Virgo Versus The Zodiac Review
RPG stories tend to feel pretty cut-and-dried in a lot of ways. A group of plucky youths get together and kill a god, or someone who thinks they’re a god. There’s an even pluckier companion with mascot potential tagging along. You’re on a walking tour through a series of fantastic realms, with some idyllic ones thrown in for good measure. Virgo Versus The Zodiac includes all of this, but in a fresh, unconventional way I found terribly compelling. I wasn’t sure at first, but I think this game kind of rules.
You play as the aforementioned Virgo, on a quest to pummel the old ways back into existence. I found this fascinating, and immediately suspicious. Why bring back the old ways? Didn’t they die out for a reason? The story feels ambiguous yet engaging. I desperately wanted to know if this hopeless narcissist was insane or right on the money. You’re given hints and clues that your fellow constellations have gone rotten, but it’s rarely made explicit. Furthermore, Virgo comes off as perfectionist lunatic. Would things really be better with someone like her in charge? Again, it’s not nearly as simple as other stories within this genre.
Fight The Stars Themselves
There’s also no repetitive, grindy combat to wade through. The battles in Virgo v Zodiac are careful, calculated affairs. You need a good head for strategy and excellent reflexes if you want to survive. Not only are there a wide variety of timed prompts to memorize, but they change for every character. Your party members’ attack and defense are all tied to a specific face button. I played on easy mode, and I still found the battles to be full of tense moments. Your opponents have the same advantages as you, it turns out.
While the combat is cool and compelling, it’s also terribly complicated. You have a host of different esoteric stats to manage. I have no idea how patience, purity, and influence interact with one another. I don’t even know if they interact in the first place. Every piece of gear raises or lowers these stats, and I can’t keep track of any of it. Thankfully, you can muddle your way through battle regardless (at least on easy mode). From a practical perspective, all these stats just make me feel like I’m missing something critical at all times. If nothing else, the game looks and feels great.
I wasn’t sure about the writing at first. It feels a bit clunky, at least in the introduction. But the more you dig into the game, the more bizarre flavor text you discover. There’s so much charming dialogue, so much personality in these characters. Every interactable object tells its own tale, albeit a brief one. The NPCs you encounter are endearing and endlessly fascinating. The main narrative also gets more engaging, the further you get. New information is introduced that slowly expands Virgo as a protagonist. Maybe she’s not insane after all?
Not Easy To Navigate
Although the stages aren’t that big, they’re somehow easy to get lost in. Every major region I explored came with an extended wandering session. It’s hard to say exactly why I kept losing my way, but it was a regular occurrence. To be fair, the game does have a map you can reference. It just didn’t help. I’m fully prepared to admit fault in this case. I’m not much of a navigator in real life. It’s not often that this problem follows me into videogames, however.
Along with checking the map, I also neglected to save often enough. This wouldn’t be a problem, except the game has no autosave function. There’s a good reason for this! You have a lot of critical choices throughout the game, little moments that change the overall ending. So it’s better if you can reload or a select an earlier save, assuming you know to do so. But the game also crashes on the Switch. It runs perfect 90% of the time, but any errors are fatal ones. I got so paranoid I started saving every five minutes or so. On the other hand, it was after one of these crashes that I discovered the choice system in the first place. Sort of a mixed bag, really.
Virgo is a fascinating character, navigating a big, bizarre world. Everyone you meet adds to the weird and wonderful flavor of things. The combat is engaging and unique, the premise is compelling, and the presentation is slick. On the other hand, it’s real easy to get lost. And without a rigorous saving routine, you might end up losing progress once in a while. But events you replay might not play out the same way, which is cool. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this game, but I ended up pleasantly surprised. If you’re looking for a new and unusual RPG, definitely check out Virgo Versus The Zodiac.
***A Nintendo Switch code was provided by the publisher***
- Fascinating premise
- Engaging, satisfying combat
- Excellent writing at times
- Occasional crashes
- Easy to get lost
- No autosave feature