• Unicorn Overlord’s demo provides players with deep customization options reminiscent of classic TRPGs and JRPGs like Final Fantasy 12.
  • Like Final Fantasy 12’s Gambits, Unicorn Overlord’s Tactics feature allows for intricate control over unit behavior in combat scenarios.

Ahead of Unicorn Overlord‘s launch on March 8, players itching to try out Vanillaware and Atlus’ new tactical-RPG have a lengthy demo now available. Unicorn Overlord‘s demo went live on February 21, giving players a sizable chunk of gameplay while walking them through most of the game’s most important systems. One of the aspects of the game on full display is Unicorn Overlord‘s homage to the TRPG greats of the SNES and PlayStation eras, but a surprise system introduction in the latter parts of the demo actually calls to mind a now-classic JRPG as well. Unicorn Overlord‘s Tactics customizations bear a striking resemblance to Final Fantasy 12‘s Gambits.

As is typical of most TRPGs, players have an impressively deep amount of customization options for each of their units in Unicorn Overlord. Each unit comprises anywhere between one and six soldiers, and there are at least 10 different class types that these soldiers can adhere to. The Tactics customization option for soldiers takes things a step further by allowing players to set up specific “if, then” scenarios for every available skill a soldier has. In the process, it resembles the auto-battling customization options available to players in Final Fantasy 12 via its Gambit system, adding yet another layer of homage present in the upcoming “comfort food” TRPG.


Unicorn Overlord is to Tactical RPGs What Sea of Stars is to Classic JRPGs

Atlus and Vanillaware’s Unicorn Overlord looks to provide the same kind of genre ‘comfort food’ that Sabotage’s Sea of Stars delivered.

How Unicorn Overlord’s Tactics Function in Battles

Spending time in Unicorn Overlord‘s menus, especially the Unit Formation menu, is paramount to achieving victory in its many tactical encounters. Before beginning a Battle Stage, in which players will need to dispatch their units on a field and meet victory conditions to win, it’s important to consider the unit types one will face off against as well as make sure that each soldier is outfitted with the correct gear and skills for the battle ahead. This is where the Tactics customization option comes into play, with the mentor-like Josef walking the player through a tutorial for the system prior to the last mission in Unicorn Overlord‘s demo.

Each active skill that a soldier has, regardless of class type, can be customized to trigger under very specific scenarios and against particular enemy units. These “if, then” logic statements translate to Unicorn Overlord‘s auto-battling system seamlessly, with successful and well-thought Tactics customizations serving to enhance the effectiveness of the player’s units. In terms of which factors players can build their tactics around, the following factors are available for customization in the Unicorn Overlord demo:

  • Formation & Situation
  • Combatant Type
  • HP
  • AP & PP
  • Combatant Status
  • Attack Type
  • Unit Size
  • Own Condition
  • Own HP
  • Own AP & PP
  • Enemies Present

Final Fantasy 12’s Gambit System Was Always Tailor-Made for Tactical RPGs

The Gambit System in Final Fantasy 12

If Unicorn Overlord‘s setting up of “if, then” logic scenarios sounds familiar to Final Fantasy fans, that’s because the system shares a lot in common with Final Fantasy 12‘s Gambits. Like the Tactical customizations in Unicorn Overlord, Final Fantasy 12‘s Gambit System allows players to intricately customize their party’s behaviors in combat, down to incredibly specific minutiae. In effect, battles can play out like a successfully executed line of programming, with characters able to competently auto-battle without any player input thanks to carefully orchestrated Gambits.

Though the system has its origins in a traditional turn-based JRPG, Final Fantasy 12‘s Gambits were always an ideal fit for the TRPG genre. Part of the system’s genesis can be traced to the desire for Final Fantasy 12 to bridge the gap between the series’ online and single-player entries, but it’s also possible that the Gambit System’s inclusion is thanks to Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story creator Yasumi Matsuno’s involvement with the title’s conceptualization and design. Whatever the case, fans of strategic and engaging encounter design have more than just the TRPGs of yore to thank for Unicorn Overlord‘s design inspirations.

final fantasy 12

Final Fantasy 12

Square Enix delivers another masterpiece in Final Fantasy 12, an immersive open-world RPG with real-time combat and a gambit system. Players control Vaan and his party of misfit friends as they adventure across Ivalice, fighting off the rising threat of the Archadian Empire. Players can level up each character, specialize them, explore the world and combat powerful enemies.

October 31, 2006


T For Teen due to Alcohol Reference, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Partial Nudity, Suggestive Themes

How Long To Beat
65 Hours


Zodiac Engine 2.0


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