Arcadian Atlas, a new tactical RPG from Serenity Forge and Twin Otter Studios is ready to go on the PlayStation and Nintendo Switch. Check out our Arcadian Atlas review!
This is a double review for Arcadian Atlas. Ceidz and EdEN played the game on PlayStation and Nintendo Switch, and this review presents what they both had to say.
Experience deep tactical battles across vast and treacherous landscapes as you build an army of powerful troops, customizing their classes and skills to gain every advantage against monsters, ruthless foes, a daughter scorned, and a queen so cruel she’d kill her own husband to gain the throne.
Arcadian Atlas is a new tactical RPG from Serenity Forge and Twin Otter Studios. As the game begins, you’ll get an explanation of the political war on the Arcadian Region that you’ll have to take part in – and ultimately solve! As I played through this one, I realized it took heavy inspiration from Final Fantasy Tactics, which is still considered one of the best tactical RPGs around.
On the gameplay side, since you’ll spend most of your time in this game in battle, it is a fairly standard tactical RPG journey. You’ll begin each phase by moving your selected units on the battleground, and once they are all placed, you can select a skill or an attack from their list of available actions. As you hover over each action, you can see their effective range, which can help you select the most efficient one in each situation.
Strategy-wise, it’s also more efficient to attack enemies from behind or from their sides because they have less defense, and you’ll be able to deal more damage. Do be careful because your enemies can also take advantage of this! I liked seeing the descriptions and effects of the possible attacks, which definitively helped in selecting them.
It is worth mentioning that since this isn’t an action or turn-based RPG, the battles are not fast-paced and will likely take you some time to get through each one of them, averaging from 10 to 15 minutes each at the normal difficulty setting. This is normal for a tactical RPG experience, but it’s something that might not click with you right away.
I liked the pixelated art style that was definitely reminiscent of Final Fantasy Tactics, with isometric 3D rendered scenes and 2D sprites over them. I was also surprised by the facial expressions that some characters will show as the story unfolds, which added to the story immersion since you get a better idea of how each one of them feels.
Overall, there isn’t much to complain about in this game, but I still noticed some minor issues that could be addressed in a future update. To begin with, I thought the text size was small on my 55″ TV, so I can easily imagine it would be even harder to read if playing this one on the PlayStation Portal. Fortunately, there’s a different font that can be selected, which is less stylish but way easier to read, and I definitively recommend you use this one.
In some battles, when there are a lot of characters on screen, and as the game automatically plays for the NPCs, I thought that the camera did move a lot – zooming in and out when a skill is activated, then moving to the next NPC, and so on. Finally, I thought that the loading screen was odd as it just showed the words “Loading Screen” as if it were a placeholder. Since the loading times are already short on the PlayStation 5, this screen could have been different.
Trophy-wise, the game has a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy waiting for you. The list includes 20 Bronze trophies, 17 Silver trophies, and 2 Gold trophies for you to work on. There are trophies that will pop up as you progress further in the game and complete each chapter. Some trophies will be tied to making specific choices in each chapter, which means one choice will lock you out of the other one. You’ll also unlock trophies by spending 250,000 and 500,000 Arcadians at the item shop in a single playthrough, selling more than 50,000 Arcadian items in a single run, completing 10 tavern contracts, or recruiting 15 units, to name some examples.
As Ceidz mentioned, Arcadian Atlas is a narrative-driven isometrical tactical RPG that is now ready to go on Nintendo Switch. Indie team Twin Otter Studios took the game to Kickstarter back in 2016, seeking $90,000 in funding for them to be able to complete the game’s development. Once the crowdfunding campaign was over, and thanks to the support of almost 2,400 backers, the project ended with a little over $95,000 in funding.
The team had initially marked the game for a 2018 launch during the crowdfunding campaign. As is usually the case with many Kickstarter projects, 2018 came and went, and the game was nowhere near being completed. While the game’s development continued at a slow but steady pace, life got in the way, and then 2020 rolled around with the whole pandemic thing. It’s now 2023, and after launching on Steam in July, it’s available on PlayStation and Nintendo Switch for all to enjoy.
Arcadian Atlas is a game that has been inspired by classics in the tactical RPG genre, such as Tactics Ogre, Fire Emblem, Vandal Hearts, and Final Fantasy Tactics. I’m a big fan of tactical RPGs and have been for decades, so I was definitely curious to see how Arcadian Atlas would do things on the Nintendo Switch. While it doesn’t set out to reinvent the wheel, it does its inspirations justice, offering a good tactical RPG gameplay loop that will keep you coming back for more.
You’ll start with only a handful of character classes for you to choose from, with more becoming available as you progress further on your quest. Each one will be crucial for the cause, and having a varied team will make it easier to succeed. You will need to keep in mind how many units you can deploy, as well as where you deploy them so that you can make the most of their abilities and skills.
When in combat, each of your units will be able to move around the battlefield within its movement range, or it can use a regular attack against an enemy. Another option is using one of a unit’s skills, which will require that you spend some Skill Points (SP) to activate it. Using the inspect option, you can review information about that unit, such as equipment, skills, stats, and status effects. This can also be done on enemy units. The last option is defending and waiting, which will lower the potential damage sustained by that unit.
And now, back to character classes! One of them is the Apothecary, which uses a variety of flasks to deal damage and support other units. The Dousing Flask can be used to damage eal while inflicting the Wet status on all units within a 3-tile square. Or you could use the Reviving Flask, which, once per battle, can revive a unit with a small amount of HP depending on the Apothecary’s magic attack stat value. It’s a very useful unit to have by your side in case things take a turn for the worse.
There’s also the Cavalier, a mighty unit that favors two-handed weapons that can deal considerable damage. It can use skills such as Adrenaline Strike, which deals 135% damage while reducing its defense by 30% for a turn, making it a bit of a trade-off. A Cavalier can also use Rend Armor, a very useful attack that turns an enemy’s high defense rating against them by dealing a bonus 150% damage to them – just be sure not to use it against units with a high magic defense, or you’ll end up dealing less damage.
Arcadian Atlas is a charming and fun tactical RPG to check out on consoles. It’s been inspired by classics in the genre, such as Tactics Ogre, Fire Emblem, Vandal Hearts, and Final Fantasy Tactics. It’s a game we had been looking forward to checking out, and we can report it’s a solid option for fans of the genre looking for a shorter journey that can be completed in 15-20 hours or so, depending on your experience. Arcadian Atlas is available as a Cross-Buy title on PlayStation, so your $19.99 purchase will allow you to download both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 versions of the game at no extra cost. The Nintendo Switch version of the game is available with the same price tag.
This Arcadian Atlas review is based on PlayStation and Nintendo Switch copies provided by Serenity Forge.