+years of gaming). My all the time favorite rpgs are like fallout, baldurs gate,ff,chaos rings series (but primarily turn based strategy fan) etc. Am I wrong giving it 2,5* maybe 3* for what it is now? Everything in this review is true. Maybe 2* is a little bit cruel. Please make post with pros, cons and score. I am curious and we can compare. I don't care how Carter reviewed Tap Titan! I care about Zodiac.

      • chico

        Agreed I am an old school gamer as you say, 32 years, and I agree it was "a little bit cruel".

      • Michal Hochmajer

        Again. Please make post with pros, cons and score so I can see and compare thx. In my eyes, it doesn't matter if reviewer give it 2* or 3* as long as he support his opinion with enough information about what is wrong with the game. I am curious both as gamer and developer.

      • chico

        Again I began with pros and cons in my initial post but you guys said those pros and cons weren't good enough. TA users attempts to bully outsiders who have opinions by ganging up on them. Although I usually don't post on this site often I decided to because I honestly believed this game was getting an unfair shake.

        If you read through my posts, my pros ranged from the art, soundtrack, the world, the battle system, the flying mechanic rather than walking through the same old flat landscape, and finally the price.

        Getting a full fledged "quality" JRPG on ios will normally cost you the square enix price of 15-19.99 or the old SNES price of 90 dollars plus import fees. So yes the price for me was a pro.

        The only cons I had is that I wished they would have unlocked more of the game prior to release because I'm enjoying it that much. Just as a Fallout games will release buggy and later receive updates, I believe that will be the case here as well. I remember Chaos Rings 3 having a game breaking bug in the first few months and that game still received great reviews all around by TA users. So is it bad that an update may unlock more? No one is asking you to pay again.

        In my opinion I gave it 4-4.5 stars.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        No one is being bullied here, you're just taking on some kind of victim complex because you can't seem to mentally reconcile the fact that someone's opinion on a video game might differ from yours.

      • Michal Hochmajer

        I do not agree about victim complex with Eli ๐Ÿ™‚
        OK.
        Chico 4* - 4.5*
        Pros:
        Art, Soundtrack, World, Flying mechanic, Price
        Cons:
        Amount of content

        Me 2.5* - 3* for now
        Pros:
        Art
        Cons:
        Implementation, Execution
        ---------------------------------------------
        Execution means:
        ITunes description saying something little different than it is.
        App Store Editors Notes is joke("only impressive production values" is true)
        Description say. "first instalment in an ambitious full-scale JRPG series. (Definitely only fragment).
        Implementation:
        Bugs(doors, crashes, my music/sounds are not playing without headphones)
        Bad navigation(your mount is hard to control,hard to navigate in dungeons/quests)
        Ui(Small icons over chars when distant camera, hard to hit proper character when 2 or more are too close), hard to understand how things works(changing characters in party etc.)
        These can be solved as you mentioned, but hardens devs position if you miss your release shot.

        Now my personal "thoughts", not necessarily bad things(first play):
        Opening animation(and all cutscenes after) are not as quality as I thought. Also no audio in there. Sometimes wierd "hit the screen from nowhere" cutscenes when found during exploring level later.
        Beautiful world visually, with huge amount of random nonmemorable NPC. They cause confusion in what to do. Generic texts on them.
        Quest obtained, check 20 random NPC over level. Hard to hit proper NPC (3 NPC side by side too close). Fine battles.
        Next screen/level. Same...completely. Hitting door without key. Loop bug. Restart game.
        Same levels...completely. Beautiful new companion. O here it is. I can use leveling points. OK. 4 different attacks per char. Skill tree, 3 ways...upgrading 3 attacks you already have...nothing more.
        Battle same. No matter how different enemies are, my approach is limited so far. Battle...crash.

        It just illustrate my first play. It is better later in game(no doors, less cutscenes, better understanding of "how to").
        But almost every level has plenty random NPC, when you hit and unlock quest, fly over whole level to check who to talk with system...dunno.
        I hope they will change things for good.
        And Soundtrack? For some reason, my sound work only on headphones and music is like heavily compressed...totally ruined.
        World is like 4 races fighting each other. Nothing more. Where I can dig in. Some stories, books, something. Deep dungeons, wind powerhouses what's that for, how, why? Where is real background. Is it rpg?
        Price is OK as long as they do not switch to ftp later, or charge additional money for now.
        I've listen interview with CEO, I've read comments from authors so things goes for better in future...hope so.
        Now I am fully exploring TA forum and other people opinion. Funny how exactly same things they are criticizing.

