Arcadian Atlas is a tactics-style RPG in the same vein as Final Fantasy Tactics or Tactics Ogre. Fortunately, the genre has stopped being so obscure that every game within it needs to include the word “tactics” in the title just so you’ll know what you’re getting, but I digress.
Arcadian Atlas feels shares a tone with these earlier games in the genre, with a somber atmosphere and themes of strained love amid the horrors of war. The heroes are a pair of soldiers who must navigate struggles of open war, as well as the intrigue of a contested throne and brewing civil unrest, a princess who has been denied her crown, and a magician who may have just gotten in way over his head. Along the way you will also recruit and train generic soldiers to fill out our army. The protagonists may be heroes, but two people (or even four) cannot win a war all on their own.
Mechanically, Arcadian Atlas promises an engaging system that rewards character investment. Terrain effects combat by impeding or preventing movement, as well as providing cover from enemy fire. The classes range from genre staples such as the rogue and knight, to cool and unique variants on common themes such as the apothecary, who can not only use their gift to heal but also brings a load of offensive brews to the battle, and the warmancer, a spellcaster more interested in brute force than unlocking arcane secrets.
Keeping with the game’s darker themes, death lies in wait for you to make too grievous of a mistake. While one wrong move isn’t likely to cost you one of your valued troops, it is very possible to lose a soldier for good if you are careless. When a soldier is reduced to zero hit points it begins a countdown timer, giving you a chance to bring them back from the brink. Let that timer hit zero, though, and that troop is gone for good. This means that a lucky enemy critical won’t have you resetting the game in frustration, but it will force you to re-evaluate your priorities in the middle of the fight.
Overall, Arcadian Atlas looks like it’s going to be a top-notch strategy-RPG. The visuals are beautiful, the mechanics are solid, and the concepts are intriguing. Most importantly, though, the developers are passionate. They want this game to not only get made, but to succeed and be loved. Arcadian Atlas is still looking for your support on Kickstarter, so go over there and show it some love!