Vanaris Tactics Review
Vanaris Tactics is a strategy RPG published by Toge Productions and developed by Pineapple Works. It tells a simple and straightforward tale of a group of refugees fleeing from their wartorn land and fighting for their freedom. Toge Productions is no stranger to indie games with interesting narratives, as seen from their previous titles like Coffee Talk and A Space for the Unbound.
Previously released on Steam last year, Vanaris Tactics launched recently on the Xbox and Nintendo Switch so that more players can see what the fuss is all about. Would Vanaris Tactics be something to watch out for or would it fall into obscurity? Read on to find out!
Simplicity in its Design
Vanaris Tactics is a straightforward strategy RPG that relies on the premise of, “what you see is what you get.” It’s a game that has solid fundamentals that takes your characters onto a familiar chessboard with familiar character classes pitted against enemies that will attack you from all sides.
If you’ve played a strategy RPG before, Vanaris Tactics would be an easy onboarding experience. The concept will feel very familiar, and your knowledge of past strategies and tactics can serve you well. Even as a newcomer to the genre, there’s no worry about being burdened with too much. You’ll be traversing its world map in no time, alongside the main story that involves your main characters: siblings Morgana and Nigel alongside Nigel’s loyal son Adrien.
As you progress, you can revisit areas to challenge enemies that would scale your level to gain experience and earn more gold to purchase better gear and items. You can also access missable side quests and encounters in these revisits. After you progress through certain parts of the story, some areas will become inaccessible and you’re forced to continue.
One thing that’s a breath of fresh air would be that, just like Chained Echoes, Vanaris Tactics has found a good balance between accessibility and a decent challenge. You’ll still earn experience should your allies fall in battle and there is no permadeath, which is a popular mechanic seen in other popular titles including Fire Emblem, Tactics Ogre, and to a certain extent, Final Fantasy Tactics.
No Gimmicks, No Tricks
If somebody told me that Vanaris Tactics was designed by one person, I won’t be surprised. It feels like a project that’s been designed by one person, and I don’t mean this as a slight against the game in any way. First impressions aside, the aesthetic doesn’t distract, because the actual gameplay was solid.
Although, I did wish there was more to Vanaris Tactics than what was presented. It was difficult to motivate myself to play through the game as everything was straightforward to a fault. Skills are learned automatically, and all gear and items are acquired from the various shops. I was looking for more to discover with the game in the long run.
Vanaris Tactics takes 4-5 hours to complete should you decide to explore the map and attempt to search for side quests and other characters. As there is no way to backtrack, you would have to restart the game to revisit certain areas, but there’s little motivation to do so due to the lack of somewhat complex features.
The story could’ve been explored better to learn more about the characters, but for the most part, it felt disjointed. The dialogue felt casual, which in turn creates some tonal inconsistencies. There was so much filler story, certain threads are introduced but were not returned to again unless you scour the map to connect the side stories.
Genre enthusiasts would probably find Vanaris Tactics a little too straightforward and easy. Given that it’s been designed by a single person, we could cut them some slack, but it does feel like an intro to a larger game that we wouldn’t mind checking out!
What We Liked
- A solid, straightforward classic Strategy RPG that delivers in its gameplay.
- No frills design allows for easy accessibility including its low bar in difficulty.
What We Didn’t Like
- Too short and easy for genre enthusiasts.
- Story and dialogue could’ve been amped up.
- No way to access previously explored areas after a certain point in the story.
- Feels like a tech demo for a longer game.
Verdict: Wait For It…
Vanaris Tactics is a solid strategy RPG that’s a little too straightforward for its own good. It delivers a technically sound strategy RPG that can easily onboard any long-time fan to the experience. It is easy to the point of being cozy, and that may not resonate with enthusiasts of the genre.
It’s a quick, fast experience for those who want a game to complete. However, for those looking for a longer strategy RPG that tests their mettle, Vanaris Tactics may probably be inadequate. I do look forward to what Mattheus Reis and his team would make in the future as Vanaris Tactics is a solid experience albeit straightforward.
*Vanaris Tactics was reviewed on an Xbox Series X with a review code provided by the publisher.