    • Huon

      Well Chico you clearly seem disappointed and let down by the review but Carter provides us with fair points while your only argument is that he gave 4 stars on a tapping game once(not sure how the genre is categorized). Is Zodiac a better game than DungeonRaid because the graphics are much better and has a more complex game system? Clearly not. A much simpler game can be seen much better than complex games judging on how it pleases the gamer. If Carter gave good ratings just because there is potential, he will be misleading lots and lots of readers on TA. The game should solely judged by what they have at the moment and it is an unfinished product that has so many holes no one knows when they will be filled.

      We all know people worked so hard on this game and the visual side shows it. However, the world doesn't pay you just because you tried hard. You have got to give us results and so far Zodiac has not met that requirement yet.

    • Weisse

      I am sure people put their love into many games they make, but that doesn't qualify it to automatically score high. I bet the developer(s) of Ride to Hell, Hatred and even Flappy Bird put in hours to get their games out, but still garnered bad reviews.

      You like the game, so then crack on with it and have fun.Calling out someone's review which is an opinion itself and because it doesn't match yours sounds petty. Why do you need a positive review to validate the game you are enjoying?

  • Huon

    Price is a huge factor when TA editors rate games. This isn't a FTP or $0.99 game. When you pay $9, you expect the game to be pretty damn good and that's where this game isn't really meeting the expectations. If it was an FTP no complaints then. If they needed more funding for their games, they should have gone for crowd funding for additional funds, not put up an unfinished game on the appstore.

    The visual side of this game is fantastic but can you rate a game purely based on its graphics? Besides the graphics, nothing impresses me and mostly disappoints on many areas.

    The game system is far from polished and extremely inconvenient on many occasions. I needed to go back to this one town to change my party member every single time wanted to match the balance between party members. Using item was pretty difficult too. It wouldn't have taken too much time to put all those little things together and made it a better experience. I enjoy playing JRPGs so I know how they are usually constructed, but this one fails on so many aspects.

    The story of this game is nothing new nor special, but so are most JRPGs and therefore I didn't expect this one to shine in that department. So it wasn't a big deal. However, as Carter mentions it in the review, the characters are all really monotonous. The lines they say could have easily been switched among them and I still won't be able to tell whose line that was. I guess it has to do with the fact there isn't really much of a line to begin with, but when an RPG game fails to create a like-able or hate-able character, it's hard to win people over unless it's geared towards an MMO.

    Carter is quite generous on the battle system, but I have to disagree. It looks somewhat strategic but it is all too random and there doesn't exist a specif strategy for each monsters. You can build one strategy for the current party and pretty much apply that to all the other monsters. No elements nor strength/weakness combinations make the battle quite dull.

    I hope the update will make things better but so far it is a gigantic disappointment for a $9 game.

    • chico

      A 9 dollar full fledged JRPG is a crazy ammount of money? This is the problem with mobile. In the past I would have spent upwards of 85 dollars for this if it was released on the snes but now we complain about 9 dollars. Maybe Carter is right saying "Premium games are dead" people just don't understand what it takes to make a quality game anymore.

      On this site I always hear people crying foul when games are FTP. Everyone always asks for premium games but then when they come and they are over 5 bucks you guys flip out. If you want mobile gaming to grow and be successful 9 dollars can't be the problem; but I guess that's why we get more candy crush than full fledged games on ios. People say they want premium but do they really?

      • Shaun Musgrave

        You really would paid $85 for a bug-ridden JRPG that abruptly stops mid-story with a "coming soon" sign hanging over the rest of the story and 75% of the job system? Have you actually gotten to the end of this yet?

        I go through RPGs like M&Ms and this was all sizzle, no steak, in my opinion. And yes, $9 isn't a lot in the grander scheme, but on iOS $9 can get you a wide assortment of RPGs that are actually finished products, even if most of them aren't as pretty as Zodiac.

