Virgo Versus The Zodiac Review (PS5) – Virgo Versus The Zodiac is pretty much what it says on the tin. You play as the rough and ready Virgo as you follow her and her friends’ journey across the universe to bring back the so-called “golden-age”.
Along the way, you’ll meet strange and weird characters who will guide and mislead you in a series of memorable interactions. Wrapped around these interactions is an interesting story with some great moments sprinkled throughout.
This version of the game promises additional content on top of the original game that offers a deeper exploration of some particular characters and some additional gameplay scenarios.
Virgo Versus The Zodiac Review (PS5) – Jumping Across Space, One Constellation At A Time
Virgo Versus The Zodiac has the player taking control of the titular Virgo on her mission to bring back the “golden age” of the universe, by travelling across constellations to smite so-called “heretics”.
Virgo as a character brings a refreshing energy to an RPG protagonist; instead of being an optimistic source of encouragement, she starts out as cold and rough to the people around her, even close allies.
Despite a poor first impression, I found myself enjoying Virgo’s character over time and it makes her softer moments far more compelling as you get to look past her quite brash surface. The dynamic between her and the characters you come across made me smile more than a few times.
The combat of Virgo Versus The Zodiac is based on an active input system. Unlike other turn-based RPGs like classic Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest, the player is tasked with correctly timing inputs in order to maximise the damage that is dealt to the enemy.
The severity of these timings depends largely on the difficulty that you select at the start of the game and the type of weapon you decide to use. You’ll come across all sorts of weapons that each offer unique attacks and bonuses.
Some weapons will let you hit multiple times or an entire group, and some will let you steal health. It’s all up to the player to prioritise what they prefer.
This player expression grants some variety to a battle system that feels like it can fall into quite a formulaic routine once you work out what exactly works and what doesn’t.
The interfaces are generally smooth and pleasant enough to work around, but some information feels absent. Seeing a clearer indication of attack effectiveness would be a great addition.
As well as a clearer indication of how some systems in-game worked. I found myself slightly boggled by crafting and making sure new equipment was actually stronger.
More Than Meets The Eye
Despite pushing itself as a turn-based RPG first and foremost, Virgo Versus The Zodiac offers plenty to do outside of battling and grinding for experience.
Occasional sections transform the game into an arcade-like shooter for brief periods of time that are always welcome changes of pace and offer some great rewards should you feel brave enough to go for tougher difficulty.
There are also other minigames peppered throughout the overworlds for you to find and interact with! Alpaca throwing anybody? These small moments bring levity to a story that can sometimes get very caught up with itself and heavier themes. Despite this, the balance feels just right.
Visually the game employs a mix of pixel art for the overworld and battle scenes, whilst character portraits are static and drawn.
Generally the environments are interesting to explore and look at, with some standout designs across the board. It’s admittedly a shame that the portraits for the cast are static, it makes emotion a bit harder to process.
Despite this small issue, I felt like the game presents very well with a distinct sense of style. The soundtrack also helps, with a strong sense outer space and exploration that feels just fitting for some of the areas you’ll explore. I found myself standing around and just taking in some of the quieter areas, which is always a great sign.
A Rogue’s Gallery
Virgo Versus The Zodiac has a very clear sense of absurdist humour that feels in line with other independent RPGs from the last few years. From the salary-goats going on strike and fighting against Capricorn’s rule, or the food-obsessed denizens of Taurus, there are fun personalities across all of the game’s different worlds.
This extends to the mechanics of the game as a whole. Instead of going for the typical stats of many RPGs, Virgo Versus the Zodiac instead has stats such as cuteness, and patience instead of the bog-standard strength and defence.
Unfortunately, I felt like this strive to make the game feel more unique ending up confusing more than helping. Once I had learned the ins and outs of how each stat worked, it did work but the journey to do so was filled with trial and error – and a lot of lost battles.
Luckily, the game offers a very quick way to replay a battle if it didn’t go your way, so it was a minor frustration at best. I do wish these stats were communicated in a clearer way though.
And the characters designated for saving and loading your games are dinosaurs. I don’t think anything else needs to be said about that.
A Galaxy Of Choice
Also similar to other notable independent RPGs of the last few years, Virgo Versus the Zodiac encourages player choice at key points in the game. These moments are clearly communicated to the player and offer opportunities to influence the direction that the story proceeds, as well as impacting the character of Virgo herself.
There are multiple endings to be found here, and despite only reaching one of the endings during my review period, I want to go back and see what would happen if I chose differently.
This version of the game also adds additional bite-size chapters that focus on other members of the cast that shines a new light on characters you may have thought you understood. These additions were non-intrusive and helped to flesh out the story even more than it already was.
There’s a lot on offer here for those who want to seek it out.
Virgo Versus The Zodiac is available on PS5 and PS4.
Review code generously provided by the publisher.