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REVIEW: Unicorn Overload — A Console Tactics Game Worth Your Attention


Published by: SEGA
Developed by: Vanillaware
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch PlayStation 4 PlayStation 5 Xbox Series X/S
Genre(s): Tactical role-playing
Mode(s): Single-player, multiplayer (online multiplayer arena unlocked later on)
Game Type: , , , , , , , , ,
80/ 100

User Rating
1 total rating



Unrivaled hand-drawn art style, Vast systems and content, Casual-friendly intuitive gameplay


Average story, Auto-battle elements,

Posted March 30, 2024 by

Like a prophesized comet, Vanillaware shows up once every few years, and each time they do, it’s usually a wonderous sight to behold. After 5 years since 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, Vanillaware makes orbit again with Unicorn Overlord, and not only does it return to us with a game that is both a revival of a classic genre and a fresh new take on strategy on consoles, it does so with the beautiful hand-drawn visuals that we’ve come to expect.

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An ambitious General Valmore moves to overthrow the Kingdom of Cornia. Faced with overwhelming odds, Queen Ilenia entrusts her son Alain to her personal guard Josef to be smuggled to safety, buying them time as she makes a final stand against certain defeat. As the young Alain comes of age and Valmore already occupying all the surrounding nations, he and his charge forms the Liberation Army building up its forces in a quest to liberate the nations and avenge her mother and kingdom from the Zenoiran Empire’s tyranny.

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By and large, Story is Unicorn Overlord’s weakest point. It not necessarily a snooze fest and does well enough to keep you interested, albeit barely. It’s a straightforward story that relies heavily on the usual fantasy tropes and plot drivers. Again, not necessarily bad, but nothing we haven’t already seen. Personally, I prefer comfortable cliché over a plot that’s unnecessarily convoluted and vague for sake of it (sorry-not-sorry, squenix). If this is something you’re okay with, you’ll find that there’s decent writing and good voice over talent throughout the entire campaign. Units also can form bonds with multiple other units which at multiple points throughout their relationship, share dialogue and scenes that build up on their improving relationships. There’s over 40 hours worth of campaign to be had, taking to account all the battles and metagaming in-between, and up to 20 more hours including side quests and other endgame content.

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Unicorn Overlord looks and feels like homage to the classic console strategy titles of the 90s like Tactics Ogre and FF tactics, but with a modern twist. This is in fact the main goal during development which I’m happy to say that they’ve nailed to a T. I want to first address the fact that battles are automatic, as this is something that on paper does not bode well but in fact works great for what Unicorn Overlord is. There’s still plenty of strategy to be had, most of which taking place long before the actual battles transpire. Like a proper war commander, players will need to carefully consider unit placement, unit compositions, and unit formations – all of which will determine the ultimate outcome of each encounter. Units move on the over map in real-time, but the player can pause or speed this up at will. Initially each unit as very straight forward strengths and weakness, not unlike a game of rock paper scissors. The game does well to start you off with simple battles that still require a bit of strategy but easy enough to get your groove on. As you progress, the game introduces more classes and combination of classes that will need to be seriously considered to guarantee victory.

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A unit consists of up to 5 characters which you can deploy on the field as long as you have enough valor points. You can then direct their movement and watch it play out in real time. Movement plays out in real time and is paused when an enemy unit comes into contact with one of your units. From here, you can get a preview of the outcome of battle, which is convenient for the more trivial skirmishes but you’ll want to watch battles play out when dealing with new classes or unit combos to get an understanding of what led to those end results and how to improve them. When not in combat, you control Alain on the open-world, exploring all the kingdoms gathering materials or visiting settlements. Most villages and settlements are weathered and deteriorated from all the conflict. Liberating these villages and towns grants you access to certain services, like hiring new units, acquiring new gear, or even gain access to routs or board a ship into a secret area.

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The whole gameplay loop of over world exploration, units management, and strategic battles all make for a satisfying gameplay loop that’s perfect for gaming on a controller or on the go.


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Visuals is Unicorn Overlord’s strongest asset with consistently high-quality hand-drawn visuals, from each character’s design down to the overly detailed UI elements. Nowadays with this particular style of visuals being predominantly a mobile game quality, its easy to mistakenly expect the same here, but the level of detail, articulation, and flare put into each element of the stage is elite. Vanillaware even devised an ingenious way to introduce dynamic and different light sources that looks manual as well. This might have been a painstaking ordeal, though utilizing some sort of global illumination similar to Octopath Traveller could have been easier, and would have, at least for the chibi overworld parts, look better.

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Regardless there is to see in the game is nothing short of eye candy and the art style lends itself immensely to what the game is overall.


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Unicorn Overlord is a beautifully hand-drawn strategy RPG that breathes new life to the classic tactics genre. Seamlessly blending an unlikely combination of gameplay elements, Unicorn Overlord delivers a tactical experience that’s both fresh and nostalgic for fans of the genre. Meanwhile, newcomers will find an intuitive user experience that’s easy to get into but addictive to master.

Dian Raval

Dian is a writer for Flipgeeks who, in his spare time, stares at a wall in his basement. If you'd like to discuss music, video games, or the infinite wisdom of concrete, follow him on twitter @iburnandfume or subscribe to his YouTube channel @iburnandfume. He's pretty much iburnandfume in everything. Apparently he... burns and fumes.


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