        I mean, horses for courses, but from what you've posted here, you're really into the game's presentation and potential, not the game itself. And that's fine, but you have to realize that people can (and do, check the forum thread) hold different opinions from yours. It's not conspiracy or villainy, just individuality.

      • Huon

        I spend about $2,000 a year on both mobile and consoles. You are getting the concept all wrong. You had to overpay on SNES because they were basically the sole platform around. Am I complaining about paying $9 on a mobile game? Absolutely not. I recently bought Sproggiwood, This war of mine, The entire episode of borderland. I am one of the people that buy most of the expensive Square Enix premium games and prob spent $3,000 purely on iOS games(no FTP games btw) and apps along.

        The problem is this game doesn't give me the excitement and enjoyment I had when I played Sproggiwood or This war of mine that charge about a similar amount of money.(They are both more expensive btw and I bought This war of mine when it came out!)

        Your problem is you judge people based on your belief that this game is actually worth as much as the other premium games on iOS which isn't at the moment. Zodiac is a game that is crushing the belief of the people that wanted premium games. You can't beta release a game and expect people to pay for it especially when they didn't mention that this game isn't finished yet.

      • diaskeaus

        Back in the day, SNES games were of the same caliber that games like Fallout 4 are today. These companies spent just as long if not longer on development, and sometimes with inflation as much money too. iOS games, in comparison, are basically SNES games made with today's tech. There is a reason why they are cheaper to buy. You consume the content faster (well you would if the extension mechanics of IAP were not in place), the products are produced quicker (sometimes in just a few months), and there is an expectation the product will only last for a couple years and then become irrelevant. Compare that with most SNES titles, whose development companies continue to milk those franchises today and have let up or increased the expectation of quality. There are very few games on mobile today that will still be around in fifteen or twenty years... but there are a few.

    • Design by Adrian

      I agree. This game is priced as a first-party game but seems to run like a money-grabbing F2P game.

      I've played good RPGs for much less than that, and also put good money into originals like the Final Fantasy games.

  • diaskeaus

    I believe it was mentioned a couple years ago during another rating snafoo that Touch Arcade's reviews are not and have never been content reviews, like you might find on GamePro or another review agency that scores games on various categories and then averages the score or aggregate.

    Rather, TA's reviews are barometers as to whether you should buy something or not buy it, not whether it is quality by some objective standard. The reviewer thinks it's fun and believes you will also, that's it. While some TA writers do profess to be experts in their field (Eli and Shaun would, and perhaps Eric in some areas) most TA writers and reviewers would just consider themselves ravenous fans of mobile entertainment. If you listen to the podcast you'll be surprised at how often TA writers have little to no interest in console or even PC gaming, or have even played essential titles.

    For me, that's the beauty of TA - I know it's just a bunch of guys who are talking to me about what they like and don't like. I don't agree with a majority of is written but they are the only ones who seem to be willing to take a stand for mobile games with such ferocity, whereas other mobile review sites seem to just be advertising houses for popular games.

    The stars are suggestions for purchase, not declarative typologies or expert-level and thoroughly researched observations. Go to Eurogamer if you are looking for that kind of treatment.

  • Cocosoy

    This is a game that I feel like I should love, I kept trying (very very hard) to love it. I gave it way more time than it deserves. But in the end, I feel it's barely a game, just a really gorgeous painting. Story is non-existent, combat is surprisingly shallow (and snail paced), character build looks interesting at the first glance, but there isn't any real difference in how you spend your job points.

    Totally disappointed with Kobojo.

    In conclusion: this game is super pretty, if that's all you are looking for, and you don't care about $9, get it. Otherwise, run away.

  • klepp0906

    Tbh the crying about racism as if it's even a thing to anyone but a liberal pansy, seems to have taken over the review. Only took me a few lines to ignore any merit the review could have had based on that alone.

    I'm always looking for a good mobile rpg so I'll likely give this a go. Gameloft has gotten enough of my time on an incomplete game (oc2)

    • makkoto

      Well goodluck on your IAP content update ๐Ÿ™‚

Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey Reviewed by Carter Dotson on . Rating: 2